Real reasons Gov Ahmed dropped Senate ambition
By Romoke W. Ahmad,
The governor of Kwara State, Dr Abdulfattah Ahmed, who was the Kwara State Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate for the Kwara South Senatorial district in the 2019 elections recently dropped his ambition for the incumbent Senator Rafiu Ibrahim to serve second term in the Senate amidst speculations that all is not well after recent defections led by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
There have been series of arguments over the real reasons behind the governor’s decision to cede the seat to Senator Ibrahim, prominent among which is the defeat suffered by the PDP in the recently conducted by-election to fill the vacant post in the Irepodun/Isin/Oke ero/Ekiti federal Constituency.
It was gathered that the Senate President and National leader of the PDP, Dr Bukola Saraki, who is also the political leader in Kwara State told the governor and other candidates contesting under the PDP to work hard and make sure that their party wins the by-election which he said would be the determinant of 2019 outlook, failure of which will affect the governor’s ambition.
Although, the PDP was quick to deny a media report that there is a panic in the party over the decision of Saraki to substitute Ahmed with another candidate over the fallout of the by-election and that Ahmed is under pressure to withdraw from the Kwara South senatorial race as a result of the aftermath of last Saturday’s by-election in Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin/Irepodun federal constituency.
“This is totally untrue, ridiculous and a deliberate mischief orchestrated by some unscrupulous elements and political jobbers who are bent on causing confusion within the party and among our leaders. For the avoidance of doubt, there is no tension or whatsoever within the fold of the PDP in Kwara State and there is no pressure on Governor Ahmed to drop his senatorial ambition because of the outcome of the recently held by-election in the State.
“The party however, notes that there are ongoing consultations and pleas by leadership of the Ibolo axis of Kwara South, where the current senator representing the senatorial district, Dr Rafiu Ibrahim, hails from, for the party’s senatorial ticket to be retained in the axis in the interest of fairness and equity in the distribution of political offices within the district.
“It is instructive to note that these consultations and pleas preceded the November 17 by-election and are based on the understanding that the Igbomina and Ekiti divisions of Kwara South had produced senators who served two terms in the Senate as opposed to the Ibolo division whose representative had only served one term.
“This was the sole observation raised by the stakeholders during all their consultative meetings with the national leader of our party and Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed and other leaders of the PDP in the State,” the party said.
Despite the denial, it was however gathered that Saraki got angry over the governor’s failure in his assignment to win the by-election which was a bad omen for the party in the coming election because with APC winning three out of the four local governments in the constituency, there is no way PDP can win in the seven local governments that made up the Senatorial district since there is every likilihood that Offa local government will vote for the APC candidate who hails from there.
It was also believed that Senator Rafiu Ibrahim is more popular in the district and has contributed emersely to the lives of the people which gives him upperhand and the fact that Ahmed will be serving for 16 years at the end of his tenure as governor of the state having served 8years as the commissioner for finance during Saraki’s tenure as governor, the position that is considered as second to that other the governor.
The fact that the governor will also enjoy pension for life as a two term governor and other benefits as well as securing a bigger appointment at federal level hopefully if PDP wins are some of tenable argument that the governor was confronted with before he agreed to cede the ticket to Senator Rafiu Ibrahim.
Governor Ahmed’s Senior Special Assistant On Media and Communications, Dr Muhideen Akorede confirmed that consultations had been going on within the political family to consider the request by the leadership of the Ibolo division of Kwara South, from where the current Senator, Rafiu Ibrahim hails from, for a second tenure at the Senate
He clarified that the cinsultations and request of the Ibolo leaders preceded the November 17 bye-election in Irepodun/ Isin/ Ekiti/ Oke- Ero federal constituency.
He added that the ongoing consultation was based on the view that the Igbomina and Ekiti divisions had successfully served two terms in the Senate as opposed to the Ibolo division whose representative had served only one term in the Senate.
While describing the last by-election as a farcical exercise marked by voter intimidation, widespread disenfranchisement and the use of security agencies against PDP supporters and members, Akorede quoted the governor to have said that the result of such a disputed election could, therefore, not have formed the basis of a review of his candidacy for the Kwara South Senatorial elections.
“Governor Ahmed assured that PDP will win the general elections in the state as the people of Kwara have resolved never to allow such harassment by security agents again,” Akorede added.
The insinuation that things have fallen apart between Saraki and Ahmed may also be true because of statements credited to both of them after the ticket was given to Ibrahim.
Political observers however noted that Ahmed was never a popular and acceptable candidate for the post by many PDP stakeholders but accepted grumbly when Ibrahim was forced to step down for him before the primary election where he was affirmed as the candidate of the party.
This they said was a sacrifice made by Senator Rafiu for the good of the party which later hunt the party because since emergence of Ahmed there have been insinuations that he may not win the election which was later confirmed by the outcome of the by-election.
The agitation and pressure from the people of Kwara south which resulted in the protest votes during the by-election made him feel embarrassed, which led to his withdrawal.
Daily Trust on Sunday also learnt that the money meant for mobilisation for the election got into wrong hands which are people who are said to be loyal to the governor. Some of them were said to have ran away and switched off their telephones but lied that police harrassed and arrested them.
The outcome of the election also shows the party leadership that the governor is not in charge of the Senatorial district which was a litmus test set for the governor after he was given the ticket.
However, amidst these dramatic moves, there are speculations that Gov. Ahmed is planning to move elsewhere.
However, Dr Muideen Akorede who is the governor’s SSA media, told the Daily Trust on Sunday that the governor will not leave PDP.
“He is not going anywhere; the governor is committed to PDP and will work for its success,” he said.
On the rumoured plans of the governor to see President Muhammadu Buhari next week, Dr Akorede said “The governor has right to see the president whenever there is the need to do so; this is irrespective of any political reason,” he said.
Credit: Daily Trust