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Saturday, November 1, 2014

Hajia Bola Shagaya's Attempt To Force Favoured Aspirant As Guber Candidate Causes Crisis In Kwara PDP.

There is a growing disquiet in kwara state over conducts of business woman, Hajia Bola Shagaya.

The state's chapter of the People's Democratic Party that is.

The details are reproduced as sourced.

As the jostling among gubernatorial aspirants of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State reaches fever pitch, the aspirants are becoming wary that their fate would not be determined by their popularity, wealth or ability to successfully prosecute a gubernatorial campaign but by a woman close to the seat of power: Hajia Bola Shagaya, businesswoman and famed friend of the First Lady, Dame Patience Jonathan.

In fact, the quest to whittle down the number of aspirants and select a PDP consensus candidate is being spearheaded by Hajia Shagaya who though she holds no official party position, but is grudgingly regarded as the unofficial party leader with the powers to summon the aspirants to late night meetings where she impresses on them why there should be no primary election to select the PDP candidate.

This has raised the suspicion of not a few of the aspirants who accuse her of trying to impose her favourite and former Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) gubernatorial candidate, Dele Belgore, as the candidate of Kwara PDP.

In the last 10 days, the Senate President, David Mark, PDP Chairman, Adamu Muazu and Shagaya have met with PDP gubernatorial aspirants from Kwara State like Gbemi Saraki, Abdulrahman Oba, Isa Bio Ibrahim, Suleiman Ajadi, Jani Ibrahim, Rasak Lawal, Kale Belgore, Dele Belgore and seven others.

The Nigerian Times understands that the aspirants were asked to drop their gubernatorial ambitions, and promised juicy positions when President Goodluck Jonathan is re-elected next year.
Oba and Ajadi, who recently resigned their appointments as head of Federal Character Commission and Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, were assured that they will be returned to their positions once they drop their ambition and back Dele Belgore who Shagaya told them is the candidate of the Presidency, it was learnt.

But all the aspirants, except Dele Belgore, who would have been the beneficiary of the consensus arrangement, insisted on primaries. Reliable sources told the Nigerian Times that all pleas by Mark and Shagaya for this arrangement fell on deaf ears and that the insistence of the other aspirants for an open primary probably forced the party chairman Muazu to back the candidates’ demand for a free and fair election.

All the candidates are expected to assemble at the Senate President’s residence early Thursday morning for a final meeting.

Shagaya became the face of Kwara PDP after the exit of Bukola Saraki to the All Progressives Congress. When Bolaji Abdullahi left as Kwara representative in the Federal Executive Council, all the candidates represented by Kwara PDP as replacement to Abdullahi were rejected the Presidency. Even Gbemi Saraki, who had the support of Ijaw elder statesman Chief Edwin Clark and Chief Tony Anenih, did not get the job.

It was Abubakar Suleiman, the candidate of Shagaya who got the job.

Like Shagaya, Suleiman is new in politics. A lecturer at the University of Abuja before his appointment, Suleiman is largely unknown in Kwara politics. In an election year when juicy appointments ought to go to politically suave people, the choice of Suleiman was seen by political observers as PDP scoring an own goal.

After successfully making Suleiman a Minister, Shagaya’s next project is to pick her candidate as the PDP flag bearer in Kwara. Her first choice was a director in NNPC from a prominent Ilorin family.

The young man who previously worked in the power sector was assured that his job with NNPC would be waiting if he loses the election.
He was enthusiastic about the offer and his friends began pasting posters all the over the state. He was said to have backed out because of whopping monetary demands that were allegedly made on him.

The favoured man is now Dele Belgore, but the choice of Dele Belgore could be another own goal, political analysts say. He just recently decamped to the PDP. Secondly, it is said that he does not have strong structures in the state. One major factor for this being that after getting a lot of sympathy votes in 2011, he left the state until recently when he joined the PDP.

Some Kwarans are also clamouring for a power shift. The people of Ilorin, who have a smaller population when compared with Kwara South and Kwara North, have been in government since 1999. The first governor from 1999-2003, Governor Lawal, is from Ilorin, his successor, Bukola Saraki 2003-2011 is also from Ilori

Abdulfatai Ahmed, the incumbent may come from Kwara South, but many see his government as Bukola Saraki’s third term. While most people in the state call Bukola Saraki Governor-General, General Overseer or Leader, Ahmed is popularly called CLO (Chief Liaison Officer).
Some analysts believe that if the PDP wants to win the state, their gubernatorial candidate must come from either the South or North that has not tasted real power since the beginning of this republic and that Kwara PDP can repeat the Ekiti story, where all the aspirants went for primaries and Ayo Fayose won both the primaries and the election.

Observers wonder too that if Dele Belgore is not popular enough to win the PDP primaries, and want his political godmother Shagaya to impose him on the party, then he will probably fail again at the general election like he did in 2011 when he was imposed on ACN by Bola Tinubu, Babatunde Fashola and Lai Mohammed.

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