By Stephen Olufemi Oni, Ilorin
Elders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State have berated the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, for making disparaging remarks about Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
The elders, under the aegis of Kwara APC Elders Caucus, were reacting to the denigrating comments made by the minister about the governor in a recent interview with the media.
“For Lai Mohammed to denigrate Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq’s political status in Kwara State and his financial contributions towards the 2019 campaign and election proper in the state is most unfortunate,” spokesman of the Elders Caucus, Ambassador Nurudeen Mohammed declared on Monday at a news conference in Ilorin, the state capital.
Mohammed, who was flanked by some leaders of the group, including Barr. Kunle Sulyman, Senator Mohammed Ahmed, Chief Wole Oke and Chief James Ayeni, said the Minister was never known in Kwara politics until 2002 when he was apparently exported to the state from Lagos to come and contest the state governorship election, but he failed woefully.
“Lai Mohammed and his other colleagues had spent all their years in Lagos where they cut their political teeth and had held one political office or the other, elected or appointive, before they were sent on loan to their home states to take over governance at the expense of the people (politicians) who had been on ground for decades, and residing in their states since birth,” Mohammed added.
Recalling that Mohammed was the chief of staff to former Lagos state Governor Ahmed Tinubu in the current Fourth Republic, the APC elders’ spokesman noted that: “Of all his (Lai Mohammed) Lagos colleagues hitherto sent out from Lagos to contest governorship elections in the current Republic, it’s only Lai Mohammed who failed to win in his state where he contested in 2003.
“The question one would like to ask is why did he fail in the election. The answer should be obvious. Lai Mohammed was never seen in Kwara in the Second Republic politics nor was he ever heard of in the political landscape of Kwara state politics of the Third Republic. He was an unknown quantity in those days. He has all along been a de facto Lagosian rather than being a Kwaran.”
On the contrary, Mohammed, said “for all that it is worth, when we talk of political pedigree and dynasty, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq belongs to the most well known political lineage in Ilorin and Kwara state.”
On the funding of the 2019 elections in Kwara state, Mohammed noted with satisfaction that the governor and members of the National Assembly and state House of Assembly had denied receiving a dime from the minister.
As a way forward, Mohammed urged the minister “to rethink and modify his view as expressed in the interview where he asserted that reconciliation will be difficult. Nothing is difficult to achieve in this era of reintegration and reconciliation where there is the will to do so. Nothing is difficult in establishing friendly relationship when people have cultivated the spirit of love,” he added.