Don’t Play Politics with Offa Calamity, Minister warns

 ***Insists Abdurazaq Remains Kwara APC Guber Candidate

By RAZAQ BAMIDELE

The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, has chided some political actors in Kwara State for attempting to trivialize the April 5, 2018 robbery attack in Offa that left 33 people dead, saying claims of compensating the victims in monetary terms cannot equate the lives lost in the incident.

The Minister, who made the remarks in Offa, Kwara State, on Saturday at the 2018 Ijakadi Festival, described the efforts to trivialize the dastardly act as indecent, and called on the people to condemn any attempt to play politics with human lives.

“In recent days, there have been attempts by some political desperadoes to trivialize the calamity that befell this community when those armed robbers attacked banks and the police station, among others. These desperadoes were quoted as saying that when they visited this town to commiserate with the people after the attack, they donated 10 million Naira, even when what was stolen from the banks’ vault was 7million Naira.

”Now, let us ask them: How many of those who were killed in that attack have they also been able to bring back? How

can any sane person equate human life with money? No amount of money is worth any human life. And no one should play politics with human life. All people of conscience must condemn this glib comment by a desperate political warlord,” he said.

Alhaji Mohammed commended the resilience of the people of Offa for organizing such an elaborate festival, despite the calamity that befell their community this year, saying it is not surprising because Ijakadi festival itself is a celebration of the Offa virtues of strength and determination, as well as equity, justice and wisdom.

He expressed delight that the people of Offa have resolved that never again will any armed robber,  hoodlum or brigand shed the blood of any innocent person in the town by raising 700 million Naira to build an ultra modern Mobile Police Force Barracks in the community.

The Minister said in keeping with the mandate of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture to develop and promote national festivals, a manager of the Ijakadi Festival has been nominated to attend training on festival management in Ghana.

“In line with our promise during the 2017 Ijakadi Festival, to help train the managers of this festival, I am happy to announce that come January 2019, a manager of the Ijakadi Festival will be travelling to Ghana to attend the training which is being organized by the Ministry in collaboration with the British Council. I congratulate the nominee and I am sure he or she will make the best use

of this opportunity,” he said.

In his remarks, the Olofa of Offa, Oba Mufutau Gbadamosi Esuwoye II, said the Ijakadi Festival is aimed at sustaining the cultural heritage of the people and fostering cohesion in Offa community and its environs.

“Today, the Ijakadi Festival has, of course, attracted national attention, corporate bodies and government at all levels. Without any iota of doubt, this festival has brought development and benefits to Offa Community,” he said.

Highlights of the Ijikadi Festival include the traditional wrestling, homage to the Oba by the various districts, horse racing, hairdo and traditional attire display, as well as Moremi showpiece.

In another development, the Minister has said Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq remains the valid candidate of the APC in Kwara State, dismissing the rumour that his election in the party’s primaries has been quashed by a Kwara court.

The Minister, who is the leader of the APC in Kwara, confirmed this to newsmen in Ilorin weekend after meeting with the state executives of the party to access the level of preparations for the 2019 elections.

He urged Kwarans to discountenance the rumour making the rounds that the recent judgement of an Ilorin High Court invalidated the candidacy of Alhaji Abdulrazaq.

“I read the court judgement and there is nowhere in the judgement that spoke about our candidate not being the valid candidate. Of course we have already appealed the judgement for other reasons but as of today our candidate, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, remains the authentic candidate of the party and that is the situation today with INEC,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He described the rumour as the handiwork of the dissolved party executives, who are working extra time to spread falsehood.

“The ‘Shaku-Shaku’ faction of the APC in Kwara State will try everything and we hear they are saying everywhere that INEC has disqualified Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. No! It’s absolutely false. There is only one candidate of the APC and that candidate is Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, and as we speak today he is in Uyo with Mr. President to launch the presidential campaign of the party,” the Minister said.

He also dismissed the allegation that he deliberately sponsored the live coverage of the annual meeting of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Union on the Nigerian Television Authority (NTA) in order to embarrass the Emir.

Alhaji Mohammed distanced himself from the allegation, saying he was not even aware that the event would hold.

He blamed the PDP in Kwara State for the rumour, noting that the party (PDP) had been circulating false stories about him in recent times in order to pitch him against the Ilorin Emirate.

“The PDP in Kwara State is in panic mode. They are in total disarray. They know they have lost this (forthcoming) election so they have resorted to blackmail and outright lies. How could I have arranged a live coverage for a programme I was not even aware was taking place.

“It’s a lie. I was not aware there was a meeting so how could I arrange the (live) coverage. I challenge anybody who has any proof to come out and say that I was responsible for the live coverage,” Alhaji Mohammed said.

He disclosed that already, 10 persons have appeared in court in connection with the mayhem that disrupted the event at the Emir’s place, along with some miscreants who destroyed the billboards of the APC in Ilorin.

The Minister said the people of Kwara are ripe, primed and ready for change in the leadership of the state and that no amount of blackmail could deter them from ousting the PDP from power in the forthcoming elections.

 

 

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