Kwara PDP crisis, Saraki’s gain
The build up to 2019 general elections in Kwara State is assuming a clumsy dimension by the day. This is because nothing has crystalised, yet the political vibrations seem to be having its toll on all the major players ahead of the elections.
Like a draft board the political kings would distinctly dictate the pace; take bold steps to capture voters and eventually determine where the pendulum of victories will swing.
At present in Kwara and many other states of the federation, two political parties – the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are the most viable parties calling the shots in the polity.
However, what is causing ripples among political pundits in Kwara is the formation of two parallel executives within the state chapter of PDP, a replica of happenings at the national level.
While the chairman of the National Caretaker Committee, Sen. Ahmed Makarfi and the ousted chairman, Sen. Ali Modu Sheriff have parallel executives at the national level, the two splinter groups in Kwara – one led by Chief Iyiola Oyedepo and the other, led by Prince Sunday Fagbemi, are both laying claim to be supporting the Makarfi-led group.
Prominent among Oyedepo’s group are: former governorship candidate of the PDP, Senator Simeon Ajibola; ex Chairman of the Federal Character Commission (FCC), Prof. Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem; a Commissioner at FCC Dr. Femi Ogunsola; among others. Major supporters of Fagbemi are former Minister of National Planning Commission, Dr. Suleiman Abubakar, former Senator Makanjuola Ajadi and former state chairman of the PDP, Kunle Sulyman.
Although it is not yet clear the motive for a sudden parting of ways among the party faithful who stood together during the last general elections, sources alleged that either may be acting under the influence of the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki, to give him a soft landing “if the political calculations would favour that by the year 2019.”
But the most pertinent question is which of the groups is testing the waters for Saraki? Besides, is Saraki truly planning a move back into the PDP fold to realise his most desired political ambition of emerging as the number one citizen of Africa most populous nation?
Oyedepo had before the split emerged the chairman of the party in the state to the displeasure of Fagbemi’s group. But the latter group, which congratulated the former, formed a parallel executive unexpectedly.
Sources claimed that Oyedepo might be a hard nut for Saraki to crack hence the resort to the Fagbemi’s group. But Fagbemi dismissed the assumption saying the Oyedepo’s group should be given the stigma of the group subtly working for Saraki.
Bibire Ajape, an avowed supporter of Saraki and at present the Special Adviser Political, to Kwara State Governor, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed described insinuations as “a truthful fallacy,” saying: “Saraki, our leader to my knowledge, has never told anybody of his plans if at all he has any for now.”
He added: “It could be true if we look at his present ordeals as the Senate President. In fact, there could be some pressures on him to that effect. But I know that our leader is not noted for taking hasty decisions. Again, it could be a fallacy, because he might not have seen any reason whatsoever to take such a step. So why don’t we wait and watch events as they unfold.”
Political observers noted that no one in Kwara politics has been able to upstage a governorship candidate in Saraki’s political camp during any electoral duel. Accordingly, they posited that it was safe to conclude that any party that received Saraki’s support would emerge victorious.
Fagbemi who disclosed that he has not, in his political carrier spanning over 30 years, been in the same camp as the Sarakis, be it the father Olusola or the son Bukola.
“But if he decides to come to us, we will not reject him. In fact we don’t have the power to reject him if he makes an overture.”He continued: “Anyone accusing me of fronting for Saraki is making a reckless statement. I think such claim should go to the other faction because all the people in that group from Senator Simeon Ajibola, Professor Shuaib Abdulraheem Oba, Dr. Femi Ogunshola, Iyiola Oyedepo and Rex Olawoye have had one contact or the other with Saraki at a time.
“As for me I have never had any dealings with the Sarakis in all my career as a politician. I think anyone linking me up with Saraki is just trying to gain undue attention. I don’t owe anybody any apology. But even if he (Saraki) wants to join us can I stop him? All we want is power.”
Speaking with The Guardian on the development, Oyedepo said he had called it quit with the Sarakis long time ago and had resolved not to remain in the same political camp with them. “That was one of the major reasons that made us decamp from the then Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) when Saraki joined,” he explained.
However, an Ilorin based social critic, Alhaji Abdulkarim Olola-Kasum said both Oyedepo and Fagbemi “would by now know that they are hiding under a finger and that the corpse they thought had been buried by them has its legs exposed. We are waiting, we are watching. It will be a matter of few more months or years to know the truth.”