From LAYI OLANREWAJU, Ilorin
The battle line seems drawn between social media handlers of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, as both parties on Monday exchanged verbal invectives over the forthcoming 2023 General Elections in the state.
Trouble started when the Gubernatorial Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, Alh. Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman allegedly said that the state cannot afford another four years of waste, profligacy and unskilled leadership whose only trademark is fanning the embers of discord and disunity within the state.
Yaman, while addressing a cross-section of Kwarans on a solidarity visit to his Abuja residence on Sunday, said that the current APC government in the state has not only accumulated an unprecedented debt profile without commensurate development but also remains the most lawless government the state has ever had.
According to him, rather than focusing on leaving enduring legacies as he rounds off his four years of ineffective leadership, he has again chosen the path of engaging in frivolous acts and political brigandage by raising unfounded, unsubstantiated and ridiculous allegations of a smear campaign.
Alh Yaman charged the state governor to tell Kwarans what he has done with the over N56b domestic debt accumulated in just three years. “The governor must explain to Kwarans what he did with the unprecedented huge earnings from IGR and federal allocations in the face of prevalent infrastructure decay across the state.
“Why has he not conducted local government elections despite subsisting Supreme Court judgement if not executive rascality?”, Yaman asked.
“Trying to exonerate government from allegations made almost a year ago is not only an afterthought but fruitless as most Kwarans know the truth”, Yaman said.
According to Yaman, Kwarans are not oblivious of this government’s deceit when it pretends to set up a phantom probe panel to arrive at a predetermined outcome on issues of financial recklessness.
“Kwarans are still waiting for the outcome of the supposed investigation on how N450,000 barbwire money suddenly changed to N450,000,000”, Yaman said.
“Today, all the streets in Ilorin metropolis are in darkness because this government abandoned the Light-up Kwara project of the last administration mainly for political reasons, the same way it abandoned the asphalt plant”, Yaman alleged.
“This is one governor who not only treats civil servants with phenomenal disdain and contempt by contracting their basic duties and responsibilities to consultants but also violates basic tenets of good governance”, Yaman alleged.
According to Yaman, GAA simply lacks the intellectual competence and emotional intelligence to lead the state for another four years. “Another four years of this administration will be worst and may take Kwara ten years back”, he said.
Yaman promised to be a governor for all Kwarans, irrespective of their political alliances ” because the state belongs to all of us”, he promised.
But in a swift response, the ruling party described the PDP’s accusation as senseless and reckless.
In a statement signed by Tajudeen Folaranmi Aro, the APC State Publicity Secretary in Ilorin, tagged “PDP Insomnia and 2023 General Elections” the APC noted that the attention of the party has been drawn to two puerile statements by the rejected Peoples Democratic Party. One of the statements claim that some key members of the administration visited its candidate, Shuaibu Yaman in a bid to join an already drowned party in the state.
“We state that this is another falsehood and usual cheap propaganda by a party Kwara has rejected because its deceit and endemic corruption during their reigns.
“It is a Known fact that the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC, has always publicized the names and photographs of members of the opposition who renounced their party membership to join the APC in the state. We challenge the PDP to give names and photographs of Government appointees who visited their candidate, Shuaibu Yaman , with the aim of joining their hopeless party.
“The second statement accused the APC members of destroying PDP billboards. This is another absolute falsehood and a ploy by men of yesterday to attract sympathy from the people of Kwara They are crying wolf where there is none
The administration of Governor AbdulRazaq has no time for such dirty politics as erroneously claimed by the rejected Peoples Democratic Party. His concern is how to ensure the rapid development of the state that every Kwaran will be proud of.
“We restate that the people of Kwara can see through the congenital lies and propaganda of the PDP and have also realized the difference between the evil regime of PDP and the exemplary leadership of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq.
“The AbdulRazaq administration is not interested in paying evil for evil of the PDP. The public will recall that the PDP government through the State House of Assembly passed a motion urging the National Broadcasting Commission to stop some political programmes on Private Radio Stations in the state but this motion was ignored by the NBC because the PDP government lacked the power to give the commission directives..
“Kwarans are now free from the oppressive regime of the PDP and have vowed never to return the party to power.
They can never forget how the wrecked Party dehumanized civil servants and aged retirees at State and Local Governments levels by refusing to pay them salaries, pensions and gratuities for over two years even when the government was receiving huge allocations and bailouts from the Federal Government.
“We know that members of the PDP have been having insomnia with the incredible achievements of the administration of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq in just three years, we assure members of the rejected Party that this ailment will get worse to epileptic seizures or schizophrenia by the end of his second term in office.
“Kwarans can see that despite the huge drop in Federal Allocations, their money is now being used to build infrastructure such as roads, factories Schools and hospitals while Social investment Programmes to take care of the youths and elderly are in place.
“We restate that the people of Kwara have sworn never to experience the humiliation they were subjected to under the PDP government.
“They are not only praying but working to ensure that the corrupt regime of the PDP never returns to power in the State”.
No doubt, the importance and impact of social media on Nigerian politics in the context of the upcoming elections cannot be over emphasized. It is that space, the many tools helping to amplify the voices of average Nigerians, taking ordinary voices and making them extraordinary by bringing them to homes, offices, and places most of them would have probably never reached under different circumstances.
Today, it has become the battleground of what would arguably be the most competitive election in Nigeria’s history. How exactly are social media influencing the political space in Nigeria and how have the major stakeholders taken to it?
Elections may not be won on social media but perceptions are shaped here. More often than not, these perceptions even influence the so-called “legacy media”.