No fewer than 15 politicians are scheming to succeeed Kwara State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, whose tenure expires in 2019. Correspondent ADEKUNLE JIMOH examines the contenders.
KWARA State Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed will bow out of office in 2019. Who succeeds him? No fewer than 15 All Progressives Congress (APC) chieftains are struggling to emerge as its governorship candidate.
Although the election is still two years away, gladiators and those interested in the Ahmadu Bello way Government have started oiling their machinery.
The posters of those front line contenders and pretenders are yet to flood Ilorin, the state capital and other major towns and cities in the state. But, there are clandestine meetings.
As at the last count, the politicians eyeing the governorship under the banner of the APC include Dr Ali Ahmad, Moshood Mustapha, Bolaji Abdullahi, Ahman Patigi. Others are Zakari Mohammed, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje.
The APC aspirants are loyalists and supporters of the Saraki political dynasty. They are all followers of the leader of the party and Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Some political analysts have argued that Dr Saraki’s sibling and 2011 governorship candidate of the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN), Senator Gbemisola Saraki, may again try her luck. But the party under which platform she would contest is still shrouded in secrecy.
Aspirants on the platform of the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) are Lukeman Mustapha and Abdulrahman Abfulrazak.
Dr Mike Omotosho is interested in flying the flag of the Labour Party (LP).
Dr Ali Ahmad
The university law teacher-turned politician is the Speaker of the House of Assembly. He was a member of the House of Representatives at the 7th National Assembly. During that time, he headed the Judiciary Committee of the House.
The former University of Ilorin lecturer had earlier served as Special Adviser Governor Bukola Saraki before his appointment as the Attorney General and Justice Commissioner. Ahmad hails from Ilorin, Kwara Central Senatorial District.
The ex-customs staff also hails from Ilorin, the state capital. He is the Special Adviser to Senate President Saraki on Special Duties.
The son of a former commissioner in the state, was also in the 7th House of Representatives. The one-time special adviser to Saraki has not hidden his ambition, while others are surreptitiously carrying out their campaigns.
Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi
He hails from Ilorin. The former Minister of Youths and Sports is a loyalist of Senator Saraki. He sacrificed his ministerial position under former President Goodluck Jonathan at the formative stage of the All Progressives Congress by throwing his weight behind his political godfather. The spectacular action, it was gathered, has further endeared him to the ‘leader.’
Mallam Abdullahi was also Special Adviser to Saraki on Media and Communications before becoming a full blown education commissioner.
The odds, according to political pundits, are in his favour for the slot.
Alhaji Abubakar Kawu Baraje
This is an astute politician. He is an indigene of Ilorin. Baraje is a retired teacher. The ace politician was a former secretary of the PDP.
He led the group that held a parallel PDP congress culminating in the “New-PDP.” He emerged as the national chairman of the n-PDP.
N-PDP eventually fused into the APC.
Baraje has never made his intention pubic, but his loyalists and supporters are reining in. Baraje once told his supporters to allow the leader make his decision on the choice of who becomes what.
He added that, in the Saraki Political Dynasty, everything is orderly and turn by turn.
The former Radio Kwara Sports presenter hails from Gure, Baruten Local Government Area.
He was a Commissioner for Energy and Youths and Sports under Saraki. He is serving his second term in the House of Representatives. At the 7th House of Representatives, he was House Committee Chair on Media and Publicity.
The Odds are in his favour as he is one of Saraki’s boys. According to APC’s zoning arrangement in the state, Kwara North is to produce the next governor of the state.
The proprietor of the fledgling Ahman Patigi University hails from Patigi, Patigi local government of the state. He is currently a member of the House of Representatives.
He is also from Kwara North senatorial district. Both contenders from the north has been going about his ambition discreetly. PDP aspirants
Alhaji Abdulrahman Abdulrazak
The Abuja-based business man has been a serial aspirant. He was a PDP aspirant in 2011 and 2015 in the state. He is an indigene of Ilorin and the son of the first Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) of Northern extraction, Abdulganiyu Abdulrazak.
At the public gathering recently to celebrate his dad’s 90th years anniversary, in Ilorin, one of the preachers at the event urged him to try a shot at the seat once again.
Moshood Mustapha is the founder of the just debuted Sabo FM in Ilorin. The banker is little known in the political calculation of the state.