By Demola Akinyemi
THIS is not the best of times for the ruling Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, in Kwara State.
After losing penultimate Saturday’s House of Representatives by-election in Ekiti State, Irepodun/Isin/Okeero federal constituency in Kwara South Senatorial District, the party is contending with issues arising from that loss.
One of the issues is the move to get Governor Abdufatah Ahmed to drop his Kwara South senatorial ambition since he could not deliver for the PDP in the House of Representatives by-election in the area.
The Kwara South incumbent PDP senator, Rafiu Ibrahim, had initially surrendered the ticket to Governor Ahmed, following intense pressure mounted on Senate President, Bukola Saraki, by the governor through his colleagues in the Nigeria Governors Forum, NGF, and top PDP leaders.
However, all appears set to get the governor to relinquish the ticket, as intense pressure is being mounted on him.
If he caves in to the pressure and withdraws from the race, Ahmed will be among the few governors who after serving eight years, did not go to the Senate.
Vanguard’s checks indicated that part of the reasons the PDP lost by-election was a muffled internal bickering among members over how House of Representatives, senatorial and House of Assembly tickets were distributed by Dr Bukola Saraki.
Instead of open revolt like their counterparts in the All Progressives Congress, APC, in the state, they concealed their anger and reportedly hit back at the leadership during the by- election, by displaying care-free attitude to the interest of the party.
Consequently, most PDP leaders were not on ground to monitor the election like the opposition APC did on that fateful day.
Non-payment of local government salaries was another factor. The salary issue was attributed to the governor’s desire to channel funds to some ongoing projects he wants commission before his tenure ends on May 29, 2019.
Thus, Dr Saraki is said to have yielded to pressures mounted on him to consider a second term for Senator Rafiu Ibrahim under the guise of Ibolo/Offa political platform, which has never had that privilege.
With the outcome of the by-election, the APC appears to have a bright chance of winning the forthcoming elections in Kwara, while the PDP is battling to salvage its goodwill, and re-position itself for victory in the 2019 elections.
Beating PDP in the Ekiti, Irepodun/Isin/Okeero federal constituency by-election, with Ahmed as PDP’s Kwara South candidate is the elixir the APC needs to stage a comeback.
However, while the APC is consolidating on the sweet victory that was tainted with the death of six of its members, who were returning from the celebration carnival in Oro the following day, some political pundits in the state are looking beyond APC and PDP.
Prince Ayorinde Adedoyin, the governorship candidate of Accord Party who had literally stepped into the shoes of his sister, Princess Olufunke Adedoyin, is reaching out and making statements in the state.
Similarly, Comrade Issa Aremu of Labour Party is not relenting in his efforts.