The ‘Ó tó gẹ́’ Movement of 2019 in Kwara, which led to the outright defeat of the Saraki-anointed candidates, has made the political tussle and guber race in Kwara State a more open contest. The present Governor, Mallam Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, who won the APC governorship ticket in the state unopposed, will have to slug it out with three other contenders. The other top candidates are AbdulHakeem Lawal of the Social Development Party (SDP), Shuaib Yaman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and Oba Shuaib AbdulRaheem of the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP).
Surprisingly, these four contenders for the number one seat in the state partook at the APC primary in 2019. Perhaps, the presence of all these political gladiators in the APC in 2019 was one of the reasons for the easy victory of the party against the age-longed Saraki Dynasty.
- Drop Your Egos and Give Nigerians a Viable Third Force
- Aspirants That Gave the Top 5 Remarkable Speeches at the APC Presidential Primary
- 2023 Presidential Race: Many Aspirants, But Six Contenders
Gov. Abdulrahman was accused of turning his back on many of the party loyalists who worked for his success at the poll in 2019. Many party members who expected inclusive governance were aggrieved at the Governor’s style and left the party for the SDP. In contrast, some residents of the state are pleased with the Governor for shutting the door of power against individuals that took politics as a profession.
Moreover, the implementation of the minimum wage by Abdulrahman in the state has given him a good position in the book of many civil servants. The Governor, who is from Ilorin (Kwara Central), recently got an endorsement for his second term bid from the Emir of Ilorin.
AbdulHakeem Lawal of the SDP, the son of the former governor of the state, Muhammed Lawal, is widely loved among his people. He is an indigene of Ilorin. The candidate of NNPP, Oba Shuaib, is also from Ilorin. Moreover, Bukola Saraki, the leader of PDP in the state, has a large chunk of his supporters across Kwara Central; he will prove his worth by getting votes for his candidate, Yaman. Apparently, each of these candidates will share the votes of Kwara Central, which has the largest voting population in the state.
The son of the soil factor will work in favour of Yaman in Kwara North. The people of the Kwara north have long been yarning to rule the state. While some northerners will want the actualization of their dream on Yaman’s ticket, others will love to wait for Abdulrahman to complete his tenure and then have one of theirs take over on the platform of the APC. The Speaker of the House of Assembly, Hon. Danladi, from Kwara North, will be out to prove a point.
The Kwara South, which has none of its sons as a top contender in the guber race, will be a hot battlefield for politicians in 2023. Kwara South covers seven out of the sixteen local government areas in the state; they include Ekiti, Oke-Ero, Offa, Ifelodun, Irepodun, Isin and Oyun.
The top parties are aware of how strategic the votes from the south could be. PDP nominated Hon. Gbenga Makanjuola is a known political figure in the south as the running mate to Yaman, while the APC already has its guber running mate, Kayode Alabi, from the south. Grassroots mobilization will largely determine who gets the largest share of the votes from the south.