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Gbemi Saraki: Back on familiar turf

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If Senator Gbemisola Saraki is making a dramatic return into Kwara State political terrain as being speculated, then his blood related brother who is also the incumbent President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki should prepare for a titanic battle come the year 2019.

Gbemisola, who had in the past represented Kwara Central Senatorial District at both the House of Representatives and Senate, experienced a sharp decline in her political pursuits when she lost to the incumbent Governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed. 

The buildup to the election was torrid as many political pundits had alleged a political decoy by brother and the sister, as it was never believed in any quarters that the Senate President who himself had been Governor of Kwara for eight years would ever jettison her sister for Ahmed. 

Saraki’s argument, like an alibi was that it would be morally wrong for her blood sister to succeed him in office as governor.Besides, the preponderant Islamic tradition of Kwara appeared not yet ready for a female governor, and her aspiration pitched many Islamic scholars in the state against one another, some in favour and others against. 

Not even the support from her father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, now late could swing the pendulum of victory to her side. Ever since, the political profile of the amazon became subdued, leaving her with just an appointment as the board chairman of a newly established Federal University at Otuoke in Bayelsa state. 

At present, the social media is awash with the picture of Gbemisola, posing as an aspirant as the next Senator to represent Kwara Central. This is an office and a platform her brother is currently using as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. 

Questions are being raised in some quarters as to the kind of political game the siblings could be up to and why the return to active politicking by Gbemisola at a time like this.  A school of thought said the Senate President would most likely context for Presidency in 2019, hence the need to station Gbemisola on the Senate seat for the zone so that her brother could conveniently take over the ticket from her if victory eluded him at the Presidential level. 

But another group insinuated a “bitter rancour” between the brother and the sister, noting that Gbemisola allegedly wanted to take her own pound of flesh as it were from her brother over his failure to support her course some seven years ago. 

Alhaji Suleiman Jabata, a staunch supporter of the female politician was indifferent to the development. He told The Guardian in Ilorin of a long time loss of communication between him and Gbemisola adding that, “it will therefore be difficult for me to know what is on her mind.”

Now that the Senate President has defected from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), insinuations regarding that National Chairman of the PDP Uche Secondus had in the last three weeks paid clandestine visits to Saraki in his Ilorin country home will now be laid to rest.A source, who craved for anonymity said the plan of Gbemisola was to remain in the APC after the exit of her brother. The development according to the source was to turn Gbemisola into a rallying point for other opposition members in the state in order to effectively slug it out with him during the polls. 

But another source believed that “the game plan between the brother and the sister “ was allegedly patterned after two American renowned tennis sisters, Serena and Venus. He said though the sisters could meet in the final of major events, head or tail, it would be victory for the family at large. Already, many people in the state are speaking ahead of the likely contest of the sibling during the polls. Some of them explained that the people of the constituency would find it cumbersome making a choice between the two children of ‘Oloye’, an appellation commonly used for their biological father Dr. Olusola Saraki in his lifetime. 

According to a former governorship candidate in Kwara under the defunct Peoples Redemption Party (PRP) Alhaji Abdulkarim Olola-Kasum, it would be a dicey choice for the people of the constituency mostly the people of Ilorin to make between the Senate President and his sister, “if indeed the duo would contest against each other as being speculated.”

For Olola -Kasum, “it is not going to be an easy choice for the people to make. They may have suddenly cherished the position of the Senate Presidency currently being occupied by Bukola Saraki, thereby finding it difficult for Gbemisola to come on board to displace her brother. 

“Another way of looking at it is to examine the political styles of the sibling. It is generally believed in some quarters that Gbemisola is more generous to her followers and if that is true, many of the voters may opt for a politician with penchant for stomach infrastructure. At the same time, it will be difficult to dismiss with a waive of hand, the political style of the brother who believes more in empowering his sides with plum political offices rather than doling out to them cash. “

The Chief Press Secretary to the state’s Governor, Alhaji Abdulwahab Oba, urged the people of the state especially the members of Kwara Central Senatorial district to be wary of members of “the fifth columnist” who may be planning acrimony in the political and family circles of the Sarakis. 

Oba said he was not sure if that day would ever come “when Gbemisola would seem it appropriate to contest against her brother.” He added, “what will be their gain for embarking on that embarrassing political journey as being speculated? 

“I think we should dissipate more of our energies on germane issues rather than on frivolities. The position of a Senator is not the only political post to occupy hence the unreasonable peddling of a wrong rumour should be killed, buried and forgotten.”An aide of Saraki on social media Mr. Bamikole Omisore said the speculation remains laughable as he dispelled the issue of an existing rift between his boss and her sister. 

“My boss will never fight his sister over any issue of sort at all. Theirs is a happy and a united family. It will therefore make sensible people to laugh if such dummy is being sold to the members of the public.”

An aide in the Constituency Office of the Senate President, Alhaji Abdullahi Olesin noted that only an immature mind would ever pitch any politician against Saraki “in our Kwara here” ahead of 2019 elections. The Guardian checks showed that despite a rather long period of time that Gbemisola had stayed away from her people, she could not but send to them posted gifts to palliate their ‘suffering’ under the present world economic recession. As the count down to the polls begins, perhaps only the daughter of ‘Oloye’ would be the only person to explain her next political steps come 2019. But if ongoing body language is to be contemplated, then the Senate President should be ready for another battle royale in the political family. 


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Gbemisola Saraki
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