The Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, Salihu Danladi, has sacked his media aide, Ibrahim Sheriff, over his role in the violent clash at a meeting of All Progressives Congress (APC) members in Ilorin on Tuesday.
Mr Sheriff said he was sacked because he rescued the former chairman of the APC in the state, Bashir Bolarinwa, from the assault of a woman supporter of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, at the venue of the meeting.
This newspaper reported how violence erupted at the Banquet Hall of Government House, Ilorin, where the meeting was holding, ahead of the party’s membership registration exercise.
The APC registration and revalidation committee called the meeting to appeal for a peaceful exercise amid the protracted crisis in the party in Kwara which worsened after the removal of Mr Bolarinwa as the party chairman.
The development was a fallout of a rift between the governor, Mr AbdulRazaq and a group of party leaders, led by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed.
Although the national and North-central leaders of the party have intervened in the rift, no solution has been found.
According to witnesses, Tuesday’s fracas started after supporters of Mr AbdulRazaq stopped Mr Bolarinwa and his supporters from entering the hall.
A female supporter of the governor reportedly charged at Mr Bolarinwa after he managed to enter the hall.
This led to an exchange of blows and throwing of chairs between the rival sets of supporters, as seen in a viral video clip. In fact, videos and pictures obtained by PREMIUM TIMES showed some supporters of Mr Bolarinwa with injuries while the vehicle of one of them was damaged.
The news of Mr Sheriff’s sack was broken by Fidelinfo.com, a local blog owned by the Special Assistant to the Governor on New Media, Olayinka Fafoluyi.
According to the report: “Sheriff has been sacked because he was seen in the video as one of the people who disrupted the meeting. His principal is livid that he could take part in such a shameful thing despite previous warnings to steer clear of the party issues,” the blog stated, quoting an unnamed source in the House of Assembly.
“Sheriff has repeatedly gone against the rules of staying out of the crisis. He has been caught many times organising anti-government activities even when he is the spokesman of the Speaker. His cup became filled yesterday with his involvement in the violence that trailed the stakeholders meeting in which he was seen as one of those behind it.”
Confirming his sack on Friday, Mr Sheriff said it was masterminded by “domineering government forces but added that he was yet to be officially informed.
“It has been some 24 hours after my purported ‘sack’ was first broken and announced online, first by a blog owned by AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (Fidelinfo.com), at around 8 a.m. of Thursday, 4th February, 2021. I’ve tarried all day to be sure that I was truly sacked by my employer, Rt. Hon Salihu Yakub Danladi, but 24 hours after, yours sincerely has received no notification – verbal or written, that points to it.
“But I know I have been sacked by domineering government forces, who had always been intimidated by my professional and conscientious opinion on issues, at least something in the very inside of me tells this much. For the Governor’s aides to have so gleefully broken my sack online, even if I was never an official employee of either the Governor or the Kwara State House of Assembly, it tells a lot.”
Mr Sheriff said he accepted the dismissal in good faith, adding that he bore no grudge against anyone.
“I particularly bear no grudge against the Governor’s aides who did not have the decency to wait an extra minute before announcing my ‘sack’. I hope they all are happy now. Now that I am moving on with my life, I pray they do too, with theirs.”
On the event of Wednesday, he said it was a test of his integrity.
Mr Sheriff said he was at the Banquet Hall on a formal invitation of John Danboi, the Chairman of the APC Membership Registration Exercise.
“I was there early with the hope to pick a front seat. But despite that we arrived on schedule, the entrance to the event was under locks and keys till way after 2pm. There were a lot of people, party stakeholders who were standing in the sun to enter the hall. But they were all locked out for reasons best known to the organisers.
“It was in the middle of this that the Caretaker Chairman of the APC, Bashir Omaja Bolarinwa, dashed in. How he came, where he came from, I would not know. But as he made for the door, a woman suddenly appeared from among the crowds, charged at him, grabbed his shirts and locked it. It was all obvious that the woman was on a mission, either to kill BOB or strip him naked. Every person with good conscience had to come to BOB’s rescue. Everybody forgot party affiliations at that moment to do what we felt was right and moral. And we did rescue him from the firm grip of the violent woman.”
He said Mr Bolarinwa would have been killed if no one had come to his rescue on that day.
“This was the same cruel treatment meted on my friend and political ally, Olayiwola Karatu, upon his arrival at the venue of the meeting earlier before Hon. Bolarinwa. Karatu was attacked because of his alignment with Mall. Lukman Mustapha. It took efforts to rescue him from the miscreants.
“This is the part I played at the Banquet Hall, no more, no less. This is what I would have done for anybody else. I would have done same for Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq if I found him in that sorry situation. So, it was not about BOB, it was about what was right and moral, what was decent.”
He thanked his former boss for the opportunity he offered him to serve.
“To our Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazak, as a young man growing up, I learnt certain values. We learn to play fair. We learn not to hit people. We learn to clean up our own mess. We learn not to take what isn’t ours. And we learn to say we’re sorry when we hurt somebody. These are basic values that we learned as children. And we teach our own children these lessons. They are, in fact, the fundamental building blocks of a civil society. Without basic rules of common respect, we would experience chaos and anarchy,” he added.
The Speaker did not respond to telephone calls put across by our correspondent to seek his official reaction.
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