The two most prominent children of the late elder statesman, Senator Olusola Saraki: Senators Bukola Saraki and sister, Senator Gbemisola Ruqqayat Saraki are fighting from different angles for lead position in the affairs of their father’s political patrimony. Could they both lose out?

BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI
These are not the best of times for Senator Gbemisola Ruqqayat Saraki, GRS as she is fondly called by her admirers. GRS is still unrelenting in the grudge war with Brother Bukola over the latter’s leading role in stopping her gubernatorial pursuit in 2011. Besides fighting Bukola, she is now engaged with her male

Gbemisola

counterparts in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP for supremacy in the opposition party.

Despite her political acumen, her name is becoming a rallying point for all those who claim that it is time to see the back of the Sarakis in Kwara State.

It was no surprise that when she was slated for ministerial appointment that almost all senior PDP officials put aside their many differences to oppose the proposal. But that did not deter Gbemi who successfully installed her people as chairman, secretary and woman leader of the state chapter of the PDP.

Gbemi was to discover to her chagrin that the chairman, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo who was once her loyalist would be taken from her grip by her rivals in the PDP.

Senator Saraki

The opposition against her nonetheless, Gbemi is unrelenting and has upped the ante by her decision to contest for the gubernatorial ticket of the PDP.

She is for now the only female aspirant even in both political parties, and is contending with other prominent political gladiators for the PDP ticket. Among those in contention for the PDP ticket are the Alhaji Jani Ibrahim, an astute industrialist who though is having his first shot   but is showing impressive capacity, Muhammed Dele Belgore SAN who was the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN in the last gubernatorial election and Engineer Sunday Adebayo Babalola who also participated in the last primaries but was made to step down for Governor. Ahmed.

Also in the race is Senator Simeon Ajibola who is in his third term in the Senate and Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem, Deacon John Dara, Comrade Ben Duntoye and Abdulrazaq Abdulraham.

While Gbemi struggles the stress from her rivals in the PDP, her brother, Bukola is also challenged by the determination of the PDP hierarchy in Abuja to grab the political levers of the state from him. Bukola is especially targeted on account of his leading role in fragmenting the PDP before his exit to the APC. It is thus like a grudge match between him and the president.

Bukola is also of interest to Abuja because of the discomfiture he gave the administration in being the first person to expose the multi trillion naira subsidy scam in the downstream petroleum sector.

After several months of deep cogitation, Bukola brought the anxieties of Governor Ahmed to an end with an endorsement for a second term.

Speaking after an all night meeting with major stakeholders three weeks ago, Saraki said: “It’s not rumour, it’s true that I endorsed him for second term of another   four years.

From my own view, I believe he has performed very well, he has  been able to bring physical developments to the state despite paucity of funds, and he has been able to consolidate on the legacies I left behind,” the immediate former governor said before adding the clincher on Ahmed, “He has (also) been completely loyal”

“When we moved from PDP to APC, he gave all the cooperation we needed”. He continued, “my endorsement of Governor Ahmed for a second term was not accidental. He worked for it, he merited it because he has performed creditably well”.

Bukola’s endorsement of Ahmed was despite the permutations that were on Bolaji Abdullahi who sacrificed his position as a minister because of his loyalty to Bukola and the long persistent shadow of the speaker of the House of Assembly, Abdulrazaq Atunwa. Both men are expected to remain loyal and would not rock the boat by contesting the primaries with Governor Ahmed.

Their submission to the will of Bukola nonetheless, the former governor is still expected to have a difficult time trying to retain his political hegemony given her own sister’s desperate attempt to even scores from the other side. A man’s enemies are members of his own household.

 

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