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Kwara 2019: APC And The Search For A Running Mate By Dr. Olayioye


To every discerning observer of the politics of Kwara state, the beautiful bride today is Ifelodun Local Government Area. Not only because of its huge voting population among its peers in the state, but also due to the disdain which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has meted out to the people of the area. After almost eight years in the saddle as the Chief Executive of the state, Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, a citizen of Ifelodun LGA, was not deemed important enough by the PDP to be given a ticket to the Senate.

It is instructive to note that Governor Ahmed enjoyed an overwhelming support from his people when he contested in 2011 and was re-elected in 2015. Available and verifiable records showed that the voting population of Ifelodun Local Government is equivalent to that of three other Local Government Areas put together in Kwara South Senatorial District.

Expectedly, the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in its wisdom is looking in the direction of Ifelodun Local Government Area to pick a running mate for its governorship candidate, Abdulrahaman Abdulrasaq. Many analysts have described this as a good move. But many have also said it will work only if the party pick a grassroots mobiliser as its deputy governorship candidate from Ifelodun. So, there are many things to consider in arriving at that choice.

The need to put this in perspective became more important following the unfortunate media exchanges among the supporters of two chieftains of the party who are among those being touted for the top job. That the supporters Of Kayode Alabi and Kayode Abogunrin see the principals as fit for the job is not a bad thing, but they all must do proper checks to see if either of these two will deliver the most votes for APC in 2019 if chosen.

Apart from Alabi and Abogunrin, there are other APC chieftains being named as fit and proper for the position. One of such is another Kayode (note that both Alabi and Abogunrin also bear Kayode as first names). Kayode Oyin-Zubair, a young, ebullient and loyal foundation member of the APC in Kwara state is largely seen as the choice of the youths, not just of the APC, but also of Ifelodun as a whole. Like his two elders, Alabi and Abogunrin, Oyin-Zubair is eminently qualified.

Last Tuesday, the local chapter of the party rose from an enlarged meeting where it resolved that internal squabbles should be down played, so that the chance to produce a running mate will not be lost. Speakers took turn to express disappointment over what was described as lack of cohesion among the political class which has robbed the area of many things, including the creation of more LGAs.

“Ifelodun LGA was created in 1976 with Irepodun which today has given birth to 3 LGAs. We must be united now, than ever. This chance must not be kicked away again,  on the pedestal that, if it is not me, it can be anyone again. ” One of the speakers admonished.

However, persons interested in becoming the running mate to APC governorship candidate from Ifelodun LGA are not leaving anything to chance including strategic public relations efforts and media pushes.  As we hear, high level lobbying is now the order of the day. In all these, we beg those involves to put the interest oft he people of the area first and consider the very important need for APC to win the forthcoming election.

Watching from the sideline, the choice of a running mate is essentially a prerogative of the governorship candidate. The fact that Ifelodun LGA is the largest voting bloc in Kwara South Senatorial District does not really mean anyone from the area will enjoy the support of the majority of this voting population except he is widely acceptable to the people of Ifelodun.

Undoubtedly, Kwara APC is today a blend of the old APC stock and old PDP stock. The old APC members have variously been referred as foundation members. One can confidently say that the old PDP has had it so good and rosy since they joined the party in August 2018. According to records, they have the governorship candidate, 3 senatorial candidates, 5 House of Representatives slots and more than 20 House of Assembly candidates in their kitty already.

As a progressive party that thrives on fairness and justice, the APC and particularly its Governorship candidate, should without delay concede the running mate slot to the old APC/foundation members. This will not only cement the budding relationship in the party but also build trust amongst the amalgams. It will further help the party to garner more votes if a tested hand with extensive grassroots appeal is picked.

Such a personality must understand the local politics. A consistent progressive mind would be required at this time to pair Alhaji Abdulraham Abdulrasaq in his economic recovery drive for Kwara State. Without equivocation, Abdulrahaman Abdulrasaq needs a young, energetic and vibrant personality to assist him deliver his recovery policy thrust for the state. So, both Alabi and Abogunrin should urge their supporters to stop the face-offs and join in the search for this young man.

My appeal to the candidate is to take the bull by horn. The soft spot for Ifelodun LGA to run with him is the best consideration and the winning streak at this material time. What is left now is for him to get it right in the person to be chosen. The issue is beyond whether substitution can be done or not. The issue is largely about ensuring that the very right man is offered the chance to give Abdulrahman the needed support, especially in Ifelodun and Kwara south.

Dr. Olayioye writes from Ilorin

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