Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki is back on he drawing board, following the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) loss of last Saturday’s House of Representatives by-election in Ekiti/ Oke-Ero/ Isin/ Irepodun Federal Constituency to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The defeat has forced Saraki to plot new to ways to win the senatorial election in kwara South Senatorial District.
One of the options being weighed by Saraki is to prevail on Governor Abdulfatah ahmed to drop his senatorial aspiration for the incumbent Senator Abdulrafiu Ibrahim, who is believed to have more clout in the area than the governor.
It was not clear last night whether the governor would accept the decision of his godfather (Saraki).
Investigation conducted by our correspondent revealed that Saraki was disturbed by the defeat of PDP in some of his strongholds, especially in Ekiti and Oke-Ero local government areas.
According to findings, a post-mortem conducted by party leaders attributed the loss to alleged “waning influence of the governor among the electorate in the area.”
It was learnt that party leaders were devastated that the governor could not mobilise his fellow Igbomina/Ekiti people to vote for PDP.
One of the recommendations made by party leaders was that the governor should forsake his senatorial aspiration in the larger interest of the party.
Senate President made a shuttle to Ilorin to take charge of the situation.
Another source added: “Saraki has opened up discussions with the governor on why his candidacy cannot fly with the loss of Ekiti/Oke-Ero/Isin/Irepodun Federal Constituency.
“The results of the by-election have proven that ahmed is unpopular and PDP might lose kwara South Senatorial District to APC.
“Some voters claimed to have cast protest votes against the governor over salary arrears.
“The party has the choice of risking ahmed as the candidate and losing the district. With the way the ruling APC is waxing stronger in the state, PDP cannot afford such a luxury.
“If the governor lets off the senatorial ticket, it will now be conceded to the incumbent senator, Abdulrafiu Ibrahim, who is regarded as better electoral asset in the district than the governor.
“With the choice of Senator Ibrahim, the calculation is that he can match the APC candidate, Arc. Lola Ashiru who is rated as “formidable and a game changer.”
“Ashiru’s threat to PDP is real.
“Saraki has returned to Ilorin to re-strategise, reconcile with all those aggrieved over the outcome of governorship primaries and plan for the battle ahead.
“A big task at hand is how to clear the backlog of salaries of local government workers and lecturers in state colleges of education and other institutions.
“Except workers and pensioners are appeased, APC will win the state.”
Asked what Saraki might offer the governor in place of his senatorial ticket, the source added: “A likely ministerial slot if PDP wins the presidency. This is a safe deal.”
At press time, it was confirmed that Senator Ibrahim, who was in Lagos for the weekend, had been summoned to Ilorin for a meeting with Saraki today.”
But a PDP source said: “I think it is the governor who is trying to voluntarily forego his senatorial ticket, based on some political realities.
“ahmed has been a financial expert all his life. He has little or no exposure to politics. The only viable alternative is for him to step aside.”
When contacted, the State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Mr. Tunde Ashaolu, said: “There is nothing like that. It is sheer rumour.”