29th September, 2010
Opposition has continued to mount against the PDP stalwart and godfather of Kwara politics, Olusola Saraki following the endorsement of his daughter, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, as governorship hopeful for the 2011 election.
Saraki wants his son, Bukola to hand over to Gbemisola in 2011. Bukola has been governor of Kwara State since 2003 and will complete his second term in May 2011.
BukolaÂ has opposed his fatherâ€™s decision, saying justice, equity and fairplay dictate that someone who is not a member of the Saraki family should be allowed to take a shot at the seat.
As an apostle of zoning, Governor Saraki believes that it would be morally wrong to support his sisterâ€™s quest in view of the fact that Kwara Central has been in the saddle for the past 12 years including his own eight years that will expire in May, 2011.
Muslims in the state are praying against a woman emerging as governor of the state next year.
On Saturday, 18 September when Saraki was endorsing his daughter at his Olorunsogo partyÂ office in Ilorin, Muslim clerics under the aegis ofÂ SupremeÂ Council for Sharia in Nigeria led by Sheikh Imam Masâ€™ud Ibrahim, organised a special prayer against a woman becoming the governor of the state.
The prayer was held in Kuo on the outshirts of Ilorin, the state capital.
In its reaction, the Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, in the state, in a statement issued by its Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Isiaka Danmairoma,Â dissociated itself from the purported endorsement, affirming that the party guidelines are clear on the issue of picking a fla bearer for the party.
While assuring all other aspirants not to lose sleep over the development, Danmairoma said there would be primaries for all aspirants at a later date and that the party would provide a level playing ground for them.
The Chairman of the Action Congress of Nigeria,ACN, in the state, Prince Sunday Fagbemi said what is happening is purely a PDP affair, believing that since Gbemisola is a member of PDP, she has every right to contest on the platform of the party.
The only worry, he said, is the fatherâ€™s plan to force his decision on PDP members.
Though the development may not be strange to PDP members in the state, he said it is very strange to reasonable members of the public.
Believing that Kwarans will not allow that to happen, Fagbemi said that the people of the state are yearning for change while the ACN is the alternative government in waiting.
According to the leader of The Kwara Patriots, TKP, an umbrella body of major opposition political parties in the state, Chief Wole Oke, the development is an affair of PDP and Sarakiâ€™s dynasty, saying at theÂ appropriate time, the opposition parties will decide and present a consensus candidate to face PDP at the polls.
It is a matter of time, he boasted, for the PDP to be dislodged in the state.
On Saturday, 18 September 2010, Olusola Saraki formally endorsedÂ Gbemisola to succeed her brother, Bukola as the next governor of Kwara State in 2011.
Announcing the endorsement at his Olorunsogo party office in Ilorin, Saraki said his choice of Gbemisola was because he wanted somebody that he could trust to be the next governor of the state, having been betrayed by those he had assisted to become governor of the state at one time or the other.
According to him, Bukola has neither disappointed him nor the people of the state, believing that Gbemisola, his own daughter, would also not disappoint and would sustain the landmark achievements of her brother, Bukola.
â€”Stephen Olufemi Oni/Ilorin