Following the loss of the control of the federal power by the erstwhile ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) to the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC), Ilorin born high society woman, Hajia Bola Shagaya, has distanced herself from politics, a very reliable source told Global Excellence magazine.
Hajia Shagaya became the clear political leader of Kwara State PDP following the defection of the incumbent governor of the state, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed and the incumbent senate president and leader of Kwara politics, Senator Bukola Saraki to the APC preparatory to the 2015 general elections.
The fashionable socialite, Shagaya, obviously had strong links in the presidency but others who are experienced politicians and were in full control of political structures, however, had it easy to beat her to the game during the party’s congresses.
While Professor Oba and former governorship aspirant, Dele Belgore, operated as distinct teams, Rahman Razaq and Senator Gbemisola Saraki were in the same camp and the camp had upper hand in the composition of the state exco. The Organizing Secretary, State Secretary and the Woman Leader were the foot soldiers of Senator Gbemisola Saraki while she also threw her weight behind the PDP Chairman, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo.
In the scheming, Hajia Shagaya, we gathered, had no candidate and the only one she reportedly sponsored was Salman Jawondo whom she wanted as state secretary, and all efforts to make Senator Gbemisola Saraki to prevail on Hassan Razaq to step down for Jawondo proved abortive. Hassan later emerged the secretary while Hajia Shagaya was left with no slot in the state exco. Sources said that it was to avoid a repeat of that experience that Hajia Shagaya reportedly pushed for the idea of a consensus candidate that would have made it possible for her preferred choice, Dele Belgore to clinch the guber ticket.
In fairness, Hajia Bola Shagaya displayed good skill of learning the rope, as she successfully lured Oyedepo to her side and got him recruited as a fierce foot soldier. She didn’t stop there, said our source, she also got Rahman Razaq enticed with the promise of securing him a senatorial ticket. Concerted efforts were later made to frustrate Rahman Razaq’s ambition as he lost the ticket to Yinka Aluko with just two votes. The development led to the straining of relationship between Rahman and Gbemisola who felt betrayed by the oil magnate. Bola Shagaya and Senator
Gbemisola Saraki also had zigzag relationship while the senator was unhappy with the businesswoman for allegedly turning her to a rival. Gbemi also alleged that Hajia Shagaya it was who allegedly blocked her chances of becoming a minister.
One of the factors that also aid Hajia Shagaya’s quiet exit from politics, according to sources, was the uninspiring experience of her eldest son, Sheriff Shagaya at clinching the House of Representatives ticket to represent Asa/Ilorin West.
Sheriff, an in-law to former PDP national chairman, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, we learned, began nursing the reps ambition even before his mother emerged the PDP political leader in Kwara. The young man had branded bags of rice during the 2011 Sallah which he graciously distributes to people. Meanwhile, while Hajia Shagaya was working to get the support of Senator Bukola Saraki for the PDP ticket, things changed in her favour with Saraki defecting to the APC, leaving to remain as Kwara PDP leader.
The occupant of the reps seat Hajia Shagaya’s son was gunning for was Hon. Moshood Mustapha from Ilorin West and while the clamour for the zoning of the ticket to Asa increased, another aspirant, Abdul Goga, was also raised to fight for the ticket, making two candidates against Sherriff in Ilorin West. Goga contested against Fatahi Bakini in 2011 and a re-run had to be held before Bakini could secure final victory.
As the battle progressed, Hajia Shagaya reportedly paid visits to influential personalities in the constituency, seeking to have them back her son, while Sheriff also exploited her mother’s influence in the presidency to drum support for his ambition.
Sheriff eventually defeated a former commissioner, Saka Isemin from Asa who was endorsed as sole aspirant from Asa local government by the PDP delegates. However, Sheriff though won his party’s primary ticket, he lost to Hon. Razaq Atunwa of the APC on the election day.