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What is way out of Kwara PDP crisis?

Bravo01

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The Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State is still reeling from the all-round defeat it suffered in the last general elections when the late Dr Olusola Saraki’s dynasty was demystified in the North-Central state.

But, former Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki who is the leader of the party has taken the defeat in his stride. The maverick politician, according to analysts, has gone back to the drawing board to re-strategise for future elections.

Though the cruising defeat shook the Saraki dynasty to the bone marrows, party members, loyalists and supporters have started picking up their pieces ahead of the next general elections in 2023.

After the defeat, Saraki popularly referred to as ‘leader’ by his political associates and supporters, made a historic return to Ilorin, the Kwara State capital after some months of political hibernation abroad.

His grand entry into Ilorin in November last year emboldened members and supporters of the party who had suffered rejection and abandonment since they lost power in 2019.

Senator Saraki was in the town for the 8th year memorial prayer of his late father, Dr Olusola Saraki. As soon as news filtered in that he was on his way to the capital, a mammoth crowd of supporters and well-wishers besieged the Ilorin International Airport to welcome him back home after such a long while. His homecoming was the first visit to Ilorin since he left office as Senate President in June 2019.

During the visit shouts of “idera de” (comfort has returned) rented the air, as his supporters chorused along Ilorin International Airport road and adjoining roads in the metropolis.

Human and vehicular movements from the popular Garin Alimi area, Sawmill road and other communities leading to the Emir’s palace became Herculean task as supporters of the former Senate President besieged the area.

Most streets in Ilofa GRA, the residence of the Saraki family was a beehive of activities, as a crowd of supporters milled around to welcome their political leader back into the town, dressed in customized T-shirts and caps, with such inscriptions as “Saraki we love”, “o su wa”, “ABS-Saraki”.

The 8th year fidau prayer was held at the Sarakis’ Ilofa, GRA residence, Ilorin.

Other dignitaries present at the event included the Minister of State for Transportation, Gbemisola Saraki, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, the state PDP chairman, Kola Shittu, former Acting National Chairman, Alh Abubakar Kawu Baraje and former Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad among others.

Clerics at the event made a veiled reference to the difference between the All Progressives Congress-led government and when the PDP was at the helm of affairs.

The return of Saraki on the fateful day was like an omen that the former Senate President would bounce back in 2023.

The Chief Imam of Ilorin, Sheikh Mohammed Bashir Solihu led the prayer session. He was supported by the Grand Mukadam of Ilorin, Sheikh Sulaiman Dan-Borno, Sheikh Saanu Sheu and Imam AbdulRazaq Aduagba.

The clerics, in their separate sermons admonished parents to bequeath love, good moral and religious teachings to their children. SheikhBashir said that the late Saraki touched lives in all parts of the state and beyond through his philanthropic gestures and that the late politician lived an exemplary life.


 

The clerics said that the Fidau prayer should be part of the obligations of every responsible children to their late parents, adding that it attracts reward from God because it is what God loves and commanded.

Chief Mukadam of Ilorin, Sheikh Sulyman Dan-Borno expressed gladness over the presence of both Senators Bukola Saraki and Gbemisola Saraki, at the event.

He said: “We hold it that with your togetherness, love and unity, people will not see the secret of Ilorin. Late Olusola Saraki planted goodness, peace, prosperity, in all parts of the state. And people benefitted therefrom. We are assured that Saraki is happy in his grave with what is happening among the children and the people he left behind.”

Also, Imam AbdulRazaq Aduagba said the people of Kwara are happy with the children of the late political icon, adding that “Saraki was a symbol of love “.

The cleric urged people to discourage bad publicity against Bukola Saraki, saying that Allah has His ways of controlling affairs of life. He added: “We can all see the difference in what happened before and what’s happening now in the political situation of Kwara. Our people, should therefore, change their ways to love one another. Let’s forgive ourselves and accept God’s ways. “

During the visit Saraki, who refused to speak to reporters, was overheard saying in hush tone that his absence was like a premiership league break. “The holiday is over,” he added.

One thing that Bukola Saraki has going for him ahead of the 2023 elections is his legendary generosity. Another thing is the disenchantment of a section of the popilace  against the AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq administration.


 

 
Also Saraki’s open demonstration of the ‘crisis is over’ with his sister, Gbemisola, is another plus to his political calculus.

Some political pundits are insinuating that his sister might woo him back to APC, thus returning him to national political limelight.

However, the PDP is not leaving any stone unturned, as it prepares for the 2023 governorship election in the state. Accordingly, the party is trying to map out strategies to launch itself back to reckoning in the next election cycle.

As a demonstration of this, the party led by its state chairman visited the scene of Jebba tanker explosion which occurred some days to Christmas last year, killing six people and destroying scores of properties. The incident, which occurred in the early morning around 8:00 am was said to have destroyed properties worth hundreds of million naira.  Six deaths were also recorded during the inferno.

Addressing some of the victims and representatives of Jebba Youth Vanguard  at the scene, after assessing the situation, Shittu said the party came to sympathise with all affected families, especially those who lost their relatives and to convey the message of the party’s leader Senator Bukola Saraki to the people of Jebba who are going through a difficult time.

He said: “This is quite sad and unfortunate; we are here as a party and on the directive of our leader Dr Bukola Saraki who regarded Jebba as his second home to conduct an on-the-spot assessment to see the level of damage done and we can assure you that we will deliver a well-detailed report of what has happened here and you will all hear from us soon.

“We have been taken around and we have also seen for ourselves, the level of damage. This is a setback the economy of Jebba. It is quite unfortunate that the state governor and his team have come here earlier but nothing has been  done to put all these burnt factories, residential  houses and shops to life again. The government ought to know that many people earn their living from here and such people deserve an urgent and timely response from a government which controls enormous resources than any individual.

“The coming of the governor to this place should not be just a photo-opportinity but should be about impact. Yes, the governor had come but what impact has his coming offered the victims?  Why is there no disaster and emergency rescue team in place since Wednesday. Rather, the people are the ones removing debris themselves. Where are the firefighting machines the government claimed to have procured with huge taxpayers fund? Are they meant to keep the office warm or rescue our people in times like this? As a party, we are not comfortable with how the government has been taking issues that affects the welfare of our people with levity.

“From what we have seen here, six lives were lost to this incident, shops were razed down,  a rice mill, fashion industries and many factories were gutted down and yet the government has failed to send a disaster management team to address the situation. After the last rainstorm which occurred in Ilorin and some parts of Kwara North senatorial district, which left many people homeless and ruined businesses, it was only when our party addressed a press a conference that the governor rushed to the scene. All these point to the fact that the government is not responsible for the plight of citizens.”

Speaking to The Nation on the seeming silence of the party since its defeat in the last general elections, Shittu said that the party has been visible, vibrant and playing its roles as the major opposition party in the state.

He said: “If you say the PDP has not been visible, it means you have not been following our activities. We are very active. We have been in the news on daily basis. Where the present administration has not been performing we always highlight it. We have been playing our role as an opposition. We don’t just criticize, we point out the anomalies for the administration to adjust for the overall benefit of Kwarans. That is what we have been doing.

“The PDP appears not to be visible because there is no election around the corner. We are working internally to ensure that our members are happy and to ensure that we mobilise people more to join our party. By the time an election is about to take place — let say local government election — that is when you will see the visibility of party members all around the places.

“We have always been commenting where necessary. We have talked so much about missteps taken by this government in power. Like the illegal dissolution of the local government council; unfulfilled promises to the electorate; non-implementation of the minimum wage, etc. We have been talking. Unless you want us to go violent.

“As much as we don’t want to distract the government, we have been pointing out steps that they need to take in certain areas. We have been doing that with patriotism, decorum and decency in order not to heat up the polity. We don’t need to antagonize. We don’t need to abuse.”

Shittu urged the Governor AbdulRazaq-led government to fulfil its campaign promises to Kwarans. He said: “The government should fulfill the promises he made to the electorate while campaigning. The promises include implementation of minimum wage to civil servants, youth employment, completion of certain projects in education and health, which they said they would finish within a year in saddle. They should complete the Kwara State University (KWASU) satellite campuses in Osi and Ilesa-Baruba in Kwara South and North respectively.”

Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, who represented Kwara South in the 8th Assembly told our correspondent that Saraki still wields enormous influence in the state politics. He added that Senator Saraki’s qualities as a good listener, philanthropist and deep connection stand him out in good stead ahead of subsequent elections.

On the 2019 elections, Ibrahim said: “It was out collective decision not to challenge the conduct and outcome of the 2019 general elections in Kwara State despite various and conspicuous irregularities, including the unlawful arrest of my person, two days to the election. The undeniable truth is that the elections were flawed by many electoral malpractices, manipulations and militarisation. The point is, if we had decided to challenge the whole election results, from senatorial downwards, I have no doubt we would reclaimed our mandate. But, we decided not to toe that path, and I am very pleased and happy with that resolution.

“Dr. Saraki is a man that Allah always uses to create and sustain the systems for the teeming masses of Kwarans and other residents. He dwells on the development of people across all spectrums. He has a huge knack for philanthropy, a trait which he obviously picked from his father, Oloye. This is what makes him thick, legendary and, of course, the major cause of the void in Kwara today.

“No one dares to compete with his philanthropism and politics because of his wide exposure in the management of human resources that he had exhibited  while serving as governor of Kwara State, as Senate president and other areas of endeavours that he has served.”











Source:

https://thenationonlineng.net/what-is-way-out-of-kwara-pdp-crisis/


 



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