Kwara APC: Senator Saraki, Lai Mohammed Clash Openly Over Congress

Senator Gbemi Saraki
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Gbemi-Saraki

A major crack was yesterday experienced in the house of the All

Progressives Congress (APC) as the two major leaders of the party,

Sen. Bukola Saraki and Alhaji Lai Mohammed, were reported to have

publicly exchanged hot words within the premises of the APC national

secretariat, over the just concluded ward congress in parts of Kwara

Whereas Sen. Saraki is the self-acclaimed leader of the APC in the

state, having defected recently from the Peoples Democratic Party

(PDP) to the APC with huge party machinery, Alhaji Mohammed is the

party’s National Publicity Secretary, who facilitated the smooth

transition of the former to the APC.

Until recently, the two leaders had enjoyed conviviality in their

political relationship. No thanks to the recently concluded wards and

local government congresses of the party, which have now pitched the

two leaders against each other, with their supporters allegedly

already spoiling for war.

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The  trouble started when, at the meeting called by the APC to

fine-tune the party’s state congress coming up next Saturday, 26th

April, 2014, Sen. Saraki allegedly confronted Alhaji Mohammed with the

allegation of orchestrating ‘frivolous’ petitions against him to the

national leadership of the APC. Saraki had reportedly queried Mohammed

on why he decided to fire up a petition to embarrass him and create a

semblance of crisis when he (Mohammed) could have walked up to him

(Saraki) if he had any grievance over the conduct of the congress in

his local government.

In a response that reportedly drew the attention of passersby, Alhaji

Lai Mohammed was said to have flared up and told Sen. Saraki to his

face that he did not orchestrate any such petition; that he only got

to know of it when as a national leader of the APC from Kwara state, a

copy of the petition was copied to him by the petitioners. This medium

learnt that Alhaji Mohammed, in support of his innocence, argued that

he was in far away US when the petition was written.

Although 247ureports.com can confirm that as at the time the petition

was written, the embattled APC Publicity Secretary was in Washington

D.C at the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS)

alongside other Nigerian state leaders, we could not however

independently confirm if he was truly the brain behind the

controversial petition.

However, a dependable source within the APC circle informed E-Kwara

that Alhaji Mohammed might have in fact given the ‘moral impetus’ for

the petition. The source, a former aide of Alhaji Mohammed, said that

it is not unlikely that his former boss encouraged ‘his boys’ to write

the petition to express their grievances over the congress outcome.

“Anybody that has had any close shave with Alhaji Mohammed would know

that he is chameleonic. He looks so nice in the outside but he is

deadly and full of mischief in the inside. Apart from the fact that he

stifles the growth of his aides, he also has an overrated assessment

of himself. With a single call to one of his close boys, especially a

few words with Williams Adeyeye (Alhaji Mohammed’s notorious Personal

Assistant), the job is as good as done!” our source said

Continuing, our source said that it is not conceivable that a petition

would be written in respect of Alhaji Mohammed’s Irepodun local

government without him having a prior knowledge and given a subtle

approval thereof.

Meanwhile, in the copy of the strongly worded petition dated 12th

April, 2014 but received at the APC national secretariat on the 14th

April, 2014, the petitioners,  Alhaji Lamidi  Sanni Okiki and Alhaji

Shaaba Mohammed Umar, both former A.C.N Caretaker Chairmen from Ilorin

East and Pategi Local Government Areas respectively and die-hard

loyalists of the APC national image-maker, had alleged a grand plan by

Sen. Saraki and his supporters in the state to ‘frustrate large number

of old A.C.N out of the party.” They further said that the party’s

state leader, “using members of the State Executive council, Local

Government Council Chairmen and other political office holders are

foisting unacceptable formula that promote (sic) inequitable

distribution of party positions.”

If this allegation is true, it therefore serves to confirm E-Kwara

earlier exclusive report that Mr. Saraki ordered that ‘juicy’ party

positions be reserved exclusively for his loyalists in the former PDP,

to the exclusion and detriment of original members of the party.

Although the widely travelled report was greeted with pockets of

denials, and this newspaper insulted by both the APC leadership in the

state and their sponsored agents online, the unraveling scenario has

put a lie to the bare-faced denial

The extant petition, which was also co-signed by, Mr. Olu Ajisafe and

Mrs. Tolani, both former ACN Caretaker Secretary and Women  Leader

from Ifelodun and Irepodun respectively, further revealed that: “The

events that led to the inconclusiveness of the ward congress in Oro

ward II were clear acts of sabotage and grand conspiracy between the

state interim executive and leadership of nPDP in Oro ward 11 to rig

out legacy members who are in clear majority. The most culpable

amongst those aforementioned forces is State Interim Secretary, Prince

Yemi Afolayan.”

The petitioners further alleged that in Alhaji Mohammed’s ward of Oro

II, there were glaring cases of irregularities and ‘conspiracies’.

“Oro ward 11 having failed to reach consensus on the sharing formula

to be adopted in distributing party positions on the day of ward

congress (April 5,2014) resolved to reschedule its congress for Monday

7th April, 2014. Prior to the rescheduled date for elective congress

in Oro ward 11, there were telephone calls from members of the ward to

the Chairman and Local Government caretaker executive of the defunct

ACN, Mr Dogo and Cyril Agbara respectively, a day preceding the date

of the rescheduled congress that Otunba Bode Oyedepo (aka De way) was

issuing fresh registration slips to unknown people at his residence.

Ordinarily, one would think it was impossible, giving the control

measure adopted by the national leadership to safeguard fraudulent

diversion of registration materials by party leaders. But at the same

time we decided to alert the state congress committee chairman about

the development via text message.

“When the nPDP leaders in Oro ward 11 failed to fraudulently rig out

our bonafide members, Bode D way asked one Tunde Sandiku to bring out

a gun from his car, which he did in the full glare of everyone

present. The pandemonium that ensued led to an indefinite suspension

of the congress by the SCC chairman.”

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