By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
Political crisis looms in the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State’s South senatorial district over who will pick the senatorial ticket of the zone come 2019. Although, the current occupant of the seat at the National Assembly, Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim has not declared his interest to seek re-election, but his body language shows that the senator is seriously interested in a second term. His intention to seek re-election may be as a result of his performance since he was elected into the senate almost two and half years ago.
But, some stakeholders in the senatorial district, who believe that the senator had not performed to their expectations, have commenced moves to seek his replacement come 2019, so as to bring more socio economic development to the senatorial district.
This opposition to the return of Senator Ibrahim to the senate started recently, and one of such plans, according to THISDAY investigations, was the purported move to seek his recall from the National Assembly for alleged under-performance and poor representation.
Senator Ibrahim is the Chairman Senate Committee on Banking and Financial institutions.
He was once a member of the state House of Assembly, representing Oke-Ogun state constituency in Oyun Local Government Council of the state from 2009-2011. This followed a bye-election conducted to replace the former lawmaker representing the area, Rafiu Lambe. He was also a member of the House of Representative, representing Ifelodun/Oyun and Offa Federal Constituency of the state from 2011- 2015 and was elected as the senator representing Kwara South senatorial during the 2015 election.
However, the current maneuverings and politicking in the senatorial district, according to THISDAY checks, may not be unconnected with the alleged interest of the incumbent governor of the state, Abdulfatah Ahmed to seek election into the Upper House in Abuja after the completion of his two terms of eight years as governor in 2019.
Governor Ahmed hails from Share in Ifelodun Local Government Area of the state, which is within the Kwara South senatorial District.
The development has created a sort of division within the stakeholders in the Senatorial District, especially among youths, students, women, political leaders and this has snow-balled into a cold war.
THISDAY further investigations revealed that some stakeholders loyal to Senator Ibrahim, believe that it would be morally okay for him to seek re-election to complete his two terms of eight years in the senate like Governor Ahmed.
They said further that the alleged interest of Governor Ahmed in the senatorial ticket was “affronts” and “selfish”, as he is currently enjoying his two terms of eight years as governor of the state and should be magnanimous enough to allow Senator Ibrahim to seek re-election come 2019 in order to allow him complete his own two terms of eight years in the senate before seeking for such position.
The stakeholders also said that the governor had once served as Commissioner for seven and half years before he was given the governorship ticket in 2011.
The other stakeholders said to be loyal to Governor Ahmed were of the opinion that the current representation of Senator Rafiu had not brought effective and positive development to the people of Kwara South and that it was high time a replacement was made, so as to bring socio-economic development to the area.
They also said that they needed a person that would be loyal to the Senatorial District instead of being loyal to any individual person, in order to advance the course of the area for positive development.
These were the views of the various stakeholders in the zone until recently when the political situation in the area took another dimension, following petitions to the Senate and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) seeking the recall of Senator Ibrahim, by a group which called itself Kwara South Unity Forum that is said to be in support of Governor Ahmed.
The petition, which was issued by the group, dated 13th November, 2017, addressed to the National Assembly and INEC, was received by the two appropriate quarters and dated 14th Nov. 2017 and 17th Nov. 2017 respectively. The petition was titled, “Notification of our Dissatisfaction with the Representation Being Provided by senator representing Kwara South Senatorial District in the National Assembly in person of Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim”.
The president of the group, Mr. John Adegboye, at a press conference held in Ijagbo, in Oyun Local Government Area of the state, alleged that Senator Ibrahim was no more fit to be at the national assembly because of his alleged inability to represent the Senatorial District well at the national assembly and for under-performances.
Adegboye alleged that, “It is nothing but a violation of our human and democratic rights. Let it be made clear that we are in the 21st century. The current system of representation we are experiencing under Senator Ibrahim is archaic, demeaning, dehumanising and also unacceptable. We are no longer under the pre-colonial dispensation where there is indirect rule.
“In almost three years, where are the federal projects Senator Rafiu Ibrahim attracted to Kwara South? Where are the federal appointments obtained through his efforts? Although, there are few he will wish to show, but when the number is compared against those of Kwara Central, you will realise that our senator has handed over our birthright to his boss.
“This is why Senator Rafiu Ibrahim continues to dismiss our elders and insult our common patrimony by telling them that he must first consult with his boss.
“We the people of Kwara South are appalled by the fact that a man whom we unanimously elected as a senator to represent us in the 8th Assembly, has now openly declared that he has ‘boss’ other than us the good people of Kwara South that he takes directives from.
“It is therefore under this circus that the good people of the Kwara South today decide to intimate the generality of Nigerians about our intention to recall him.”
Reacting to the group’s intention, some students under the auspices of National Association of Nigerian Students and the National Association of Kwara State Students (NAKSS) passed a confidence vote on the senator.
Also speaking with reporters in Ajase-Ipo, Irepodun Local Government Area, the state Chairman of NANS, Comrade Abdulkadir Aliyu said the senator was a man of the people and father of Nigerian students in the constituency.
Aliyu added that the sensor’s leadership qualities and open door policy had endeared him to the students.
He said this can be attested to by the construction of relaxation centre for University of Ilorin students, students’ empowerment scheme, renovation of Offa Township Hall, free SSCE and JAMB registration. Others are sponsorship of students’ programmes, scholarships, free vocational training.
“Without iota of doubt, we are convinced that his leadership deserves a great applause,” he added.
In his reaction, former transition implementation chairman, Irepodun Local Government, Kashim Adekanye described the planned recall as cheap talk.
Adekanye added that: “Anybody can decide to say what he likes. I am aware the senator has brought another developmental project to this constituency. And in our party, the All Progressives Congress, we have our leaders that we are following.
“All of us, the followers of Senate President Bukola Saraki, are united under that banner. My general advice is for both parties to engage in dialogue to resolve their differences if there are any.”
Regardless, the final decider of who picks the ticket of the Kwara South Senatorial District, come 2019, still resides with the political leader of the state and Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.