High Court ruling on Kwara APC a huge joke —Bashir Bolarinwa

A factional chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State, Bashir Bolarinwa, speaks to BIOLA AZEEZ on the conflicts within the party ahead of the general elections.

How did we get to where we are now?
First, we want to allay fears of members of the APC, all the people of Kwara State and, indeed, the world on the judgment of an Ilorin High Court delivered on Wednesday, December 19, 2018 by Justice TS Umar.

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Now, it is no news that following the emergence of parallel executive committee of the APC in Kwara State and open anti-party activities of the factional group led by Senator Bukola Saraki’s moles and paid agents under its factional chairman, called Ishola Balogun-Fulani, the APC National Working Committee (NEC) dissolved the Kwara State Executive Committee of all factions on July 30, 2018 and accordingly constituted a caretaker committee to run the affairs of the party in the interim. And within a period of three months, a new set of executive committee of the party were put in place at the ward, local government and state levels. It is no news that while Ishola Balogun-Fulani continued to lay claim to the chairmanship of APC in several fora and radio programmes, he did not hide the fact that he and his group of moles are working with and for the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.

 

What culminates into your disagreement with the court judgment?

Since the commencement of the case in July, 2018, Ishola Balogun-Fulani and his cohorts have always boasted to whoever cared to listen that the Kwara State Judiciary is in the pocket and full grip and control of one man. As believers in the rule of law and ability of the judiciary to dispense justice without fear or favour and in the best tradition of incorruptible judiciary, we took their boisterous attitude and utterances as mere psychological ego-massaging. Alas, the developments that culminated in the judgment and the conduct of T.S. Umar in the course of trial have proved to us that our absolute belief in the impartiality and absolute integrity of every judicial officer is grossly misplaced in the instance case. I wish to intimate you that every conduct of Justice T.S. Umar that gave the judgment has been documented and forwarded by our lawyers to the Chief Judge of Nigeria as the chairman of the National Judicial Commission and copied to the chief judge of the state.

It is therefore not surprising that since when the case was adjourned to that Wednesday for judgment, Ishola Balogun-Fulani, his cohorts and their sponsors have been assuring their fellow PDP members that their aim to weaken the train of change in the state and that this would start to materialise as judgment in their favour is a forgone deal and conclusion. In fact, in their fertile imagination and day-dreaming capacity, they expected that the judgment would enable them interfere with the list and names of APC candidates in Kwara State.

 

Would it really affect list of candidates you submitted?

Let me state here that the law is clear on party primaries for election of candidates and no procured judgment of any High Court can change the established position as stated and restated by the apex court in Nigeria. Therefore, all our 24 state House of Assembly, six House of Representatives, three senatorial, governorship and presidential candidates elected at the primaries conducted by the NWC in line with Article 13.4 (v) and (xiv) of the constitution of the party remain the authentic candidates that will fly APC’s flag at the 2019 general election.

While our belief in the impartiality and integrity of our judges is not in any way diminished by the conduct of one man and, as believers in the rule of law, we have appealed against the judgment. No judgment of any court can stand in the way of God’s judgment. No judgment can halt the moving train of change in the state as those who stand in the way of a moving train must know the likely consequences.

So far so good, after the primaries, some stakeholders and party members preferred direct primaries. Of course, there is no mode of primaries we opted for that would not come with its own challenges. But I want to say that the direct primaries that we choose actually caused some ripples. It came with a long of challenges but, at long run, winners eventually emerged. Winners emerged for all the offices. 24 House of Assembly, six House of Representatives and three senatorial districts candidate and of course the governorship.

After the primaries, there were few hiccups as some people wrote petitions to the appeal panel and the appeal panel upturned the results produced by the electoral panel. That also came with some few problems. On the whole,, we saw the necessity to reconcile aggrieved members of the party. That led us to putting in place a very powerful reconciliation committee headed by Peter Olorunishola (SAN), an elderly person in the party. Notable party members peopled the

committee.

But one good development is that, after all said and done, the reconciliation committee is now planning to round up its work with a unity meeting in which all categories of aspirants are going to be brought together, addressed and talked to openly. At the end of the day, a communiqué would be issued out to tell Kwarans and Nigerians as a whole that Kwara State APC has become one strong, united house.

 

What about the issue with Professor Shuaib Abdulraheem?

There is little or no problem regarding that. Emissaries had been sent to him and to the most elderly of all the aspirants. I do not think there is anything to worry about in respect of his case. He has come out to say repeatedly that he remains in APC and that he wants his supporters to remain in APC. I think that some elders of the party have also gone to speak with him. So, I don’t he is pulling any string and I think he is also going to work for the party.

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