With the near expiration of the two-term tenure of a representative of Kwara South senatorial district as governor of Kwara state, the political class in the state have continued to intensify their efforts on calculations and permutations on a particular zone that will produce the next governor in the state out of the two other senatorial districts; Kwara North and Kwara Central senatorial districts.
Judging by the array of governorship aspirants that have obtained their nomination forms and returned same to their parties, aspirants from the Kwara North and Kwara Central are giving themselves a run for their money as no one is willing to be caught napping.
The governorship aspirants in the two leading political parties in the state, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) form the main actors while as at last count, aspirants from the Kwara Central senatorial district have slightly outnumbered their contenders from the Kwara North senatorial district of the state.
However, the arguments by the people of the Kwara North senatorial district is that it is their turn to produce the next governor of the state considering the number of governors that the state had produced since its creation in 1967 and the districts that had produced past governors.
Recently, the people of Kwara North senatorial district called for a power shift, appealing to all political parties in the state to make indigenes of the district their governorship flag bearers in the 2019 governorship election.
The people, under the aegis of Coalition of Kwara North Group (CKNG), and with the mandate of all traditional rulers, elders, women, and youth across five local government areas of Moro, Kaiama, Edu, Patigi and Baruten, said that it is the turn of the district to produce the next governor in the state.
Speaking with journalists in Ilorin, members of the group, led by their spokesperson, Comrade Kolo Majin, warned political parties to abide by its demand or shun their areas for campaign.
"In the event that our demands are not met or taken for granted, we will boycott the governorship elections, we will deny access to campaign in the length and breadth of our area to candidates who are non-indigenes of Kwara North and we will also reconsider the essence of our continued existence as an undermined region in the state.
"We, the entire people of Kwara North collectively declare that it is simply wise to say, since the inception of democracy, dating back to 1999 and after Kwara Central had run the affairs of our political leadership from 1999 to 2011 (Mohammed Lawal and Bukola Saraki) respectively, Kwara South running from 2011 till date, where next as a function of common truth and trust must only be the North of Kwara. Based on the ethics of natural justice, fairness and equity, power must shift to Kwara North come 2019," he said.
The people also demanded that all political party platforms should have as their flag bearers only candidates of Kwara North extraction, saying, "We reject all other aspirants seeking governorship tickets except candidates from Kwara North, we refuse to play second fiddle to any other district.
"Our loyalty is not a sign of weakness, but because we are people with high moral values and great sense of decorum. We make to say and fearlessly so that we are not inferior to any other sections most especially the Central.
"Irrespective of political parties and divides, it is morally justifiable for Kwara North to produce the next governor of the state."
In the governorship race for 2019 are such leading aspirants from the Kwara North senatorial district like Alhaji Shuaib Abdullahi Yaman, of the APC, including two members of the House of Representatives, Honourable Aliyu Ahman Pategi and Honourable Zakari Mohammed of the PDP.
However, judged by views expressed by some political watchers in the state, Alhaji Shuaib Abdullahi Yaman has an edge among his peers in what the people considered as his campaign strategies, followership and support base.
A Nupe by tribe, Yaman (as he is fondly called) was born in Shonga, Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State and he is married with children.
The governorship hopeful, who posited that a better Kwara State is realisable under God-fearing and visionary leadership, urged youths, men and women of conscience to rise up against bad governance and look inward for a prosperous state of harmony in 2019.
"It is a truism that poverty is clearly written on our lands, no quality education for our children, no prompt and regular salaries for our workers, no patronage for our indigenous contractors, no empathy for the old, no employment for our youths, no regular pension for our retirees, no rural development programmes, no scholarship nor bursary for our students and no regular subvention for our tertiary institutions.
"All we see around is potholes on our roads, our infrastructural facilities are dilapidated, our hospitals are crying for attention, we are denied of return on our investments and our commonwealth are unjustly squandered by the few. This acts being orchestrated by the current political leaders calls for sober reflection and high concerns.
"Your vote is your right and this should be exercised wisely in the coming elections at all levels", he said.
Speaking of how to finance projects in the state, the governorship aspirant said his administration would leverage on wealth creation. "I come from a wealth creation background. My business creates wealth and I know Kwara well enough to create prerequisite wealth for everybody to prosper.
"When we come in, our first programme will be wealth creation, so that our youths can be engaged. We will ensure that Kwara is not just leading, but will set pace of development in Nigeria", he said.
Honourable Aliyu Ahman Pategi is a two-term member of the House of Representatives, representing Pategi/Edu/Moro constituency at the House.
The politician, who recently declared his intention to run for the seat on the platform of the PDP assured that he would improve on achievements of the previous administrations if elected the governor.
Ahman-Pategi who said that he was aware that the traditional rulers from the district have demanded that the area which is the only district that has not produced governor under the present dispensation should produce the next one, however, added that he was not counting on zoning, but his personal merit to contest the election.
The aspirant expressed hope that whoever emerged the candidate of the PDP would be supported by all other aspirants within the party.
Ahman Pategi's party man and co-contestant, Hon. Zakari Mohammed represents Baruten/Kaiama federal constituency of Kwara state. A broadcaster turned politician is a loyal member of the Saraki political structure.
Zakari Mohammed, who had visited traditional rulers in his area on his governorship aspiration, said that he would focus on agriculture if elected governor.
"I will ensure opportunities that agriculture offers are maximally put into positive use. You can touch the lives of millions through agriculture, that is why it is a business venture allowed for everybody; civil servants, political office holders et al. We intend to look into how we can make agriculture alluring and attractive to the youths. Agriculture stands as solution to many problems, it can help check rural-urban drift, it can reduce unemployment, it is also vastly more effective in reducing crime rate because once the youths are meaningfully engaged they will not get involved in criminal activities," he said.