By Mumini Abdulkareem
The race for a return ticket among Kwara National Assembly members got keener last night, following the picking of nomination and intent forms by the affected lawmakers.
Kwara State has nine legislators; three senators and six members of the House of Representatives, representing the three senatorial districts of the state.
In the race for the Kwara North senatorial ticket, it was gathered that the incumbent and former governor of the state, Alhaji Muhammed Sha’aba Lafiagi may not be making a return to the Senate after completing his two-term of eight years in line with the local zoning arrangement.
A top source said the district is very strict on local zoning arrangement and it was rumoured that the lawmaker is also eyeing the gubernatorial seat in the state in line with the agitation coming from the region.
It was however not certain last night whether the lawmaker picked up the gubernatorial form which is reportedly closing tomorrow.
In Kwara South, the race in the PDP appears to have been narrowed between the incumbent Governor Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed and the incumbent Kwara South Senator, Dr Rafiu Ibrahim.
Any doubt about Governor Ahmed and Senator Ibrahim’s uncertainty to run for the office was cleared when reports of their collection of intent form surfaced on social media last week.
Although, Hon Peter Makanjuola, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has also indicated interest and collected the intent form, his aspiration is likely to be consumed by the interest of the two ‘heavy weights’ who have both stepped up campaigns and stakeholders meetings to shore up support for the ticket.
Although Senator Ibrahim who hails from Oyun and whose supporters have campaigned with the slogan “Lekan Si” (One more term), is one of the most popular politicians presently in Kwara judging by his performance, the interest of a sitting governor in the seat may likely alter the narrative and tilt it to the side of the latter.
But as things stand now, a source who spoke on the issue said with the seriousness both of them attached to the project, the leadership of the party may settle for consensus to avoid holding primaries.
For members of the House of Representatives in Kwara North, the declaration by former commissioner for Information, Hon Zakari Mohammed from Baruten for the seat of governorship has knocked him out of the race coupled with the fact that zoning arrangement may not also favour him.
In the Patigi axis, the interest of three-time House of Representatives member, Ahman Bahago Patigi in the race has also reportedly removed him from the race.
Patigi was among the early campaigners that the ticket should be zoned to Kwara North and has since stepped up campaign for the top seat.
In Ilorin South/East Federal Constituency in Kwara Central, the incumbent and former commissioner for Works and Transport in the state, Hon. Abubakar Amuda Kannike has purchased the intent form for a return but he is being challenged by the former House of Assembly member, Hon Nimota Aduke Ibrahim from Ibagun ward and former commissioner for Water Resources, Barr. Abdulrazaq Akorede among others.
Also likely to tilt the scale from that constituency in Ilorin South are former SUBEB boss, Alhaji Lanre Daibu, commissioner for education, Bilikisu Oniyangi and Omar Gambari.
Although there are agitations that the slot should still rest in Ilorin East, the narrative may not favour the incumbent whose representation have allegedly been questioned by core politicians in the constituency.
In Kwara South, the return of Hon Funke Adedoyin as representative of Irepodun/Ekiti/Isin/Oke-Ero Federal Constituency is still not guaranteed though this medium gathered that she has picked the intent form. Though the lawmaker was rated high on road project, there was however mumbles over stomach infrastructure.
Already eyeing the seat of Adedoyin is the former commissioner for Environment, Otunba Taiwo Joseph and the state Secretary of the PDP, Christopher Ayeni, among others,
While Irepodun had served 12 years before with Gbenga Makanjuola and Bashir Oni, the four years tenure of Akeem Ayedun (Isin) was cut short in 2015 following the emergence of Adedoyin, hence the agitation by the people of Oke-Ero.
In Ilorin West/Asa Federal Constituency, a source claimed Atunwa who is believed to have collected his intent form may be returned.
Among those interested in the seat of the Atunwa, Chairman, House Committee on Judiciary and Justice are many indigenes of Ilorin West.