By Bernard Joseph
In the imminent gubernatorial race, the odds seem to be in favour of Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara State. As an incumbent, he has a clear upper hand over his rivals from opposing political parties. Additionally, the All Progressives Congress (APC) party’s remarkable performance during the February 25, 2023, presidential and National Assembly elections, where they claimed all three senatorial seats and six House of Representatives positions, provides an extra advantage to AbdulRazaq’s pursuit for re-election.
In the wake of the presidential election, which saw a resounding victory for the APC in Kwara, there has been an avalanche of political decamping from opposition parties to the APC in the state. The number of defectors has been staggering, spanning across the ranks of prominent and grassroots politicians alike. Moreover, Governor AbdulRazaq’s re-election bid has received massive backing from esteemed traditional rulers in the state, with several notable endorsements.
Kwara State Governor’s bid for a second term has been blessed by influential traditional rulers in the state, including the Emir of Ilorin and Chairman of the Kwara State Council of Traditional Rulers, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, as well as the Etsu of Patigi, Alhaji Umar Bologi II, and Etsu Patigi, Alhaji Aliyu Abdullahi Kpoto. These notable figures have shown their unwavering support for the Governor, endorsing his re-election campaign with enthusiastic fervor.
AbdulRazaq has also received endorsements from notable opposition figures, including Senator Sulaiman Ajadi, the senatorial candidate of the ADC, and Mr. Ope Saraki, the senatorial candidate of the NNPP, in the February 25, 2023 elections. Additionally, Aisha Ahman-Patigi, a former senatorial aspirant under the PDP, has also endorsed AbdulRazaq.
Besides the anticipated backing of traditional political groups, Governor AbdulRazaq has attracted support from unlikely allies, including the Kwara Artisan Congress, Okada Riders Association, and Tricycle Owners Association of Nigeria (TOAN).
Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, the chief of staff to President Muhammadu Buhari, commended Governor AbdulRazaq for his initiatives towards promoting economic development in Kwara State. He specifically applauded the timely collaboration between the state government and the UNDP on a cash transfer economic empowerment project, which he believes will positively impact the lives of the people and bring about significant changes in their destinies.
Senator Suleiman Makanjuola Ajadi, who ran for the Kwara South senatorial seat under the ADC party and was formerly a member of APC, made an announcement on Tuesday, March 7, 2023. He stated that he plans to collaborate with other progressive individuals in the state to ensure the re-election of Governor AbdulRazaq.
In a statement, Senator Ajadi expressed his belief that Governor AbdulRazaq is the best candidate to lead Kwara State in the next four years. The senator went on to explain that he and his team have decided to return to the APC, citing his aversion to the politics of zero-sum and perpetual bitterness. “My supporters and I have put the National Election behind us. We cannot be accused of not exercising our democratic rights. However, it is time to move on as democrats. Consequently, I am hereby directing my supporters to work conscientiously for the re-election of Governor AbdulRazaq,” Ajadi stated.
He added, “I also have the mandate of the majority of our candidates, especially those from Kwara South, to announce our return and collapse of our structures into the APC.
“Whatever the misgivings anyone may have, I have come to the conclusion that any vote against the Governor at this time would amount to setting our state back several decades,” he added.
Although once the ruling party in the state, the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) is anticipated to encounter a formidable contest in the approaching election. In recent election cycles, their fortunes have significantly dwindled, casting uncertainty on their capacity to attain triumph. Nevertheless, it remains to be observed whether their endeavors will be competent enough to pose a considerable threat to the incumbent governor and his supporters.
In spite of the difficulties confronted by the PDP, their flag-bearer, Mr. Shuaibu Abdullahi Yaman, a one-time lawmaker in the House of Representatives, has secured endorsements from various quarters, including the National Association of Kwara State Students (NAKSS). Nonetheless, his quest to oust the incumbent APC, which registered an impressive victory in the past presidential and National Assembly polls, will be an arduous task.
Bernard Joseph writes for Eko Hot Blog. This media platform reserves all rights to this article.
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