In Kwara, it is a contest between two loyalists of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, for the Kwara South PDP ticket, Biodun Oyeleye reports
Kwara State governor, Alhaji AbdulFattah Ahmed, will to slug it out with the chairman, Senate Committee on Banking and other Financial Institutions, Dr. Rafiu Ibrahim, for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ticket to represent Kwara South senatorial district in the upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly. Although the winner of the ticket will be determined majorly by a consensus arrangement popular within the Bukola Saraki political structure, supporters of the incumbent senator are of the view that he has shown enough maturity, commitment and productivity within the system enough to earn him the nod of the structure.
Besides, Ibrahim is also said to be very close to Mrs. Toyin Saraki, wife of the Senate President whose input into the final decision cannot be taken for granted. But Ahmed’s supporters are also flying the same flag of loyalty, maturity and commitment to the structure as the very reasons why their man must be picked.
“Besides, if you look at the trend in Nigeria, what is the next most suitable for the governor if not the Senate?” one of his supporters argued during the week. Although both of them are said to have courted traditional rulers in their domain over the years, feelers indicate that Ahmed seemed to have secured the upper hand over Ibrahim among the monarchs.
Six of them, all first class traditional rulers, met with Saraki at his residence in Ilorin last week. Although the media was not allowed to cover the meeting, checks indicated that it was to seal the deal for Ahmed, the same way his second term deal was sealed in 2015. If Ahmed gets the ticket, Rafiu will have to be compensated by the structure according to insiders. But, it will also be a litmus test of his loyalty to the structure.
A source said: “He started from the state Assembly, moved to House of Representatives and then to the Senate all through the structure. Unlike Ahmed, he has not been faced with dire situations that tested his loyalty although we can’t deny the yeoman’s job he is doing on Saraki’s issue in the Senate. But compared with Ahmed, who has been tested and tempted by the powers that be to dump his leader since 2015, the readiness of the senator to drop his ambition if it comes to that will be his own test of loyalty.”
But, Rafiu’s supporters have consistently also spoken about the fact that Ahmed, unlike most if his colleagues, who joined the Saraki structure in 2003 has remained in the system, serving eight years as commissioner in very lucrative ministries and against odds, was picked as governor in 2011, giving him opportunity to serve for 16 years in government. “That is enough for him; he should go and rest,” they argued.
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