AbdulRazaq to face five others in Kwara governorship race

Date: 2023-01-12

Contestants in the forthcoming governorship election in Kwara State have been trying to outdo one another to canvass the support of the electorates. Many of the contestants have been engaging in mutual accusations and counter-accusations to make their candidates popular. Others are resorting to bare-faced lies and pernicious propaganda to ruin the chances of their opponents.

The most visible parties so far in the ongoing electioneering campaign are the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC); the main opposition party, the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP); the New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNDP), the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the Young Progressives Party (YPP). Another party in serious contention for the Kwara governorship seat is Labour Party (LP).

The flag bearers of these are Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq (APC) who is seeking reelection; Alhaji Shuaib Yaman Abdullahi (PDP); Prof Shuaib AbdulRaheem (NNPP); Hakeem Lawal (SDP); Waziri Yakubu Gobir (YPP) and Abubakar Basambo (LP).

In the opinion of keen watchers of Kwara State politics, however, the election would be a straight fight between AbdulRazaq’s APC and the PDP, which is trying to stage a comeback to power in the North Central state. The PDP’s bid to return to power is being propelled by former Senate president, Bukola Saraki, who has been in the political wilderness since the last general elections in 2019.

The APC appears to have a slight edge in the contest because the opposition is fragmented and weak. Three of the candidates vying to govern the state this time around — those representing the YPP, the SDP and the NNPP — were key members of the coalition that brought the current government to power, through the “otoge” movement. They would have been in a better position to grab power if they had joined forces with the main opposition party, the PDP. Besides, three of them — i.e Prof Shuaib AbdulRaheem, Hakeem Lawal and Waziri Yakubu Gobir — are from Kwara Central senatorial district with the current governor.

Thus, the odds appear to favour the ruling party.


AbdulRazaq is banking on the general acceptability by the vast majority of the masses, who will be swayed by his sterling performance in the last three and half years. The unusual simplicity and humility he has brought to governance is also another advantage. Another factor that will work in his favour is his close relationship with the Kwara Central APC senatorial candidate, Mallam Saliu Mustapha. The legendary philanthropic gesture of Mallam Mustapha has, over the years endeared him to the people, especially his senatorial district.

The governor is confident of victory at the polls. At the close of last year, he insisted during a political engagement in the state that the Saraki political dynasty is clinically dead. He said the abysmal collapse of the PDP, not only in Kwara, but elsewhere in the country is responsible for the constant appeal to other parties to join forces with it ahead of the forthcoming election.

AndulRazaq’s words: “The PDP leader is now the one canvassing for membership. In the heydays of the dynasty, anyone intending to join their party would be told to go and start from a lower level. Now it is the leader of the dynasty that is pleading with other political parties to join them in wresting power from the APC. It shows we are a formidable force. We are on top of them.”

The governor also took another swipe at other opposition candidates, when he questioned the basis of their confidence to take on the ruling party at the polls. He wondered why a party like the PDP should have the temerity to contest the election when most of its chieftains should be answering to the different charges of financial malfeasances committed while in power.

Expressing the same optimism, the APC chairman, Prince Sunday Fagbemi recently said with a gusto that the APC would win the forthcoming election with a wider margin, compared to that of the last general elections in 2019.

On the frosty relationship between Governor AbdulRazaq and Information and Culture Minister, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Prince Fagbemi said there is a difference between governance and partisan politics. He added that Mohammed is still a member of the APC. He said: “The minister is our leader and he is still part of us. He has never said that he’s no longer part of us. He will participate in the election with us. The closer you look, the lesser you know as it concerns the APC in Kwara.

“Never mind, by the time elections comes you will see that we’re going to win by a bigger margin than what happened in 2019. There’s no cause for alarm.”

The Director-General (DG) of the party’s campaign council in the state, Abdullfatai Yahaya Seriki has also confidence that two governorship candidates and some other candidates from opposition parties will soon rejoin the APC. He said the defection of some APC members to other parties, such as the YPP and the SDP would not hurt the chances of the governor in the coming election. He said the ruling party is already working towards wooing these former party chieftains back to the fold.

The DG of the Kwara APC Campaign Council, Abdulfatai Yahaya-Seriki said the party is a family with a peculiar internal mechanism for resolving issues. He said: “If you could recall, I was director general of the APC campaign council in the Kwara Central senatorial district in the 2019 general elections. Many of these people that defected from the APC didn’t participate in the election campaign then. You see, all these people in the YPP, the SDP etc we’re part of one big family and are related one way or the other. In 2019, I approached about 13 governorship aspirants then on the need to present one person among all of us as the party’s governorship candidate.

“The major reason they are not in APC today is because of their interest or expectations which according to them might not have been met. My interest is to see a better Kwara State. If they believe in the growth of the state, they would not have left the party. Kwara is bigger than anybody. Leaving the party, to me, is out of personal interest and not that of the state.”

The campaign council spokesperson, Florence Olasumbo Oyeyemi attributed the growing number of traditional titles being bestowed on the governor across the three senatorial districts as a signal of his victory at the poll. She described Governor Abdulrazaq’s recent turbanning as the Sadaukin Lafiagi by the Emir of Lafiagi, Alhaji Muhammed Kudu Kawu, as an affirmation of his sterling performance since his emergence in 2019. She called the gesture “another uncommon feather to an illustrious cap”.

Mrs Oyeyemi said the honour reflected the governor’s acceptance by the state’s revered traditional council and a demonstration of his imminent re-election based on popular support and widespread approval. She said: “Any student of history in Kwara State knows that the Lafiagi Emirate is not given to the act of just awarding titles just for the sake of it. The governor’s turbanning as the Sadaukin Lafiagi was preceded and informed by a deep reflection on his outstanding leadership performance and strong contributions to the growth and development of the emirate, and indeed the entirety of Kwara State, since his emergence.

“It was yet another remarkable affirmation of the governor’s exemplary statesmanship and a demonstration of his broad acceptance and popular support. He is known, supported, and admired by all, including our highly respected traditional rulers who remain powerful voices of the people down to the grassroots.

“No one who experienced the tragedy of yesteryears in Kwara State would deny Governor Abdulrazaq’s performance or vote against his re-election. He has redefined leadership in the state and the evidence of his excellent stewardship is both seen and felt across the nooks and crannies of the state. We congratulate our leader, even as he continues to bag more endorsements and remove any doubt on what is now a glaring fact that he will be returned to continue his excellent service to the state next year.”


Alhaji Shuaibu Yaman Abdullahi is banking on the old glory and influence of the Saraki dynasty to get the governorship seat. Abdullahi hails from Kwara North senatorial district, which has been playing seconding fiddle since the advent of civil rule in 1999.

But, the AbdulRazaq administration has employed divide-and-rule tactics to ensure that he gets the backing of the electorates in Kwara North. For instance, scores of stakeholders from the zone who have been involved in governance in the last three and half years have been campaigning for the governor in the zone because they want him to complete his two terms of office.

Some of them equally contend that the resolve of Senator Bukola Saraki to zone the governorship slot to the area was a Greek gift. The Saraki camp is confident that it will wrest power from the APC government. It insinuated that the APC-led administration has been an unmitigated disaster with no visible developmental stride to show for it.

Its Campaign Council DG, Prof Ali Ahmad said: “That Governor Abdulrazaq, after three years in office, would keep dragging Dr Bukola Saraki who honourably left the seat of governor almost 12 years ago, is an eloquent testimony to his cluelessness. Mallam Abdulrazaq has spent three and a half years in office as a governor but rather than roll out his achievements in office, he keeps waving a train that has long taken off. Isn’t this a diversionary tactic to take the minds of the electorates off his inability to commission a single project, even after three and a half years in office?

”While the governor may be pardoned for his knowledge deficiency, his handlers may not enjoy the same privilege; as they need to work on him before any outing so that he may be properly guided on what to say.

“To educate the governor, Saraki has the unenviable record of one of the most prosecuted public officers in Nigeria. The fact that he was never found wanting testifies to his snow-white record of service; too clean for any latter-day governor to seek to rubbish.

“The statement credited to the governor rubbished the integrity of the EFCC as an anti-graft agency and UBEC as an intervention agency. If Dr Saraki, who didn’t enjoy immunity as president of the Senate, could not be sued then what about now that he’s not occupying any political office? The governor is just pained that he has failed to find inroads with the current leadership of the commission as he did with the disgraced former EFCC boss, Magu.

”Rather than the incessant reckless vituperations, he should be transparent enough to tell Kwarans what he has achieved with the humongous billions of naira he has borrowed and looted. Not only that, he should equally be bold enough to tell Kwarans where the 16 local governments’ monthly allocations have been going since there are no legally elected council chairmen and counsellors at the moment.

“Let the governor be reminded that Senator Bukola Saraki is not a candidate for any political office in the next election. The governor should therefore be lectured that pretending to attack him will not translate into any electoral fortune. The loss of the 2019 elections didn’t symbolise the end but a rejig of the dynasty. The governor is certainly exhibiting the traits of an emperor whose reign is numbered by weeks and is left with no clue on how to save himself.”


SDP’s candidate, Hakeem Lawal is the son of the late Governor Mohammed Lawal. He is banking on the remnants of his father’s supporters and followers.


The YPP flag bearer, Waziri Gobir is the founder of the Yakubu Gobir Foundation. He is also optimistic about his track record to win the election. He has some following amongst some disgruntled members of the APC. His campaign revolves around his non-governmental organisation, “Alanu Mekunu”.


The LP candidate, Abubakar Basambo is a former student activist. He is not known in Kwara political cycle. He was once a legislative aide to Senator Bukola Saraki.



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