Politicians would seize any opportunity to manifest their talents. For the many political leaders in Kwara who had resisted the influence of Senator Bukola Saraki, the exit of the senator and his political godson, Governor Abdulafatah Ahmed, from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is an opportunity to take the centre stage.
BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI
Last month’s defection of Senator Bukola Saraki, Governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed and nay, the political structure of the government in Kwara State to the All Progressives Congress (APC) has paved the way for a flurry of political activities in the state.
Senator Saraki’s defection provided the needed opportunity for the siddon look politicians and the opposition politicians to regroup against “The leader” as he is fondly called by his teeming admirers.
The most prominent of those that have ridden against Bukola is not surprisingly, his own blood sister, Senator Gbemi Saraki who took the significant step of returning to the PDP just as his brother stepped out of the PDP umbrella.
Another major catch for the PDP is Mr. Mohammed Belgore, the 2011 governorship candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, one of the legacy parties that formed the ACP.
While Gbemi is partly moved by sibling rivalry, Belgore is understandably peeved by the handing over of APC’s political structure to Bukola and the governor.
The coalition of forces under the umbrella is said to be informed by the desire of the uniting politicians to work with the party at the centre and the presidency to “dethrone” Bukola and his crowd in Kwara State.
Current composition of PDP.
The PDP in Kwara State, which with the defection of the governor has turned from the ruling party to the opposition party, comprises a splinter group of the aggrieved members of APC, who were not comfortable with the entry of Senator Bukola Saraki and his people among other personal reasons.
Advantage of the crisis
Some members of the PDP who were with Bukola and the government of Ahmed refused to follow them to APC; and of course, some onlookers who took advantage of the present development to join PDP.
Vanguard gathered that the permutation of the PDP hierarchy to hit back at Bukola was to go to his house and play up his sister, Gbemi.
The initial calculation was to take advantage of the crisis between brother and sister by empowering Sister Gbemi with a ministerial position alongside other opposition members with plum offices to help in mobilizing support for the opposition.
While the ministerial job for Gbemi has not worked out and even if she seems to be willing to work against her brother for free, that permutation was responsible for the appointment of Senator Makanjuola Ajadi as Special Adviser to the President on National Assembly Matters.
Ajadi worked with Bukola and his structure to enthrone the government of Ahmed, but is today one of the avowed enemies of Bukola.
Ajadi it was learnt was hurriedly appointed to his new position after another former senator had already been primed for the office, but political pressure to empower the PDP in Kwara moved the presidency to appoint Ajadi.
So also is Professor Oba Abdulraheem, who was appointed chairman Federal Character Commission (FCC).
The seriousness of the PDP was underpinned by the large crowd that turned out when Gbemi was received into the party at an event centre in, Ilorin, the state capital, last weekend
Gbemi was thought to have abandoned the supporters that swam to her in 2011 on her father’s orders immediately she lost the 2011 gubernatorial election to Ahmed. In her absence with no leader to look up to, many of them sought accommodation in the government.
But Gbemi was all fire last weekend as she formally returned to the fray. Remarkably, she stood with her other siblings, Laolu and Toyin, leaving Bukola their eldest brother and the first born on his own against his younger siblings.
Gbemisola said that she is back in PDP to woo supporters for President Jonathan in his second term ambition.
She added that her decision and that of her other siblings to stay in PDP was because their brother did not inform them of his decision to dump the party and more importantly, that their father never encouraged them to leave PDP because President Jonathan didn’t offend them and that he was nice to their father.
She further said that the exit of Bukola’s group from the PDP has afforded them the opportunity to restructure the party and rescue the state from bad governance.
The politician urged the people of the state to support Jonathan, saying the state would fare better when it goes along with the central government.
“It is clear that the reason for defection by a loud few is because of their personal and selfish reasons,” Gbemi said on that day.
“It is time for us to reclaim our pride. I therefore call on all Kwarans to come together to put a stop to this charade. I call especially on politicians like me to put ambitions under wrap while we strengthen our party. We must be single minded. We must put the interests of the people before our individual ambitions.”
Belgore goes to PDP
In like manner, the much expected declaration of Muhammed Dele Belgore SAN, for PDP took place on Wednesday. Belgore had been facing serious challenges with the leadership of APC over the defection of Senator Bukola Saraki and his supporters to APC
Speaking at a political gathering in his GRA campaign office, Ilorin, Belgore said he defected to the PDP because the leadership of APC had let them down by the way and manner they handled the defection of members of PDP to APC in Kwara State.
He said that the “APC’s leadership in seeking to satisfy a few, alienated the rank and file and the soul of the party”, stressing that the owner of a home need not be displaced to give any false sense of friendship to a stranger.
“Our people do not believe that people are made for a platform. Rather they believe that platforms are made for the people. No positive change is possible where we are to coexist with the same elements that the people of Kwara want to dislodge”.
“APC has let us down. We have therefore decided not to be part of an arrangement that put us in the same ship driven by the oppressors”.
Notable chieftains who defected with him include: Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, Rev Bunmi Olusona, Alhaji Idris Mahmoud, Dr Sa’ad Omoiya, Alhaji Isa Afon, Hon Agboola Ismail, Alhaji Toyin Ayinla, Bar Funsho Sa’ad, Alhaji Atanda Soro, Alhaja Khadijat Abdullateef, Alhaji Ganiyu Onikere, and thousands of supporters across the state who were firmer members of APC.
But in a swift reaction, the state Chairman of APC, Hon. Ishola Balogun-Fulani said the exit of Belgore was good riddance.
As things stand in Kwara today, APC seems to have the upper hand but the ruling party is in for a tough battle from the PDP.