On Tuesday, the Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) concluded its list of candidates for the forthcoming local government election scheduled for November. In this reports, HEAD POLITICS, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM writes on some of the intrigues that played out leading to the conclusion of the exercise.
The Kwara State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) finally settled for its last candidate for the forthcoming local government election scheduled for November 18 in the state on Tuesday at the party’s secretariat Ilorin when it unveiled Abdulateef Gbadamasi popularly known as coach to fly its flag in Offa for the contest.
The unveiling of Gbadamasi followed the earlier announcement by the party of fourteen consensus candidates for the election that has attracted much media hype since the green light by the Kwara State Independent Electoral Commission (KWSIEC) few months back.
In a statement that was signed by the party’s publicity secretary, Alhaji Suleiman Buhari, APC noted “it has conducted primary election for “chairmanship and councillorship positions in the 16 local government areas of the State ahead of the forthcoming council poll.
“On Saturday, our party held free, fair and credible primary election across the local government areas in Kwara State.
“We are delighted to note that party members conducted themselves peacefully and the primary election held in the respective councils under peaceful atmosphere.
“Prior to the primary election, the party leadership had advised aspirants to consider the option of consensus arrangements and the party is pleased to note that many councils embraced the consensus option” except Baruten and Offa Local Government councils where the aspirants could not agree on consensus.
To this end, therefore, the party said it decided to conduct primary elections for the aspirants, adding that while primary election has been successfully conducted in Baruteen, the party is aware of some issues from Offa and wishes to emphasise that it is mandatory for all aspirants and stakeholders in Offa LG to strictly adhere to the guidelines of the party on the conduct of primary election.
The APC added that “With the successful completion of the primary process, the APC wishes to announce its readiness to contest and win all available seats in the forthcoming council election.
“The party is of the firm belief that our candidates are qualified, competent and highly-resourceful personalities that will drive developmental processes and interventions at the grassroots level. Therefore, we urged the good people of Kwara State to turn out en masse and massively vote for the All Progressives Congress in the forthcoming election”.
Against the backdrop of the party’s appeal for votes from Kwarans, the APC, according to analysts, where literally divided while the contest for who picks the party’s ticket lasted. It took the relocation from Abuja and intervention of the Senate President and leader of the party in the state, Dr Bukola Saraki before some of the aggrieved members could be pacified over what some of them termed imposition. They accused some party leaders of dropping the names of the Senate President and even Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed to further their own political interest in the choice of candidates for the election even outside their local governments. According some many of the party’s supporters, this is the beauty of the leadership qualities of the Senate President which has seen the APC’s growth and consolidation in past elections in the state. Some of them added that if not for leadership status of Saraki and how the leadership of the party has managed the issue, the local government election would have seen the APC going the way of the PDP.
It was gathered that some of the warring leaders and stakeholders had more than the issue of the local government election to contend with but had scores of aspirations for the House of Representatives to settle. In this regard many of the party leaders openly declared support for candidates from wards that had been highly patronised in the past in terms of political appointments against the party’s directive to pave way for their alleged National Assembly ambition based on the issue of zoning.
The situation was pronounced in the party in many of the local governments across the state except few were decorum had prevailed.
In Ekiti, there were accusations and counter accusations against some prominent members of the party for allegedly flaunting the directive of the leader and it took several meetings and even protests in some cases before some of these issues were finally resolved after the Senate President’s intervention.
The situation was not different in Ifelodun, where a prominent elder of the party was accused of perpetrating the stooge of a high ranking political office holder in the state who had operated in the council for quite a while.
According to an online report that went viral, “This is coming after the leader of the party in Kwara state; Senator Bukola Saraki has directed that internal democracy be allowed to reign within the party. It further accused the screening committee in absolute and clear disobedience to party leadership directives and constitution of the party that presented a rating in their report tilting on the side of the ally of a “local leader”.
Before the candidacy issue was settled in Baruten, some of the aspirants reportedly boycotted the rescheduled primaries due to alleged meddlesomeness of some of the influential leaders of the party. Same thing in Kaiama and other local governments that had witnessed pockets of discontent over picking candidates for the local government election.
In Irepodun and Offa, there were also some disquiet. In the case of the former, the leader of the party reportedly refused to pick their candidate after the leaders requested to demonstrate the spirit of internal democracy and the need to give everybody a fair and level playing ground.
Political analysts however believed the leadership of the APC in the state under Senator Bukola Saraki has demonstrated the capacity and resolve to accord the women and youth in the state a pride of place, especially when the not too young to run bill is gaining currency.
While the party appeared to have gotten over the hangover of some of these issues, vibes emanating from some of the party’s stalwarts may be coming at the right time to ensure everybody is carried along in the race of contest for the election come November.
Also, according to a member of the APC in Ekiti, Comrade Adio Friday Odunjo in a social media post, “having carefully and closely followed the process leading to the eventual emergence of flag bearers of the APC across the 16 local governments, I can’t but appreciate our growing political consciousness and maturity.
“More importantly is the large turnout of the Youth who stood up to be counted by slugging it out for the Chairmanship ticket, it is unimaginable and it has further confirmed the fact that Kwara youths are ready than ever before to take the front seat in governance in the state.
Odunjo appreciated Senate President, Bukola Saraki for the exemplary, accommodating and mentoring leadership displayed which gave the youth the confidence to go the all hog.
He added that the spirit of “sportsmanship” exhibited throughout the journey by all the aspirants will be strength in the days ahead. Unfolding event will present a clearer picture for whether the APC will become even more dominant in the state or shoot itself in the foot like the PDP, an option analysts say looks very unattractive.