The crisis rocking the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) further deepened on Thursday as the national body of the party suspended eleven chieftains said to be loyalists of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
According to APC, the 11 members were suspended over alleged anti-party activities.
The Minister, according to multiple reports, was summoned by the APC National Caretaker Committee last week for opening a parallel state secretariat in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital.
Recall last week the elder caucus of the Kwara APC had called for the immediate suspension of Mohammed over alleged factionalization of the party, among other anti-party activities.
The leaders also called on President Muhammadu Buhari to remove Mohammed as the minister, saying that “he is no longer fit to represent the interest of people of Kwara state.”
However, another faction of APC loyal to the minister threatened to invoke section 21 of the party’s Constitution on the state Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, for alleged anti-party activities.
The faction in a counter statement issued warning to the elders’ caucus, saying that they lack the power to call for the suspension of the minister.
Meanwhile, in a suspension letter, signed by the National Secretary, Caretaker/Extra-ordinary National Convention Planning Committee, Sen. James Akpanudoedehe, and addressed to Kwara state chairman Hon. Abdullahi Samari Abubakar, the party announced the suspension of the 11 members.
Those affected are Joseph Tsado, Bamidele Ogunbayo, Issa Fulani, Imam Abdulkadir, Morufu Olaniyi Yusuf, Saludeen Lukman, Kerebu Fatai, Bola Ajani, Nurudeen Fasasi, Salman Shehu Babatunde and Abdullateef Ahmed Kolawole.
They were handed the punitive measure for dragging the Kwara state Chairman Hon. Abdullahi Samari Abubakar to court.
The 11 members had opposed the removal of Bashir Bolarinwa as the caretaker chairman of the party in Kwara state, which generated into a full blown crisis as the party broke into two factions.
The eleven members also approached the court to demand the removal of the approved State Caretaker Committee Chairman, Samari Abubakar in contrary to the directive of National Executive Committee (NEC) of 25th June 2020, where it was resolved that no member of the party should institute any action in court.
The letter read in parts; “The Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee considered the decision of the Kwara State Caretaker Committee dated 5 February 2021 on the resolution of the Kwara State Disciplinary Committee to suspend erring members who Instituted SUIT NO: CV/241/2021 BETWEEN JOSEPH TSADO AND 10 ORS VS ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS & 2 ORS against the party.
“After due consideration of the decision, the members of the Caretaker/Extraordinary National Convention Planning Committee found the decision meritorious on the grounds that the members who instituted the above-mentioned suit against the Party had flouted the directive of the National Executive Committes (NEC) of 25th June 2020, wherein the NEC resolved that no member of the Party should institute any action in court and to withdraw all pending cases in Court in order to explore the internal conflict resolution mechanisms of the party.
“Consequently, the Caretaker/Extraordinary. National Convention Planning Committee ratifies the decision of the Kwara State Caretaker Committee and upholds suspension of the following Party members:
“Take notice; that this suspension constitutes a bar on the above-named persons from participating in the ongoing registration and revalidation of membership exercise.”
The APC national secretariat approval followed a notice of disciplinary action letter signed by the state Caretaker Committee Chairman, Abubakar and Mohammed Mustapha Salman Secretary of the Caretaker Committee.
“We write to inform you that our State Caretaker Committee in Kwara State constituted a Disciplinary Committee to hear and determine the complaint against Plaintiffs in SUIT NO: CV/241/2021 BETWEEN JOSEPH TSADO AND 10 ORS VS ALL PROGRESSIVES CONGRESS & 2 ORS.
“The Plaintiffs instituted the above-mentioned suit against the Party and flouted the resolution of the National Executive Committee (NEC) wherein all members were directed not to institute any action and withdraw their cases in Court in order to explore the internal conflict resolution mechanisms of the Party.
“The Kwara State Caretaker Committee has received and adopted the report of the disciplinary Committee in respect of Joseph Tsado & 10 Ors. This is pursuant to Article 21 (B) (i) & (iii) of our Party’s Constitution (October 2014 as amended).”