“I want to assure you that the PDP remains a united party in Kwara State under a collective leadership. Everyone is a stakeholder. No single man or woman shall be superior to the rest of us. No individual shall appropriate the collective commonwealth to satisfy personal desires and ego…”
The above excerpt was from a declaration speech by former Senator Gbemi Saraki sometimes in February last year when she and several thousands of her supporters formerly defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State. Over a year after, it is difficult to ascertain if Gbemi Saraki has regretted or is regretting ever joining the PDP or not. What is however not difficult to know is that for Gbemi Saraki and her supporters, it has been a hell of a ride in the PDP despite their appreciable number in the fold.
More than anybody else in Kwara PDP as presently constituted, Gbemi Saraki, right from the very day she declared for the party till this very moment, has had to contend not against the ruling elite that she so eloquently vilified in her declaration speech, but against her co-travelers in the PDP who are hell-bent in ‘destroying’ her and everything she represents, her father political dynasty inclusive.
To most discerning political pundits, the ominous sign began the very day she declared at the Arca Santa Centre Event arena in Ilorin. Apart from Gbemi Saraki and a few political paperweights who gathered at the crowded occasion, there was not a single major stalwart of the PDP’s caretaker committee at the event. Instead, the party chiefs, led by Mr. Solomon Edojah, the then controversial caretaker chairman of the PDP in the state, chose the poorly attended rally of the Special Adviser (SA) to the President on Ethics and Values, Mrs. Sarah Jubril. If that was not a ‘bad omen’ for Gbemi and her handlers, I wonder what it was. From that day onward, it had been one day, one attack, the most vicious coming from the state chairman of Gbemi Saraki’s own party, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo.
Oyedepo it was, in cohort with Hajia Bola Shagaya, who rallied other hypnotised lots like Oba Abdulraheem, John Dara, Suleiman Ajadi, Simeon Ajibola, Bio Ibrahim to oppose the ministerial nomination of Gbemi Saraki at that time. At the end of the gang-up, Gbemi’s nomination was stood down for the little known Abubakar Suleiman who ended up in the Ministry of National Planning. They all dusted Gbemi Saraki and gloated over it. Yet, Gbemi and her motley crowd did not see (or deliberately blinded themselves?) to the hand-writing on the wall. They thronged on, probably hoping that the storm was over. But no storm was over. In fact as events would later unfold, it was just the beginning of their woes in the PDP.
Then they started a serious psycho-media war, a war that was targeted at no other person than Gbemi herself. Day-in-day-out, Gbemi’s nose got bloodied by her own compatriots in the PDP. If Iyiola Oyedepo was not threatening the outright ‘destruction’ of the Olusola Saraki’s dynasty, he would be narrating how the dynasty had been ‘weakened’.
But he is not alone, Barrister Kunle Suleiman, an old horse whose only lifetime job is the opposition of the political family would soon join the fray with an explosive interview in the newsmailonline, dripping with anger and hate. From Kunle Suleiman to Mr. John Dara, Jani Ibrahim to Sarah Jubril, Professor Oba Abdulraheem and of course, the Minister of National Planning, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman, the barrage of attacks had been unstoppable. Unfortunately, even the president and leader of the PDP was not left out. President Jonathan, on one of his visits to Kwara early last year, right in the presence of Gbemi Saraki herself, promised to ‘liberate Kwara from the Saraki clutches’!
For Gbemi Saraki and her supporters, it must have been nothing short of suffocation in a party she had hoped to ‘build’ and ‘galvanise’ in tackling the arrays of problems confronting Kwara State. This is why I cringed the last time she was reported to have said she was not leaving the party. What the hell was Gbemi thinking for crying out loud? What is her source of confidence for staying-on even in the face of widespread opposition from within? These are the questions begging for answers from some of us who are genuinely passionate about Gbemi’s seemingly cloudy political future.
Views expressed are solely Author’s