Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, Governor of Kwara State, has watered down claims that Lai Mohammed, Minister of Information and Culture, has influence in the state, saying the minister cannot win elections in his ward.
Governor Abdulrasaq made the claim in an interview published on Sunday.
Following the intra-party crisis in the Kwara chapter of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Mohammed had in July 2021 claimed that he financially sponsored the 2019 election of Abdulrasaq into the Government House, Ilorin.
But reacting, Governor Abdulrasaq said that the minister could not have sponsored his election as he (Mohammed) does not know what is happening in Kwara State and does not regularly visit the state, but rather returns to Lagos State on a frequent basis.
According to him, Mohammed hijacked the donations made for his campaign in 2019 while serving as a federal cabinet member in Abuja.
“Everything that was donated, Lai Mohammed did not declare to the party, or to me. Some were direct donations to me,” the governor told ThisDay.
“Some were sent to Kwara APC but there’s no governor, no minister. He was sitting there in Abuja, he did not know how we held the election.
“He did not know how we campaigned. He was in Abuja. Ask Minister Lai Mohammed, how many times he comes to Kwara? Our two ministers don’t come to Kwara. They are in Abuja. Both of them. Lai goes to Lagos. That’s his home.
“That’s where his son is a member of the Lagos state house of assembly. That’s where his family is. He has no house here. He doesn’t come here. As our minister, he doesn’t come home. Same with Gbemi Saraki. She doesn’t come. So it’s like we don’t have a minister.
“That’s why the pressure is on the governor. In other states, you have ministers relieving that pressure. Everything coming to the state, they stay in Abuja and hijack it. They are running from one ministry to the other to try and hijack things from Abuja. In terms of resources, they just took everything.”
Governor Abdulrasaq also claimed that Mohammed is not popular in the state and cannot win elections in his own ward, noting that he has all the members of the State House of Assembly on his side, except one who is in the minister’s camp.
He stated that the minister is only good at “making noise” on social media and using the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) to propagate a false sense of control of the Kwara APC.
He said: “They’re noisy in the media, not on ground. Lai cannot win an election in his ward. They’re good with social media noise. That’s all they do. But nobody’s asking how each member of the state assembly emerged. How did they manipulate their way to win their seats?
“There was no godfather, putting people in place, everybody struggled to emerge. We would network and work with each other. No godfather. Everybody struggled in their own way. Yes, I gave money, and they also sourced money for themselves.
“So everybody struggled to win this thing. But some people will sit down and say that it is their party. It is this or that, that I don’t have anybody. If I don’t have anybody, I have all the legislators with me. Is that not something? Let them tell me, they have people.
“How many legislators do they have both in the state and national assembly on their side? It’s just a whole lot of media hype. Lai came a few months ago to make noise that he sponsored the campaign, did this and that. He made a lot of noise and pushed it to NTA.”