By Steve Oni, Ilorin
The All Progressives Congress (APC) can only dream of winning Kwara state in the forthcoming general elections but beyond that, the party is going nowhere in the state.
This was the position of former leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who refused to defect to the APC and have emerged as part of the new executive committee of the party in the state under the scheme designed to harmonise old and new members of the party.
Led by Alhaji Mohammed Sani Abubakar, the former Deputy Chairman who has retained his position under the new scheme, the group at a media briefing on Monday in Ilorin, the state capital, commended the leadership now being offered to the party by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
They said their experience with Saraki indicates a commitment to give free hand in the running of the party at the state level as he concentrates on giving the PDP a positive outlook at the national level.
Other old PDP members who retained their positions in the party’s new executive include Barr. Moses Ibiyemi (Financial Secretary), Alhaji Haliru Dan Tsoho Mahmud (Youth Leader) and Alhaji Mohammed Haliru (Assistant Financial Secretary) as well as Chief Ebun Afolayan.
The group debunked insinuations that Saraki was set to hijack the party from the old members, pointing out that most of the old executives of the party are still holding their positions after the harmonisation, adding that in Kwara of today, it would be impossible for any meaningful politician to deny his or her link with the Saraki political structure at one point or the other.
Abubakar, who said he participated in the harmonisation process, expressed delight that the template used by the state has now been adopted in other parts of the country.
He described those who left the PDP with the entry of Saraki into the party as mere activists and not real grassroots politicians.
Barrister Moses Ibiyemi who read the group’s statement said: “APC is dead on arrival in Kwara, it is going nowhere in this state. Anyone interested in joining APC should go to Katsina state or since that is a far place, maybe they can go to Osun state but here, if you want to be a real politician, you must join the PDP. In Kwara today, PDP is a moving train, ready to crush anything on its path and that is why we appeal to our brothers and sisters still out there to come back here because this is the real place.
“APC must be day-dreaming to think they can dislodge Saraki in Kwara. This is a man whom they have been pursuing for more than three years and they could not get him. He is a man ordained by God and no President or governor or chairman can dislodge him.
“Contrary to insinuations by our former Chairman, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo the relationship between us the old members of the PDP and the new entrants from the great Saraki dynasty has been very cordial. It has been a case of mutual respect and trust all the way.
“We have found in Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, an honest, straight forward and fair leader. Instead of hijacking the party as Oyedepo and few others prophesied, the Senate President has indeed left the control of the party in the hands of all stakeholders. Saraki’s demonstration of fairness and team player can be seen clearly in the composition of the new state executives of the PDP in Kwara state. The available offices were fairly distributed among the old and new members. Something goes down to local government and ward levels.
“Indeed, we have no regret whatsoever for accepting the Senate President and his teeming supporters back into the PDP. He has come to add value to the party and we are very sure of emerging victorious in the 2019 general elections in the state.
“We are therefore using this forum to urge a few of our members who were deceived to defect to other lesser parties by our former Chairman, Akogun Oyedepo and Prince Sunday Fagbemi to come back home as there are equal opportunities for all in the PDP under the leadership of Dr Bukola Saraki. Our doors are wide open to both our former members and every progressive minded Kwaran.
“We should be wary of selfish and self centred politicians who may unwittingly handover the affairs of our state to ‘foreigners’ who have nothing to offer us other than to enslave us and harness our resources for their own personal use.”