Senator Bukola Saraki had until recently reigned supreme on the political landscape in his native Kwara State, easily shifting the political machine of the state from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to the All Progressives Congress, APC. Now, his immediate younger sister, Senator Gbemisola Saraki has taken control of the rival PDP in an unfolding game that will amaze many. Senator Bukola Saraki’s political dominance had become indisputable after the demise of his father, Senator Abubakar Olusola Saraki, the only Nigerian to have raised two senators from his household. Senator Gbemi Saraki who lost the 2011 governorship to the candidate handpicked by his brother had following the election taken a leave from the political field until recently when Bro. Bukola and his supporters including the governor decamped from the PDP. Since then, Gbemi who is said to have the ears of the national chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Mu‘azu and some in the presidency, is believed to be strategising on means and methods to overthrow her brother’s political machine in the state.
The ministerial appointment for Kwara which insiders claimed was initially slated for Gbemi was reportedly scuttled by other stakeholders in PDP who, it was learnt, did not feel comfortable with Gbemi getting the plum position just weeks after re-joining them in the party. Other stakeholders who are reportedly being considered for the slot include the Chairman, Federal Character Commission, Professor Shuaib Oba Abdulrahaman , Deacon John Dara, and Engineer Sunday Adebayo Babalola among many others. The grouse of those opposed to giving Gbemi a ministerial appointment and with it the leadership of the PDP in the state was that they could not after serving the late Oloye, serve his son and proceed now to serve his daughter. But with the political horse trading and intrigues that dogged the state congress of PDP held on April 14, 2014 which produced the current state executive under the chairmanship of Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo, a renowned lawyer, its has become clearer who is in charge of PDP in Kwara State. Gbemi who was a member of House of Representatives for eight years and Senator for four years gave a political master stroke in that congress underlying correct tutelage under her late father. Gbemi according to impeccable sources was able to get the majority of the executive including the chairman, Oyedepo, the secretary, Alhaji Alhassan Bamu and the state woman leader, Hajia Nimota Suleiman Oba Wankasi in an election the elder statesman Chief Barnabas Gemade and his team from the national headquarters of PDP supervised and declared as free and fair. Though a rival group in the party had proposed Mr. Bode Ojomu for the chairmanship under the aegis of what they dubbed the Freedom Group, the group, however, came to submission and pledge loyalty to the winners after some little protest about alleged irregularities. Oyedepo has since moved to assert the determination of the PDP to reclaim the state. Briefing newsmen recently, he said issues that had in the past divided the stakeholders including the recent congress have been put behind. “The great assignment of the rebranded PDP is to democratically capture political power in the state in year 2015 general election,” he said. “We are on a rescue mission and the vision is to provide good governance for the depressed and oppressed people of Kwara State”.“We equally have a mission to use the instrument of government to provide a platform of unity, love, fairness and justice in heterogeneous community of Kwara State” he stressed. But in a swift reaction, the Kwara State chapter of the APC dismissed the PDP and its plans saying that a party that ‘lacks capacity’ to conduct successful congresses cannot govern a state successfully. The APC in a statement by its publicity secretary, Alhaji Sulyman Buhari berated the PDP for displaying a glaring dearth of capacity to comprehend government achievements, including comprehensive welfare packages for workers in the state. It described the much talked about re-branding of the state PDP as a failed attempt to deceive the people of the state. “For the unlucky PDP, the people of Kwara State who PDP intends to hoodwink by claims of re-branding, do not need Mr Iyiola Oyedepo (the state chairman of PDP) to address any press conference before they know the true state of PDP. “Kwarans are well informed, no amount of non-existing claims or distorted figures or both can deceive them. As the two political parties buckle under the eagle eyes of the Sarakis, the electorates again will decide where the pendulum will swing when the time comes.