Kwara 2019 elections: A race like no other

Date: 2018-11-14

For many residents of Kwara State, the intrigues that characterised the various primaries across political parties culminated in the various choices of candidates. Yet these intrigues are not over as the race to various seats in the state has just started. BIOLA AZEEZ catalogues the individuals jostling for the various elective positions and the personalities that will shape the elections in 2019.

Struggle for political offices in the 2019 general elections has been described by political pundits as a straight contest between candidates in the Saraki political structure and those in 31 other political parties

that will participate in the elections in the state.

Members of the Saraki political dynasty, who are currently in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have either been elected or appointed to occupy political offices under different political platforms and circumstances in Kwara state in more than the past four decades.

Thus, main agenda among most of the opposition political parties in the state is determination to oust the dominance of the ruling political structure and take over political leadership of the state come next political dispensation. The imminent clash which the ruling party is not taking with kids gloves but with more dogged determination to consolidate hold on power.

Major opposition political parties in Kwara state are the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Labour Party (LP), Accord, among others. After two-term of eight years, the incumbent governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, has secured the PDP ticket to run for Kwara South senatorial seat against Architect Lola Ashiru of the APC. Ahmed, who will be completing his second term as governor come May 29, 2019, is replacing the chairman Senate Committee on Banking and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim.

The leader of the Saraki political dynasty, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is also the national leader of the PDP and the Senate President, would be slugging it out with his political arch rival in the senatorial district, Alhaji Yahaya Oloriegbe, of the APC to return to the Senate to represent the Kwara Central senatorial district.

Political observers say that the election will be keenly contested among all the contestants, especially between the two leading political stalwarts. They say that a slight margin will separate the winner of the contest because they would all share votes in all the local government areas that make up the district, while the candidate with widest support base may carry the day.

Zzt was also gathered that four women are included among 16 candidates that would battle with Saraki for the Kwara Central senatorial seat in the forthcoming general elections.

According to information on senatorial candidates released by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), at its Ilorin West local government office located at Ipata Oloje area of the metropolis, 17 political parties are participating in the election in Kwara Central.

Saraki was a presidential aspirant of the PDP but lost to former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar. He came back home to pick the senatorial ticket of his party after the presidential primary under an agreement arranged by the party’ s national leadership that allowed all presidential aspirants opportunity to go back to their pre-primary seats.

The four women, who indicated they are traders in the documents submitted to the electoral umpire, are Abubakar Khadijat Akanni from MPN, Okanlawaon Adekunle Taiwo of GPN and AbdulWaheed Mariam Titilayo from ADP and AbdulSalam Kuburat (LP).

Other candidates for the contest are former member of the Kwara State House of Assembly under the APP, Dr. Yahaya Oloriegbe (APC), Abdurahman Garuba (AP), Ambali Mujaheed (ACPN), Babatunde Sambo (SDP), Abdulraheem Abubakar (ADC) and Mohammed Saidu of Peoples Trust (PT).

In Kwara North senatorial district, incumbent member of the House of Representatives, representing Baruten/Kaiama federal constituency and former governorship aspirant of the PDP, Zakari Mohammed, is the PDP candidate in the district. Zakari will face Alhaji Sodiq Umar of the APC.

The PDP will be relying on allocation of some major political positions in the state already shared to the Kwara North senatorial district in the coming political dispensation to appease the people and win their votes, while political experience of Zakari gives him an edge over his APC opponent. However, the APC candidate boasts of federal might, expected to count in the coming elections in the form of incumbency of the present APC federal government.

The contest for Kwara South senatorial seat promised to be interesting, as Governor Ahmed that will be completing his second term as governor will face Architect Lola Ashiru, who had been eyeing the position for about a decade under different political platforms.

People are watching out for results of grassroots mobilization, delivery of campaign promises and efforts at consolidating hold on political reign between the two candidates.

In the governorship race, a total of 32 governorship candidates under different political parties will participate in the 2019 governorship election in Kwara state.

ccording to information provided by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) in Ilorin, there are three female governorship candidates in the race.

The All Progressives Congress (APC) has Abdulrahman Abdulrazak, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) submitted Razak Atunwa, while Labour Party has Comrade Issa Aremu.

Three Kwara female governorship candidates are Muibi Muibat Aduke of the APA, Deaconess Comfort Yinka of the UPP and Rukayat Toyin Tijani of the MPN.

While the APC governorship candidate is said to be in a familiar political tuft, having participated in many governorship primaries in the state in the past before his emergence as Kwara state 2019 flag bearer of the APC, he was CPC governorship candidate in 2011 and PDP senatorial candidate in 2015.

Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq

Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq, an oil magnate, often described as an unassuming personality, is an indigene of Ilorin emirate, Ilorin West local government area in the Kwara Central senatorial district of the state, the area that commands majority of votes in the state. He is the son of the first Northern lawyer in Nigeria, Alhaji AG Folorunso Abdulrazaq.

The CEO of one of Nigeria's first indigenous international oil trading company, First Fuels Limited, Alhaji Abdulrazaq has intensified moves to cement relationships with aggrieved governorship aspirants in the APC primaries described by many as controversial.

Against speculation that his endorsement by the national leadership of the party had to do with his financial muscle, political watchers expected him to prove his political network, working with party structure and leaders in the three senatorial districts of the state towards good show in the election.

The pundits also said that efforts should be intensified by the APC governorship candidate and the party structure to appease and get commitment of all the aggrieved aspirants in the governorship primary, especially, the former Unilorin vice chancellor, Professor Abdulraheem Shuaib Oba, with a view to achieving widespread support.

The PDP governorship candidate with his financial muscle, also has strength in his immediate environment, Ilorin, in the Kwara Central senatorial district where he hails from, as he will share majority of votes in the state that will be coming from the area among other candidates who are also from the area.

However, political observers say that he would need to build on solid political structure, arguing that his usual departure from political scene after every election had left him with no widespread support base.

Razaq Atunwa

The Kwara state PDP governorship candidate, Razaq Atunwa, is a member of the House of Representatives, representing Asa/Ilorin West federal constituency. Hon. Atunwa, a former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, is the chairman, House Committee on Justice and currently also heading the House Committee investigating corruption in the award of Oil Prospecting License (OPL) 245.

The 49-year-old Razak Atunwa attended Immaculate Heart Secondary School, where he obtained Ordinary Level Certificate in 1986. Hon. Atunwa studied law at the University Of East London, graduating in 1992 with LL.B (hons). He further obtained his Masters Degree (LLM) in International Law from the University of London in 1993. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in October 1994 by the Inner Temple Inns of Court. Razak Atunwa is the PDP governorship candidate in Kwara for 2019 elections After 11 successful years as a Barrister at law in London where he specialized in criminal and international law, Hon Atunwa returned to Nigeria in 2005. The then 36-year-old Atunwa was appointed as the commissioner for Land and Housing in Kwara state in August 2005, commissioner for information and home affairs (2006 – 2007), commissioner for works and transport (2007 – 2009) and commissioner for finance (2009 – 2010). Hon Atunwa has immense governance experience in Kwara state after working in four different ministries in his thirties. In 2011, he was elected into the Kwara state house of assembly to represent Owode/Onire Constituency of Kwara state on the (PDP) platform and was later unanimously elected speaker of the Assembly at the inauguration of the 7th legislature. Hon Atunwa was elected as a member of the Federal House of Representatives of the National Assembly to represent Asa/Ilorin West federal constituency in 2015. Asides from his law practice, Hon Atunwa, an avid reader is a licensed pilot certified in Nigeria and the United Kingdom.

Vote buying, defection are inimical to our democracy Razak Atunwa contested the PDP governorship primaries in Kwara state on October 1, 2019 and was duly elected by 1,555 delegates making him the PDP’s flag bearer in next year’s elections. Hon. Atunwa is running a #Kwara First campaign that focuses on human capacity development for everyday Kwarans, local content development to drive inclusive growth, and massive investment on health and education infrastructure.

Atunwa had polled 1,555 votes to beat his rival, a former governor of the state and serving senator, Alhaji Mohammed Sha'aba Lafiagi, who scored 578 votes.

Atunwa, who hails from Asa local government area in Kwara Central senatorial district is a staunch member of the Saraki political dynasty.

It is recalled that the Speaker, Kwara state House of Assembly, Dr. Ali Ahmad, Alhaji Saka Isau, SAN, Alhaji Ladi Hassan, Hon. Zakari Mohammed, Alhaji Mohammed Ajia Ibrahim, had withdrawn from the governorship contest, while Hon. Ahman Pategi, Professor Sulaiman Abubakar and Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi were absent at the primaries.

While many are eagerly looking forward to seeing impact that the labour leader would make in the 2019 governorship election, comparatively among other leading political parties in the state,

The former national Vice President of the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) said that he would join forces with the progressives to rescue the state from underdevelopment if elected governor.

He promised to eschew hate speeches during campaigns, saying that he would be hard on problems facing the state.

“We will rebuild our great state. We will turn Kwara to a state flowing with milk and honey. We will create employment for our youths, we will revive all our dead industries.

Expected to build on sizeable support base of some aspirants in the party in the past, the labour leader will have to prove his popularity beyond his immediate environment and show determination to consolidate support base of his party in Kwara state.

Ayorinde Adedoyin

Accord Party in Kwara State chose a brother to the late federal lawmaker in the state, Prince Ayorinde Adedoyin, as its governorship candidate for the 2019 general elections.

Prince Adedoyin, born in the early 60s in Agbamu, Kwara state, to the royal family of Samuel and Jolade Adedoyin, is a brother to the late PDP federal lawmaker representing Isin/Irepodun/Ekiti/Oke Ero federal constituency of Kwara state, Hon. Funke Adedoyin, who died on September 28, 2018.

The Accord party flagbearer, who emerged through consensus arrangement, recognised that he has a lot to learn, saying that, "As a priority, I need to get to know more about diverse people in Kwara state to find out what they aspire and what causes their concern".

Prince Adedoyin began his business career under Doyin Group of Companies in the early 80s as an executive director before incorporating his first company which traded in security equipment and communication gadgets under the name Windsbrow Consult.

However, political analysts posited that the Accord party and its flagbearer are relatively new in political consciousness of the state and thus, the spread and commitment of supporters may not be favourably comparable to other existing and leading political parties.

Source

 


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