Saheed Abdullahi here undertakes a postmortem analysis of the governorship and House of Assembly elections in Kwara State, pinpointing factors that contributed to the utter loss of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressive Congress, APC.
Build up to this just concluded general elections in Kwara State, I wrote to predict where pendulum would swing, pointing out candidates that may likely win and lose in the polls. The piece was titled “2023 elections: How it will be won and lost “. In the said article, I x-rayed Kwara State Senatorial districts, indicating who would take what and who would be severely flogged. In my final analysis in the write-up, I predicted the success of All Progressives Congress, APC and Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq as well as the state House of Assembly elections.
When I circulated the article, I was confronted and challenged by some persons in opposition and even some political watchers didn’t spare me breathe. I was queried and questioned: “Who told you Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq would win reelection?” And I replied: “He would win based on his state-wide achievements in terms of ongoing physical capital projects, human capital development, youth empowerment and civil servants’ welfare. They vehemently disagreed with me, saying, “you better find something better to say instead of indulging in wrong predictions”.
I observed that gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Alhaji Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi, was a wrong candidate from Kwara North, having being picked from Edu local government area. I had projected that the axis of the PDP flag-bearer would not be a smooth ride for Governor AbdulRazaq and APC as the Nupe-speaking community would queue behind their own.
Unfortunately, checking the governorship and state House of Assembly elections’ results released by the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in the state, the outcome did not smile to him, indicating that he was even nowhere to be found in his country home. I predicted that Alhaji Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi would be defeated in his Edu-Pategi axis, which had come to pass. Governor AbdulRazaq has now beat him to stupor in his geographical enclave. This is pretty bad for him. So, Yaman could not demonstrate he owns his territory by winning Edu-Pategi axis and indeed Kwara-North?
I initially suggested PDP should pick its governorship candidate from Baruten-Kaiama area to counter the influence of the incumbent Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Engineer Yakubu Danladi Salihu and Senator representing Kwara North, Senator Umar Sadiq. But it is obvious now that if PDP picked its gubernatorial candidate from there, it would still be trashed and crushed. Governor AbdulRazaq really punched Yaman Abdullahi in the entire Kwara North. How come? Also APC won all the State House of Assembly seats in the senatorial district. Not even one was conceded to PDP or any other opposition party in the area.
Sadly, in my analysis of Kwara South in the piece, I wrongly predicted Social Democratic Party, SDP, and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, would win the senatorial election and some House of Assembly seats. I stated that our House of Assembly would be clearly polarized by lawmakers from PDP and SDP extraction from Kwara South. As fate would have it, only one PDP House of Assembly candidate scaled the hurdles from Odo-Ogun Constituency, Otunba Taiye Afolabi, defeating arrogant incumbent lawmaker, Atoyebi Musa. I credit the PDP Candidate for his doggedness in sending Atoyebi packing. Otunba Taiye Afolabi is a hero to be reckoned with having being the only PDP lawmaker-elect in the impending 10th Assembly in the state.
The question to ask is: Why is it that only Musa Atoyebi did not return among his peers, who secured return tickets? Well, that is the question crying for an answer. Also, I was surprised that the PDP Kwara South Senatorial Candidate, Dr Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, was not reelected. This is because he performed while serving as a Distinguished Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He had used his position to benefit a lot of his people. I am aware of his gigantic empowerment and employment opportunities he facilitated for his people. Can one say he contested under a wrong Political Platform?
Additionally, I am highly disappointed at the House of Representatives’ Candidate, Ifelodun/Offa/Oyun Federal Constituency, Saheed Adekeye Popoola of SDP for losing the election despite his outburst on Radio, So, this is the best he could offer? I am one of his chronic followers that was concerned about his election but his poor performance in the election raised a lot of unanswered questions. Similarly, the shellacking defeat of SDP Kwara Senatorial Candidate and former Special Adviser to the Governor on Health caught my attention. I never knew he would be this easily beaten to the ground. It should be noted that for Governor AbdulRazaq to have cleared Kwara South is an indication that he is quite political juggernaut, a leader of repute.
My initial prediction was that Kwara Central would be shared by PDP, APC, YPP, NNPP. Fortunately, nothing to share as the Governor earned substantial votes from his home senatorial district alongside all House of Assembly candidates in the four Local Governments within the central. The emergence of Turaki of Ilorin, Mallam Saliu Mustapha as the Kwara Central Senator did not come as a surprise. The Senator-elect had wetted the ground and it is expected that he would walk without falling by the way side. He has demonstrated high level of benevolence to the people.
The Turaki can be best described as a booster for the APC with the love and affection of the people of Ilorin Emirate for him and coupled with Governor AbdulRazaq sterling performance in office. These factors largely led to the victory of the unknown House of Assembly and House of Representatives candidates in Kwara Central. It should be noted that the poor outing of former Commissioner for Education in the state and ex-Minister of Youth and Sports was envisaged as he is perceived as a political figure with no impact on the downtrodden in the Emirate and the state as a whole.
Even my humble self as an ardent fan of Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi got disappointed in his outing. Abdullahi is a vibrant journalist whom many cherished and looked forward to emulate but he was obviously overwhelmed with Mallam Saliu Mustapha’s spending-spree posture to better the lots of his people. The saying out there is that “If the former Minister had assisted some people, as Commissioner for Education, and later Minister of Youths and Sports, such would have worked for him.”
Sincerely, as a lover of BJ, as Mallam Abdulganiyu Bolaji Abdullahi is fondly called, it has been reliably gathered that he has to embark on aggressive humanitarian gesture to win the love of the people. Huge number of ordinary indigenes of Ilorin people do not know him and those that know him do not like him. It is trite to appeal to him to be more accessible to people to correct the wrong impression about his personality.
Social Democratic Party House of Representatives Candidate, Alhaji Abdulganiyu Cook Olododo, slugged it out with famous politician, Alhaji Abdulwahab Issa and Alhaji Yinka Aluko. It was initially projected that either Alhaji Cook Olododo of SDP or Alhaji Abdulwahab Issa of PDP would win the battle of Ilorin East/Ilorin South Federal Constituency election due to their street credibility and acceptability. Consequently, Alhaji Abdulwahab Issa credibility was anchored on his performance during his first time of representing Ilorin-East-South Federal Constituency between 2007 and 20011.
Whenever Wahab Issa’s name is mentioned, the expression that often follows is “Wahabi Issa is a good man”. He provided job opportunities for people when he was there.” Unfortunately, the House of Representatives seat was won by Alhaji Yinka Aluko. Alhaji Aluko popularly referred to as Esho is just a beneficiary of Governor AbdulRazaq and Mallam Mustapha’s unbeatable positive contributions to Ilorin Emirate and the state at large.
To lay facts bare, the people of Ilorin Emirate are saying Alhaji Yinka Aluko does not deserve the House of Representatives seat he won. He was able to sail the shores on the popularity of Governor AbdulRazaq, Mallam Saliu Mustapha and the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu. Esho has been in government for about 20 years now (date back to 2003 when he was the Special Adviser on Security to former Governor Bukola Saraki for 8 years, he retained same position for two years under former Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and later served as Special Adviser on Special Duties to the incumbent Governor AbdulRazaq for about three years) without any meaningful impact on the people.
Another person worthy of note is a young and dynamic Muktar Tolani Shagaya of APC, who won his first attempt as a contestant to the House of Representatives. He is to represent Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency. Fortunately, I didn’t doubt his victory. I predicted he was going to dwarf his closest challenger, Alhaji Ibrahim Ajia of PDP, which had since become a reality. Some even asked who would vote for that small boy as they were unaware he is a small boy with resounding intellect. A lot was said against the innocent Muktar Tolani Shagaya but his haters are now disappointed.
Muktar Shagaya’s first shot at political scene was realized as a result of his numerous empowerment programmes and indeed close relationship with the people, though, Alhaji Ibrahim Ajia is a young and coolheaded individual, who had served the nation as a Police officer prior to his resignation to join politics. But findings showed that he was affected mostly due to his affiliation with Saraki political dynasty. Alhaji Ajia is also a philanthropist in his own right.
It should be emphasized that Governor Abdulrazaq’s political strength was doubted owing to the crisis of supremacy that erupted in his party after the 2019 gubernatorial contest, which led to the exit of some APC bigwigs to other political parties. Surprisingly, a few days to the governorship election, Governor AbdulRazaq wooed huge number of opposition to his camp.
It got to a stage that people were asking: how was the Governor able to attract strong members of opposition such as Waziri Yakub Gobir of Young People’s Party (YPP), Senator Sulaiman Makanjuola Ajadi of ADC and Alhaji Abdulwahab Issa of PDP to support him for his reelection bid? With the just concluded governorship election’s permutation, Governor AbdulRazaq has proven his worth as a silent grandmaster of Kwara politics.
When APC crisis in the state was at its peak, some people thought the conflict would consume him unknown to many that Governor AA is a very calculative political strategist, who has broken the jinx of winning his first and second term elections with no intervention of a godfather. No political godfather in Kwara State can claim Governor AbdulRazaq’s victory. This could be attributed to his achievements across the state. Governor AbdulRazaq sweeping the entire 16 local government areas of the state is a testimony to his spread of good governance across the state.
It is enamoring to see Governor AbdulRazaq visiting some members of opposition like Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulraheem of NNPP and Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, and for extending hands of fellowship to them. The statesmanly act and spirit of sportsmanship of the governor are highly commendable. The governor is therefore urged to redouble his effort in ensuring good governance and transparency in the state. Truly, for him, “one good turn deserves another” and we have given him another mandate again to further consolidate on his first term achievements.
Also, the three Senators, six House of Representatives members and 24 House of Assembly members that triumphed in the polls should see their victory as a clarion call to serve the entire people of Kwara State. Their election does not call for merry-making but time to reflect on the determination of the people that stood under the terrifying hot sun to cast their ballots for them. The electorate should not be taken for granted by delivering on their campaign promises. Any empty promise noticed from any elected official will be instantly treated with disdain. No room for deceitful actions in Kwara anymore.
Saheed Abdullahi is of Radio Kwara, Ilorin