Amidst devastating Code of Conduct Tribunal ongoing trial, the President of the Senate has been enmeshed in another political brawl, but this time with some loyalists in his camp back home in Kwara State, News Punch understands
No doubt, even before the demise of his father, Olusola Saraki, Bukola had turned the godfather of Kwara politics, when he succeeded in installing Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed as Kwara governor against his father's wish to install Gbemi Saraki, his younger sister.
The tussle for the governorship of Kwara State has begun in earnest though the contest is still three years away.
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has always zoned the governorship slot to Kwara North, which has never occupied the post since the return to democratic rule in 1999.
According to Ripples Nigeria, the decision was taken shortly before the second-term election of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, who is from Kwara South.
Before him, Kwara Central had ruled the State for 12 unbroken years through Late Mohammed Lawal and Bukola Saraki. They were in charge from 1999-2011.
But the decision to zone the slot to Kwara North is already causing ripples within the APC and the political empire of Senate President, Bukola Saraki.
Investigations revealed that Saraki is rooting for 45-year-old Mohammed Zakari, so reported Ripples Nigeria
The Baruten/Kaiama constituency representative is on a second-term in the Upper Chamber. He is an avid supporter of the Senate President, who is said to be impressed by the extreme loyalty and vibrancy as the young politician.
The former journalist has been enjoying a cozy relationship with Saraki, fondly referred to as the Leader, in the State. But the tacit support for Zakari has pitched Saraki against former governor Senator Shaaba Lafiagi.
Lafiagi feels he deserves the slot naturally being the highest political holder from the zone.
The fact that he has occupied the governorship from January 1 1992-November 1993 under the defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) makes him feel more deserving of the slot.
Besides, he has told his supporters that he has more than proven his loyalty to Saraki whose father, Late Olusola Saraki, made Lafiagi governor.
Lafiagi and the elder Saraki fell out then after the former refused to pay ‘royalties’ as demanded by the Late former Senate Leader.
He later apologised after being in political oblivion for almost a decade, a development that earned him appointment in February 2009 as Chairman of the National Sugar Development Council.
He went on to head the planning committee for the April 20, 2009 Special National Convention of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) after being made a member of the party’s Board of Trustees.
Lafiagi, according to investigations, is prepared to fight Saraki to a standstill should he continue to back the much younger Zakari for the slot.
The Senate President, it was learnt, is indisposed to the Kwara North Senator because he is seen as too independent and might be difficult to control as governor.
Governor Ahmed is also at war with Saraki over the Kwara South Senatorial ticket.
The current occupant, Rafiu Ibrahim, is said to be keenly interested in another term, a development Ahmed considers an affront as a two-term governor.
Ahmed has told his supporters he deserves the right of ‘first refusal’ as a governor, especially based on his unalloyed support for the Senate President.
Though the tussle is still at a murmuring level in the party, competent sources informed that all the interested parties are unwilling to back down.
All of them curiously owe allegiance to Saraki, who is said to be seriously bothered about how to manage the ambitions of the big fishes in his camp come 2019.
The outcome of his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) will however determine whether or not the embattled Senate President will be in a position to pull his weight at the right time.