•Details Of The Wrong Steps & Decisions He Took
The Kwara governorship elections have come and gone. But members of the Kwara PDP are still suffering from the debilitating loss they suffered at the elections, as the APC governorship candidate Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq won.
Many top PDP chieftains believe that the Kwara PDP lost the elections because the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki made so many costly mistakes in his choice of candidate.
He was the one who picked Abdulrazaq Atunwa as the anointed candidate over and above other equally competent candidates.
Abdulrazaq Atunwa, is the 50 year old former Speaker of the Kwara State House of Assembly, from 2011 to 2015. He was a member of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) between 2002 and 2014. On 22 January 2014 he formally announced his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
On 28 March, 2015 he was elected as a Member of the House of Representatives to represent Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency. He is the Chairman, House Committee on Justice and currently also heading the House Committee investigating corruption in the award of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245. He is also an avid aviator, having qualified as a Pilot both in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
Atunwa holds a Bachelor of Laws degree (Hons), and a Master of Laws degree, Public International Law (London). He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in October 1994 by the Inner Temple Inns of Court.
As a barrister practicing from Chambers in London, he specialized in Criminal Defence and International law cases. He has appeared in a number of notable and high-profile cases (reported in various Law Reports):
In 2005 Atunwa moved to Nigeria to commence his political career. In August 2005, he was appointed Honourable Commissioner for Lands and Housing of Kwara State. A year later in August 2006, he became Honourable Commissioner for Information and Home Affairs. In July 2007 he became Honourable Commissioner for Works and Transport. He was moved to the Ministry of Finance in November 2009.
In April 2011, Atunwa was elected into the Kwara State House of Assembly to represent Owode/Onire Constituency of Asa Local Government, Kwara State, Nigeria
On 6 June 2011, he was unanimously elected as Honourable Speaker of Kwara State House of Assembly.
He renounced his membership of the PDP and formally announced his membership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on 22 January 2014 on the floor of the Kwara State House of Assembly.
Having contested in the 2015 General Elections, he was elected to Member of the House of Representatives of the National Assembly to represent Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency.
Though Senate President, Bukola Saraki was not in Ilorin during the inconclusive primary election he flew into Ilorin late in the night after the commotion and fracas broke out at the venue.
Before the primaries was disrupted, Bolaji Abdullahi, a cerebral aspirant and tested Saraki ally, was leading by as much as 95% after Ifelodun Local Government delegates voted. It was when Asa Local Government delegates were voting that thugs stormed the location and disrupted voting, and people ran for their lives.
City People gathered that back then, it was Saraki group who started applying pressure on the other candidates from Sunday night till Monday afternoon, especially Bolaji Abdullahi, to withdraw for his anointed candidate, (Rasaq Atunwa). Following this, Ali Ahmad announced his withdrawal but others, including Bolaji Abdullahi, simply stayed away (boycotted) the venue of the primary, having seen that Saraki was hell-bent on imposing Atunwa.
Shortly after APC members, sympathizers, and other Kwarans who are neutral to both parties, began to jubilate in Ilorin after news hit town that Atunwa had been elected as PDP candidate.
Many felt Saraki committed a grave political blunder for foisting Atunwa on the party as candidate.
They said Atunwa is the weakest candidate among the front-running 5 candidates at the primaries. They described Atunwa as aloof, arrogant, and very, very stingy. And that he has zero social/grassroots connection with Kwarans, and he is seen as completely useless in terms of attracting votes to the party. You may ask almost everyone who had worked with him since 2003 when Bukola Saraki appointed him into the cabinet, on the recommendation of his father, late Sen. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, who fortuitously met Atunwa in London and invited him into Kwara Politics.
Whereas candidates such as Bolaji Abdullahi, Ali Ahmad, and others toured almost all the local governments in the state between August and end of September, Atunwa was the ONLY aspirant who did not do any tour beyond some few areas in Ilorin metropolis. It was as though he was already sure of the ticket and needed not to waste money touring anywhere.
After the primaries, many party members felt Bukola Saraki had dug his own grave by anointing Atunwa. Senior APC people exchanged several text messages rejoicing over the choice of Atunwa. One of them said that they were largely afraid of Bolaji Abdullahi (or Ali Ahmad to an extent) emerging as candidate, but with Atunwa, it’s a walk-over!
This imposed candidate, Atunwa, might be the end of Saraki’s hold on the politics of Kwara, many predicted then. In the Ilorin Emirate where Atunwa claimed to have originated, Asa local government being part of Ilorin Emirate, he is hated with passion. Atunwa cannot win a single polling booth in a Ilorin. One diehard Saraki follower told City People months ago, that: “How will we sell Atunwa to the electorate? Leader (Saraki, that is) has killed us patapata. Atunwa? How? When we had Bolaji and Ali Ahmad!”
In Thisday of January 2003, Bolaji Abdullah wrote: “Bukola should worry about the kind of people he surrounds himself with. His father, I know, eminently enjoys flattery. And that must explain why he surrounds himself with people who make him feel like a God. The worst mistake Bukola can make is to allow himself to be held hostage by the same people who have held his father captive by making him feel super-human. No matter how this contest goes eventually, what we are watching is Saraki’s last game. It will be tragic if Bukola allows this to be his final as well.”