A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Rex Olawoye, has said the party must follow its constitution and respect the resolution of its National Executive Committee (NEC) in resolving its protracted internal crisis in the state.
Mr Olawoye was a member of the 80-man transition committee named by Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq ahead of his swearing-in in 2019. But he is now one of the party leaders angry with the governor.
He spoke with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday on the crisis.
This newspaper had reported how the crisis in Kwara APC escalated last week following the removal of the chairperson of its caretaker committee, Bashir Bolarinwa.
The development was a fallout of a rift between Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and a group of party leaders led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
Mr Bolarinwa, who is loyal to Mr Mohammed, was removed by the national caretaker committee of the party led by Yobe State Governor Mai Mala Buni and replaced with Abdullahi Samari.
While the faction loyal to the governor swiftly lauded the development, party members on the side of Mr Mohammed saw the hand of the governor in it and have even been angrier.
The leadership of the party at the national and North Central zonal levels has intervened in the crisis, but there is yet no solution.
But Mr Olawoye appears not to be comfortable with the role of the zonal leadership of the party in the search for peace in the party in Kwara.
“I do not know the method the North Central Zone executive of the party wants to use to resolve the issue,” he said. “One thing that is sure is that whatever method that does not follow the constitution and the resolution of NEC is null and void.”
He said if Governor Sani Bello of Niger State, who is the chairperson of the party in the zone, wants peace, he should respect the truth.
“We are talking about NEC, you are talking about North Central. How many of us are members of North Central? What is happening is that they know that it will not work,” he said.
Mr Olawoye urged the NEC of APC to appeal to Governor AbdulRazaq “to let the sleeping dogs lie.”
“It is the NEC of the party that can resolve this crisis. I have not seen where people in that hierarchy of the party will say one word and swallow it the second day. They will resolve and get a resolution and somebody that is supposed to execute that resolution will turn it upside down and they are looking at him.
“That person ought to be fired from the party because that is the highest order of disobedience. Indiscipline is one of the things killing this party,” he said.
The APC chieftain also identified leadership tussles as one of the causes of frictions in the party.
He described as abnormal for governors to control the party’s structure.
“To me, I find it abnormal for Government House to dominate the party’s structure as this appears unreasonable. It is abnormal for somebody you pick to represent you in a position and that person comes back and becomes your boss. It looks absurd and very illogical,” Mr Olawoye said.
Mr Olawoye called for the amendment of the party’s constitution to make the chairperson the leader of the party and not governors.
“Until the constitution is amended accordingly, we will continue to have this problem over and over again,” he insisted.
“We have people fighting for the leadership of the party, some people will say because he is holding the highest office in that state, he is the leader of the party in the state. The governor is the leader of the party; it is this terrible confusion that gives room for that kind of discrepancy.
“Usually, the party’s chairman is number one in the state and he is the leader of the party in the state. In a meeting, before the governor comes in, the governor has to take excuse to come in or they can ask him to go back. The discipline was there then. That is why we are having party squabbles all over the states.
“I have always told the governor that we should not embark on a project that we may not be able to finish, a project that may consume us. I told him one on one,” he added.
Mr Olawoye said for internal democracy to reign in Kwara APC, it must respect its constitution.
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