By Demola Akinyemi
It was all like a wild rumour until very recently when the strongman of Kwara politics gathered his teeming supporters at his campaign office at Olorunsogo- Ilorin to break the much awaited traditional news of who is to be voted for as the next governor in the coming election.
Just like a well rehearsed drama by some children, the carefully chosen speakers, particularly from Kwara South -which is expected to produce the next governor- openly conceded the area’s claim over the exalted post and asked Dr Olusola Saraki to give them his daughter, Senator Gbemisola Ruqayat Saraki to succeed the incumbent who is her immediate elder brother, Governor Bukola Saraki in 2011.
By next year, Ilorin in Kwara Central Senatorial District would have produced the state’s most coveted position for twelve years, at the detriment of two other senatorial districts, Kwara South and Kwara North.
If the ongoing political gambit succeeds it would have produced the governor for twenty years since the senator would naturally aspire to govern for two terms. All the serving Senators, House of Representative members, State House of Assembly legislators, council chairmen and party chieftains among others were in full attendance.
The State Chairman of ALGON, Alhaji Toyin Sanusi, who spoke on behalf of party chieftains asked Dr Saraki to give them his daughter as the next governor.
Responding, the elder Saraki explained that he endorsed their calls, noting however that the former Speaker Hon Bio Ibrahim, now minister reportedly obtained gubernatorial form without his consent but that he has the constitutional right to aspire to the position of governor.
The second republic Senate Leader commented on the fact that Kwara Central- by the endorsement of his daughter would have produced the state governor for twenty years at the detriment of other two senatorial districts saying he opposed zoning because he did not trust or believe that anybody from the other zones can faithfully and competently carry out the assignment to his satisfaction.
He made copious reference to the political crisis he had with two past governors of the State Alh Adamu Attah and the late Muhammed Alabi Lawal of blessed memory. He recalled what he went through before he could wrestle political power from them against their second term bid.
However, not long after the occasion, several other aspirants joined the race. The list of the aspirants include Engineer Sunday Adebayo Babalola, a technocrat; Engr Wole Oke , a former member of the State House of Assembly; Chief Theophilus Bamigboye- a former Military Administrator in both Osun and Bauchi states; Chief Segun Bamidele, a former council chairman; Alh Yekeen Alabi, former governorship aspirant who is now widely believed to be supported by former President Olusegun Obasajo;. Mr Dayo Adewole; Mr Bashiru Bolarinwa; Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi, a former Senator in the last dispensation and a governorship aspirant too.
The Sports Minister, Alhaji Bio Ibrahim who is a former Speaker is the only candidate from Kwara North. He is believed not to have impressed his people since his adventure into public office. But in a swift reaction the leadership of the ruling party in the state insisted that the party leadership will strictly abide by its guidelines in the emergence of its flag bearer for all the elective offices as stipulated by the constitution.
The PDP spokesperson ,Alh Dan Mairomo noted that this became imperative because no part of the guidelines empowers any individual or group, of people except the party which would in accordance with the guidelines conduct the primaries which will produce the flag bearer.
He assured other aspirants to feel free to pick the party’s forms as bonafide members of PDP assuring that the primaries which will produce a popular candidate will still be conducted.
For now, the ruling party in the State is now in great confusion as the leadership has been polarized along this divide leading to the suspension of the Assistant Secretary of the party over allegation of anti party activities.
The State Publicity Secretary of the party, Alh Isiaka Danmairomo in a statement issued in Ilorin and made available to journalists ordered the suspended party officer Hajia Aishat Ibraheem to hand over all properties of the party in her possession to the Secretary with immediate effect.
In a related development, a group which christened itself as ‘Concerned Kwara PDP Elders Forum” requested the national Secretariat of the party to dissolved the State Executive Council of the party. The Concerned PDP Elders in a statement made available to newsmen in Ilorin said that the dissolution of the State Executives of the party became imperative in view of the impending party primaries, preparatory to the next general elections.
The statement was signed by Alhaji Mansuma Ibrahim,Mallam Yakubu Yahaya (Kwara North) and Iyiola Olapade, Tajudeen Olayiwola(Kwara South),Alhaji Ibrahim Ayinde and Alhaji Hassan Eleweomo(Kwara Central).
In a related development, the Emirate Defenders and Kwara Progressive Elite Group have condemned the support of the elder Saraki for the succession bid of Senator Gbemisola Saraki and his alleged attack on Ilorin as a result of the development.
The Kwara Progressive Elite Group said this in a statement titled,’’Saraki should not impose Gbemisola’’ jointly signed by the chairman and secretary, Elder Bamidele Ayanda and Alh Abdullahi Adamu.
Before the declaration by the elder Saraki, for Senator Gbemisola , there was no poster of any aspirant for the office of governor or any other elective post across the nooks and crannies of the state.
But immediately after the Saraki endorsement, no fewer than nine governorship aspirants have signified their interest for the plum post; Others have also pasted their posters for elective posts.
Vanguard investigation revealed the expectation across the state is that the governorship should be zoned to the Kwara South Senatorial District and that a technocrat should succeed the incumbent governor who many believe will take kwara to the next level of development because the incumbent it was believed performed well because he came from private sector and a technocrat per excellent.