Kwara: Still too dicey to predict
Politics in Kwara State at present remains dicey. But the gladiators may have decided on the winning leg to take like a game of scrabble towards coasting home in victory at the end of the day.
The body languages are glaring of a planned move for political re engineering within the state. However, none of the political bigwigs has given a leeway to how the arrangement could be signed, sealed and delivered without rumpus.
Before the ongoing trend of events, parallelism of ideologies had been the order of the day between members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and arguably the leading opposition party in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
However of late, the chord of parallelism seemed to have been severed, leading to a form of covert handshakes across the two parties. Nevertheless, members seemed to be awaiting directives from the hierarchy of the leadership of the parties.
Like a Rader, former Acting National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje seemed to have been the only one among the APC faithful in Kwara overtly sticking out his neck for the newly christened, Reformed APC ( R- APC).
Baraje, a staunch ally of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki is believed among political analysts to be the biblical fore runner for Saraki and his followers at the R-APC.
But The Guardian investigations showed that the splinter group is yet to display a visible structure that could be regarded as a party secretariat anywhere in the state, just as the group is yet to unveil its members in the state.
Going by the antecedents of Saraki, Baraje may just be the needed stethoscope for him to measure the pulse of his followers ahead of the need for any proposed return to the PDP fold. This was an exact step Saraki took at the twilight of his pulling out of the PDP under a political nomenclature of ‘New PDP’ moments before the last General polls.
Baraje who at present ‘mourning’ the death of his nonagenarian mother at his Baaboko family house Ilorin was not a good material for an interview on the political development, as Islamic tradition among others, required his staying put at home to receive guests on commiseration visits.
Already, Kwara state Chairman of the PDP, who was a former Chief Whip of the state’s House of Assembly, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo has been spitting brimstone and fire on the planned return by the ‘Sarakites’ to the PDP.
“We are waiting for them if their intention is to come and take over the control of the affairs of our party. But we want to assure them of our readiness to tell and show them that it would no longer be a tea party affair for them any longer in the political terrain of the state, “ Akogun said. Sources in the state however alleged that the national echelons of the party are ready for another wedlock of the enigmatic politicians led by the Senate President. Quoting the National Chairman of the PDP, Chief Uche Secondus, a source disclosed that Secondus had considered Saraki, “a bride too pretty to ignore for the PDP in a moment like this.”
The PDP leader was said to have held Saraki in high esteem as a political colossus who could make the much-needed difference in the overall performances of the party at the 2019 General Elections.But a splinter group within the local PDP led by a former Political Adviser to the ex President Goodluck Jonathan on National Assembly matters, Senator Makanjuola Ajadi may have concluded his alleged planned move to the APC “if it is true that he (Saraki) is coming to the PDP. We can never for now be members of the same political party.”
An aide to Ajadi, Ibrahim Ajakore told The Guardian in Ilorin that, “our Oga (Ajadi) had some two weeks ago told us to be prepared for a move to the APC if Saraki eventually stages a return to the PDP.”
The greatest conjecture, however, on the lips of numerous political pundits is that Saraki is also a member of the R-APC despite his non-public declaration of such membership?
Tunji Sulyman, who is the spokesman for the local APC attempted an answer to the question when he emphatically told The Guardian that, “we are in the APC. Our political leader (Saraki) has not given directive for us to be members of any political party as we speak. In fact, the word R-APC is alien to me outside what the press is calling it. Therefore as far as we are concerned, Baraje is speaking for himself for now.”
The spokesman of the local PDP Dr. Rex Olawoye justified ‘cross carpeting’ as a legal move known to the nation’s Constitution. Olawoye added with a caveat thus; “we cannot therefore stop Saraki from doing this. But what we are telling the whole world is that he needs to follow our laid down rules as a party and not to ever think of pulling down the existing structures within the party. He must take his turn by going back to his ward to formally register. Gone were the days of super imposition of candidates on us. We are now more matured politically. If he wants to rejoin the PDP he should go to his ward and register there.
“We have a project at hand already and nothing can stop its execution. We want to take over the hegemonic structure of the state and hand same over to the people of the state come the year 2019. That is what is known as democracy per excellence. We are not concerned therefore by Saraki’s so called return to the PDP. He should however stop giving an impression to the world that we are the ones expecting him at our party.”
Even as these permutations are ongoing, one should not loose sight of the existence of a faction within the local APC. An aggrieved group led by a former House of Representatives member in Lagos state, Bashir Omolaja Bolarinwa seemed to be seeing the purported move by the Sarakites away from the APC as “good riddance to bad rubbish.”
But who can rival the achievements of Saraki at present in the state’s political template among his seeming critics remains a question with an apparent answer. He routed for the emergence of the incumbent Governor of the state Alhaji Abdulfatah Funsho Ahmed. He is in control of all the three senatorial seats in the state; ditto the existing six members of the House of Representatives. It was Saraki who sponsored the elections of the entire 24 present members of the state’s House of Assembly. He did the same for the entire chairmen of all the 16 Local Government Areas (LGAs) of the state.
It may therefore be an already advertised ‘duel’ between Goliath of Gath and David of Jerusalem for Saraki on one side and his opponents at the other side for the soul of Kwara come the 2019 General Elections. Even as the permutations rage, many political observers should just buy a ringside ticket and await the signalling for the much envisaged contests.