High court judgement has vindicated us —Balogun-Fulani
In this interview by BIOLA AZEEZ, a factional chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Kwara State, Ishola Balogun-Fulani, speaks on a court judgement affirming his headship of the party in the state, other contentious issues and the preparedness of the party for the coming elections.
How did you receive the judgment by the state High Court recognising your state executive committee of APC?
First, we thank President Muhammadu Buhari for driving the party on the path of justice. The judgment has vindicated our executive and affirmed Honourable Kayode Abdulwahab as the authentic governorship candidate of APC in Kwara State. The verdict is a victory for democracy, rule of law and the people. We, the members of APC in Kwara State, are very happy for the laudable judgment. It is a victory for democracy, the judiciary and for the rule of law.
The judgment has authenticated us as the APC executive in Kwara State. Any other executive anywhere is a fake. We have been saying it, the executive members of APC in Kwara State are duly elected and we followed due process in that election. I am among the chairmen of the APC that was sworn in by the immediate past national chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and it was confirmed by the incumbent chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole.
We have been on this court issue for the past six to seven months, but we thank God that, today, we are vindicated. So, I will use this opportunity to thank our president, Muhammadu Buhari, for allowing us to go to court and get a redress. We are happy and grateful to him. We are also grateful to our national chairman who said the party leadership is ready to abide by the decision of the court anytime.
With this judgment, what is the fate of APC candidates in your group?
I want everybody to know that we, as the authentic APC executive in Kwara State, have conducted our primaries and our candidates for the various positions are those who contested on the platform of our party for the Senate, House of Representatives and state House of Assembly. Just as our governorship candidate today is Honourable Kayode Abdulwahab, popularly known as Omotoshe, his deputy that was confirmed by us is Honourable Olorunfemi Adeoye and we are calling the APC NEC to do the needful.
At the last by-election conducted for the House of Representatives, we had our primary too here and the person we elected then was Kehinde Olatayo. He is the authentic candidate for the House of Representatives and we are urging the National Assembly to swear in our candidate as related to the judgment. We are starting our campaigns immediately for the governorship election and we want all our authentic members to come and join us. APC in Kwara State is one and we want everybody to come on board immediately we start our campaign, which is very soon.
What happens next as the judgment is being appealed by the other faction of your party?
Bashir Bolarinwa and all others in his group are members of our party, the APC. It is natural that they are aggrieved over the judgment of the Ilorin High Court which affirmed the legitimacy of our State Executive Committee over his own illegal caretaker committee. By the special grace of God and through the rule of law, I, Ihsola Balogun-Fulani, am the confirmed and authentic chairman of our party, APC, in the state right now and, Insha Allah, I would be in that position for the next three years, as provided for by the constitution of our party.
Since after the judgment, I have pre-occupied myself with the task of reconciling all our aggrieved members. Alhamdulillah, we have been making steady progress on this. Therefore, instead of dissipating energy on a foregone conclusion, I would rather further prioritise the reconciliation moves so that every single member of the party, including Bashiru Bolarinwa himself, would not be lost to the opposition parties.
The Kwara State chapter of APC, as presently constituted, is for peace. Together, we will all work to deliver Kwara State to our great party in the forthcoming elections at all levels.