•Set To Determine The Next KWARA Governor
Since the assumption of Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as the Governor of Kwara State about two years ago, the party has been enmeshed in various internal wranglings and war of attrition. The simmering crisis which has been raging for 13 months now has snowballed into a full-blown political disaster as almost all the factions that initiated the ‘Otoge’ movement are finding their ways back to the People’s Democratic Party and into the warm arms of the ex-senate president, Bukola Saraki
The crisis dates back to the period before the 2019 general elections. Immediately after former senate president, Bukola Saraki’s defection from the ruling party to the opposition People’s Democratic Party, (PDP). The politicians who felt disenchanted with the political hegemony of the Saraki dynasty, came together to edge him out of power in the state. There was a popular political protest in Kwara with the tag “Otoge”, and shared purpose brought political enemies together.
The force was formidable and victory was delivered in the end. However, instead of savoring the victory at the polls, a war of supremacy began to brew between the Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq and other stakeholders. The stakeholders include: Information and Culture Minister, Lai Mohammed, Minister of State for Transport, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Prince Sunday Fagbemi and Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo. As the trending parlance in the Western Region, a trailer has passed across and divided this camp against the incumbent governor, but Saraki as a leader, is mending fences with the group. As this cold war continued, both camps pretended as if all was well in the party but keen watchers of the state chapter knew that it was a matter of time for the crisis to manifest. Even Gbemisola Saraki has cut ties with the governor after making it glaring that he’s out to erase all of her father’s legacy in Kwara State. Just 3 months ago, Kwara State Governor, Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman, demolished a library named after her late father, Baba Olusola Saraki.
In a tweet on her verified Twitter handle, Mrs. Gbemisola alleged that the governor has no focus on building the state but to destroy the existing infrastructures. According to her, no matter the move by the governor, the legacy of the former Waziri of Ilorin would not be erased. Her tweet reads, “Yet again, today we find that the Governor of Kwara State’s focus is not on building up Kwara, but on demolishing buildings which were owned or named after my late father, the Waziri of Ilorin. “No matter how many structures are demolished, Baba Saraki’s legacy can never be destroyed, because it lives in the hearts and minds of the great people of Kwara.
“May Allah continue to guide and protect us all. Aamin”. AbdulRazaq, buoyed by his supporters and loyalists, pushed for the chairmanship of Prince Fagbemi, his long-time political ally. But the proposal did not sail through. Eventually, Bashir Bolarinwa who was the chairman when the Otoge movement dismantled the 40-year- political stranglehold of the Sarakis emerged victorious. The emergence of Bolarinwa brought evident division to the party in Kwara State as the Governor’s loyalists plot to remove him from office. Before the 2019 elections, a source had disclosed that Bolarinwa was the key player who fought tooth and nail to ensure that Abdulrazaq won the election against the hegemony of the former Senate President. It was gathered that before the elections, Abdulrasaq used to stay in Bolarinwa’s house. A close source revealed that Abdulrazaq, at some point, would sleep in Bolarinwa’s living room when the campaign exercise became tough.
The Emir of Ilorin is also reported to be at loggerheads with the governor, because of his style of administration. The rift was revealed to the public when the Emir’s daughter got married. The governor did not attend the event, but Bukola Saraki was visibly seen as a special guest at the wedding. However, Saraki seems to have gathered a wider base of supporters, despite the ‘Otoge’ crisis that ousted him two years ago. So far, 10 out of the 16 local government areas in Kwara State have returned to the caring hands of Saraki.
While Governor Rahman is a Lagos-based elite and plays big in the private sector, Saraki has been a political mobilizer for many years, even before the 4th republic. He inherited his father’s follower- base in Kwara, which is why he has remained a force to reckon with in the scheme of things at the national level.
Sources also revealed that the demolished Ile-Arugbo that used to be the rallying point of old men and women who are taken care of by the Saraki family has now been relocated to the Saraki family house in Ilorin where the aged people now gather to get food and clothing Items, especially the custom of Ankara fabric that the iconic political figure, late Olushola Saraki used to distribute to the aged mothers
A key stakeholder in the APC also reveals that there are some core meetings of powerful politicians in Kwara States now gather routinely at Saraki’s Ilorin home to discuss confidential matters that are of the state’s interest.
All of Saraki’s humanitarian foundations have been revived and are running.
it is, however, not clear how the polarised party structure intends to sustain state power amidst the power tussle that has fallen things apart, while the PDP continues to build bridges and mend fences within its party in the state and also poaching aggrieved members of the APC and other political parties ahead of 2023.
It is however safe to suggest that Bukola Saraki has reclaimed his audacity and political power in Kwara wherewith he may be the one to determine who the next governor in the state becomes.
Our source revealed that Saraki has, in the last 4 months, been hosting different fora and different stakeholders from all the local governments in the state.
He explained that a merger between the Senate President and elements in the APC will depend on what happens at the centre. “Definitely, there will be movements, particularly former allies of Saraki that moved from PDP to APC before the election.
-Joseph Seun Emmanuel