KWARA PDP: Why Belgore, Abdulraheem Must be Loyal to Gbemisola Saraki By Waziri Ahmed
The state congress of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State have raised several salient issues ahead 2015 elections in the state. The congress which was held on 15th and 16th of April, 2014, may have come and gone but the dust the exercise raised may take a while to settle.
Aspirants to political offices sought to enhance their electoral chances by taking control of the party structure as it is generally believed that whoever is able to install his or her loyalists as state executive committee members would be favoured to win party nomination in the gubernatorial primary election.
Therefore, some ambitious persons and their supporters put everything in the congress to ensure victory. Among the gladiators are former governorship candidate of the defunct Action
Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Dele Belgore, Senator Simeon Ajibola representing Kwara South, Chairman of Federal Character Commission, Professor Oba Abdulraheem, daughter of late political kingmaker – Dr Olusola Saraki; Senator Gbemisola Rukayyat Saraki, special adviser on National Assembly Matters, Senator Sulaimon Ajadi, Hajia Muina Shagaya and chairman of Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Alhaji Isa Bio Ibrahim.
I had thought inauguration of the 29-man executive committee will end the rivalry and divisions in the PDP but I was absolutely wrong. Surprisingly, the inauguration has left the party more divided. Some factions have also issued threats to pull out.
In view of the outcome of the congress and emergence of Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo as chairman of PDP in Kwara State, Senator Gbemisola Rukayyat Saraki has emerged the new leader of PDP in Kwara State. I learnt the cordial relationship between the duo is dated back to about 14 years ago. 14years is no joke.
The losers: Freedom group, Bola Shagaya group and Prof Oba Abdulraheem group have rejected the congress result, alleging that the exercise was marred by glaring irregularities and full of discrepancies. The group wondered why Hon. Gabriel Olatunji, who contested to be vice chairman, Kwara North senatorial district, was scored zero, even when the candidate voted for himself and had many supporters who voted for him at the Congress. This question and some other questions are remains unanswered.
The emergence of Senator Gbemisola Saraki as PDP Leader, have finally shut down the gubernatorial ambition of the Chairman of Federal Character Commission, Professor Oba Abdulraheem. Prof Oba has started gubernatorial campaign with his billboards erected in almost all parts of the state. You can call it over-ambitious but ambition is ambition. Prof is known in Ilorin and relative unpopular in other parts of the state. Any attempt to defect to another party to pursue his gubernatorial ambition can only signal to his political funeral. He must declare his loyalty to Senator Gbemisola Saraki if for nothing but for political relevance.
It may be also be difficult for Hajia Bola Shagaya to install her son, Sheriff, as PDP candidate for Asa West federal constituency election in 2015. Her over-hyped closeness to First Lady, Mrs Patience Jonathan didn’t reflect in the outcome of PDP state congress. I wonder how this woman intends to control Kwara State from Abuja. Her group lost out badly but that is not surprising, she is only popular on pages of newspapers. She must have known that huge differences exist between Politics and Business. Senator Gbemi Saraki is a ‘master’ in politics; Shagaya will gain hugely if she enroll in her School of Politics.
I had a good laugh when Former governorship candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Mr. Dele Belgore addressed the people of Kwara State and said he refused to join APC due to undemocratic tendencies. He must have over-bloated his popularity and who he thinks he is. This is a man who could not win a free and fair primary election against Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq and Mr Lola Ashiru. The singular factor that aided his emergence as the candidate of the defunct A.C.N in 2011 was his relationship with Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and not because of his popularity or acceptability by Kwarans. He has met more seasoned politicians in the PDP and it is just a matter of time to cut him to his actual size. He should also expect payback time from the duo of Lola Ashiru and Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq. Though, Mr Belgore is now a member of the PDP faction led by Senator Gbemisola Saraki and generally believed to have presented joint candidates with Senator Saraki at the PDP state congress. The gubernatorial ambition of Mr Belgore is said to be raising tension in the faction, as the Leader, Senator Gbemisola Saraki will not shy away from taking another shot at Government House in 2015. How Mr Belgore will survive in this camp with a more experienced and influential, Senator Gbemi Saraki is still unclear. This tension has continued to fuel the alleged plan by Mr Belgore to defect to another party. Should he defect, he should as well kiss his gubernatorial ambition goodbye.
Most of these PDP gladiators share a trait in common. Senator Simeon Ajibola representing Kwara South, Chairman of Federal Character Commission, Professor Oba Abdulraheem, Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters to Presidency, Senator Sulaimon Ajadi, chairman of Nigeria Export Promotion Council (NEPC), Alhaji Isa Bio Ibrahim and many others are all beneficiaries of Saraki Political Dynasty. The Saraki Political Dynasty made them and gave them relevance both in Kware State and Nigeria. They had initially shouted ‘freedom’ and chose to form an opposition to the heir of Saraki Political Dynasty, Senator Bukola Saraki. Now they are under the leadership of Senator Gbemisola Saraki in the PDP. This scenario has made me to admit that Saraki Political Dynasty is the mitochondria and power house of KWARA POLITICS. Whether they are in APC or PDP, Saraki political dynasty is in charge which supposes events must have overtook the chant of ‘freedom’ in Kwara State.
Waziri Ahmed lives in Ilorin, Kwara State.
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