A faction of the All Progressive Congress in Kwara has taken to the street to protest their alleged exclusion from the ongoing ward congresses in Kwara state.
Carrying placards with different inscriptions like, “we say Yes to internal democracy in our party”, “APC is a political party and not a one man party”, “They know us to be supporters of PMB”, “Here in Kwara, no Internal democracy” among others, they trooped out in mass to outspeak their greviances.
The factional secretary of party, Alhaji Abdulganiy Saka, speaking during the protest, along Old Jebba road in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, express displeasure over the manner in which the Congress is being conducted.
He complained that since they joined the party about four years ago, they have been refused membership registration despite working tirelessly for the success of the party in the past elections.
Listing prominent members of their factional group, he included a former house of Representative member and Special adviser to the Senate President, Alhaji Mashood Mustapha, a former speaker, Kwara state house of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Issa Benjamin, S.Y. Abdullahi, and Alhaji Abdulganiyu Cook Olododo among others.
He said “We are members of factional group within kwara APC, we are here to address all the shortcomings within our party in the state.”
“We have other prominent members of our party who are in there respective wards to see the happenings. We have honourable Mashood Mustapha, he is part of us, and right there in his ward, Rt. Honourable Issa Benjamin, Former Speaker of Kwara state house of Assembly, he is with us and equally in his ward, S.Y Abdullahi, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Cook Olododo are also part of us and in their ward overseeing what’s happening.”
“Basically we are here to tell the world that since our defection in 2015, we have not been given membership card till now, if all of us have been following the trend of events in Kwara politics, when we enter into local government election recently, the outcome of the election shows the world people really love president Muhammadu Buhari in the state. But the hand in which our party are in the state made most of the politicians run away from our party.”
“In our attempt to synthesize the membership of the party, they have denied us membership believing that if all our members are registered today’s congress is going to be won massively by our members,they believe the best they can do is to deny us membership”
Saka also said , “For a long period of time, we have not been holding meetings, it’s only when the leader is around that we converged to listen to whatever directives he gives. So this is the situation in Kwara and we believe this is undemocratic and we want things to change for better”
“Our members are there, but they are denied form (nomination form) and that’s why we are here to talk to the world that our members are being denied and we are not allowed to partake in the ongoing congress believing that if we partake, our members will carry the day, so this is the situation”
However while speaking on Sobi FM earlier today, the PRO of APC led All Progressive Congress, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari emphasised that every members of the party are given equal right to contest in the congresses.
“As a party which believes in level playing ground, We ensure that every member who feel they are popular to pursue ambitions for various party positions at the grassroots are given opportunity to participate, this is why we adjusted the closing time for selling of party forms to 12mindnight today”
Reacting to the conduct of the election, he said, “The report so far have been peaceful and impressive as we are getting updates across the grassroots. This election has shown to the world again how Saraki leadership in Kwara APC have been promoting core tenets of democracy”.
Meanwhile, the Kwara state police command, in a statement signed by the PPRO, DSP Ajayi Okasanmi, has warned protesters and vowed to prosecute anyone found wanting.
“The Commissioner of Police Kwara state Command, Cp Aminu Pai Saleh, wishes to warn all would-be law breakers in Kwara of the Command’s readiness to arrest and prosecute any law breaker found within and around the vicinity of the on going All Progressive Congress (APC) ward elections.”
“The Command will not fold its arms while some miscreants in the name of political thugs takes the laws into their hands, any person or group of persons with no reason to be at the various venues of the elections should stay away from such venues or risk arrest and prosecution, please.
Our correspondent also leanrt that the state commissioner of police invited the secretary of the aggrieved faction of the APC, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Saka and secretary of the Saraki led faction, Chief Bode Omokanye to broker peace between them.