The All Progressives Congress (APC) primary election to select the flag bearer in the forthcoming Kwara Central Senatorial poll appears to be a three-horse race considering the political figures who have indicated interest.
Of the three contestants, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, a former APC national Chairmanship aspirant, Ambassador Yahaya Seriki and Senator Ibrahim Oloriegbe, a winner is expected to emerge later today.
The winner will proceed to bear the flag of the All Progressives Congress in the 2023 Senatorial election and stand a chance to represent the Kwara Central Senatorial District, comprising Ilorin West, Ilorin South, Ilorin East and Asa Local government areas, in the red chamber.
Fresh Insight, in this analysis, X-rays the standing of the three politicians who have locked horns and their chances of winning.
In the build up of the election, the clamour to zone the office to Ilorin East/ Ilorin South was heightened to the extent that some stakeholders threatened to boycott any party who hands its ticket to a candidate outside the two local government areas.
This, as a factor, favours Mustapha and Seriki, who are from Ilorin East Local Government, and may thwart the chances of Oloriegbe, who is from Ilorin West.
This newspaper understands that the division in Ilorin West, where Oloriegbe hails from, may also pose a setback to his ambition.
This newspaper has reported how a group of Ilorin West Stakeholders have been at the front burner of the campaign to cede power to other marginalised local government areas, saying that Ilorin West has held the position since 1999.
Also, the Otoge campaign in 2019, left the impression that an incumbent official cannot be certain of reelection and this, analysts say, may play out at the primaries.
The quest for fresh ideas may work against Oloriegbe, who is not only believed to have performed below expectations but has been outshined by other aspirants in the past weeks.
For instance, Saliu Mustapha’s Multi-million naira Empowerment programme, some say, came at the right time and won the hearts of so many in the district. This is also coupled with the fact that Oloriegbe’s previous shot at an empowerment scheme was met with protests and criticism.
On the level of popularity, Saliu Mustapha enjoys a large following that cuts across the different parts of the states and different cadres of the society.
Being a title holder in Ilorin Emirate gives Mustapha an edge over other contestants and his ward-to-ward campaign in the past weeks gave the impression that he is not only loved by the high and mighty but also the proletariat. This street credibility might count at the primaries and affect the outcome.
Apart from the aforementioned factors, some of the delegates have decided to throw their weights behind Saliu Mustapha, following the outcome of the national Chairmanship contest.
Recall that Mustapha was one of the aspirants who stepped down from the race, following the approval of a consensus candidate in the person of Abdullahi Adamu. This act, many opine, shows a high level of political maturity and sportsmanship.
Although the contest may be tight and witness some skirmishes, this newspaper projects that Saliu Mustapha will garner over 50 percent of the total votes.