By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu
When the outcomes of the senatorial elections started to appear, three weeks in the past, and it turned apparent that Bukola Saraki had been completely defeated by his previous nemesis, Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, lots of his social media rats, in addition to even editors of mainstream Nigerian media institutions, launched a pre-planned offensive. Their strategy was a scientific dis-information challenge that was determined, even at that late hour, to persuade the Nigerian public, that their “walking-bank-balance”, was profitable the elections.
As ordinary with Bukola Saraki and his hangers-on, the state of affairs of our individuals in Ilorin and Kwara state, was merely an inconvenient backdrop to his over-arching political ambitions. However this time, their plot had taken a dead-on-arrival journey to the morgue of Nigerian politics! Bukola Saraki had actually been skinned alive by the individuals of Ilorin Emirate (Kwara Central Senatorial District). Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe gained by 123, 808 votes, to Bukola Saraki’s 68, 994!
The jubilation that adopted the announcement of the outcomes (and at some extent everybody was apprehensive that it was not going to return, as a result of the outcomes for Ilorin West and Ilorin South took a frighteningly very long time to be returned!), was as deafening because it was most liberating. Arguably, probably the most unpopular particular person in modern Nigerian politics, had lastly gotten his comeuppance! Nigerians rejoiced throughout our nation and thanked the individuals of the Ilorin Emirate for exorcising the political monster, that had used a doubtful Senate Presidency, to hamstring the packages of the Buhari Administration, from the time he constructed a coup in June 2015, which earned him the poisoned chalice that the eminent seat turned, in his arms. Not solely did Bukola Saraki lose the seat, the individuals of our state ensured that the opposite two senatorial seats in Kwara North and South respectively, have been additionally gained by the APC, in addition to the six Home of Representatives positions. Final weekend, the ultimate nail was knocked into the casket of the Saraki Hegemony in Kwara State. Bukola Saraki’s PDP misplaced the governorship in addition to the 24 seats within the Kwara State Home of Meeting. It was a rout; a whitewash and the definitive finish of a doubtful, monstrous and extremely boastful hegemony, that systematically underdeveloped Kwara State; which was constructed as an elaborate fraud and a platform of heist that had no parallel in Nigeria’s political historical past.
The roots of the Saraki hegemony successfully went again to 1979, when their patriarch, Dr. Olushola Saraki entered Senate and was Senate chief (however we’d even date the roots to some years earlier, with the oblique elections into the Constituent Meeting, and his lively participation within the Nationwide Motion that ultimately reworked into the NPN within the Second Republic). The Saraki Hegemony was instrumental within the emergence and removing of six Kwara state governors: Adamu Attah; C.O. Adebayo; Sha’aba Lafiagi; Muhammed Lawal; Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatai Ahmed. They hamstrung every governor; imposed controls and usually made life troublesome for every one in every of these governors, apart from just one. And that one, was Bukola Saraki, who ran the state, on the peak of the powers of the hegemony, with an unusual vanity; disrespect for individuals and the values of our individuals and state, and who ultimately imposed a long-term sidekick, Fatai Ahmed as governor. Bukola Saraki had truly checkmated, for private causes of sibling rivalry and the necessity to shield his controversial Eight-year tenure, the temerity to aim to impose Gbemisola Saraki as governor, after serving for 12 years within the Nationwide Meeting as consultant after which Senator, representing a individuals she actually knew nothing about. And for the eight years that Fatai Ahmed was governor, 2011-2019, Bukola Saraki was successfully the Governor-Common of Kwara State!
The interval from 2003 to 2019, is arguably the WORST within the historical past of Kwara state. And central to those years was the conceited presence of Bukola Saraki. It was the interval that Kwara State acquired the very best ranges of allocation in our historical past because it was created in 1967, but, it was the interval which witnessed the execution of tasks that impacted little or no when it comes to worth, on the lives of Kwarans.
The sixteen native governments, between 2003 and 2018, received a complete of N298, 434, 186, 870. 78. From the Federation Account. But, for the previous few years, they’ve been unable to pay salaries of employees. The native administration is lifeless and most, if not all of the native secretariats, exist solely in identify. When Bukola Saraki took over in 2003, he dissolved the elected councils from the earlier Muhammed Lawal administration; and for the subsequent two years, Bukola Saraki was successfully the Sole Administrator, until 2005.
There isn’t a account of their funds until in the present day! The struggling of native authorities staff; the ruination of the executive buildings in addition to the utter destruction of the power of native authorities administration to influence upon the lives of individuals on the native degree, was truly one of many biggest crimes of the Saraki Hegemony in our state. That led to the huge drift of younger rural people into the primary city facilities of the state, however particularly Ilorin, the state capital. These survive as city lumpens, who reside marginally, as OKADA riders; recharge playing cards sellers, and are concerned in sundry petty crimes, to make ends meet. Many are on medicine and so much had been recruited into gangs, cults and political thugs that the Saraki Hegemony used to terrorise the state for the final sixteen years.
Any customer to Ilorin, would see how dysfunctional the town has develop into. There isn’t any improvement management and the hegemony has parcelled out each out there piece of land and bought, in a lunatic and determined seek for funds, after the state and native authorities allocations have gone down the drain on tasks intentionally cooked up to remove cash from our state. As for the State Authorities, it has taken over N600 billion from the Federation Account, but, there isn’t any facet of our lives that the Saraki Hegemony has not devalued, destroyed or bought. An elder of the group, Alhaji LAK JImoh, used the Agricultural Nursery by Oyun River Bridge, for instance, in a dialogue final yr. He reminded that it was the most effective nurseries in Nigeria. They created new species of fruits and crops and at some extent, they even developed a hybrid mango that got here from utilizing inventory from Burkina Faso. Individuals got here from throughout Nigeria to purchase these. Equally, Army Adminstrator, Peter Ogar, inspired improvement of a brand new number of pineapples on the nursery. However what did the Saraki Hegemony do? They bought the nursery; dismantled and bought your complete Ministry of Agriculture and associated establishments, which dated again to colonial occasions and the Northern Regional Authorities, and a spot the place, beneath the late Governor David Bamgboye, Eagle Rice; Hen and so many different meals merchandise have been bought at affordable costs. Alhaji LAK Jimoh stated the years of the Bukola Saraki Hegemony, 2003-2019, resemble an invasions of a group by Barbarian hordes of Antiquity! Rip-off was virtually central to each venture conceived from 2003-2019; none extra so, than the Zimbabwe Farm, which is a big scale heist. Big sums of cash have been expended; and when he imported cows for the farm, Bukola Saraki even arrogantly ordered all our First Class conventional rulers to the Ilorin Airport, to await arrival of his cows! Not a single product of that controversial farm enters the markets or houses of Kwarans, in whose identify billions of Naira have been expended. The native individuals misplaced their land to so-called Zimbabwean farmers, who entered our state with solely suitcases! But, the farm served the aim of taking away our assets, and nobody talks about them any longer.
Equally, loans have been taken in our identify to construct a SHOPRITE outlet on the land of the Kwara State Civil Service School. At the moment, it doesn’t belong to our state. One other aspect of the Hegemony, was bringing in individuals from different states to go very important insitutions; so Tope Daramola, who was stated to be Bukola Saraki’s Account Officer at Intercontinental Financial institution, was compensated with the place of Director of Bureau of Land in Kwara State; however following an outcry, the Bukola Saraki hegemony appointed the Ondo State indigene MD of the money cow referred to as Concord Holdings; the omnibus car by means of which Kwara funds are carried out as they wished. And for years, every time a minister was appointed from Kwara State, the SA was both Koye Sogbola or Kola Alagbada. These are sidekicks from Bukola’s days on the Societe Generale Financial institution! It’s also a part of the legacy of the Saraki Hegemony, it took down three banks: Societe Generale Financial institution; Commerce Financial institution and Intercontinental Financial institution. This can be a distinctive report in Nigeria’s political financial system! The obsession was cash that belonged to Kwara State and the way a lot might be alienated as the private assets of the Saraki Hegemony.
There’s a well-known story, that Kwara state is the one inheritance that Dr. Olushola Saraki bequeathed to the household. Bukola Saraki subsequently carried on with a way of entitlement, which defined the indefensible pension scheme that he crefted for himself. He was constructed a home, half of a road within the GRA; and there are tales round the home. He was stated to have rejected the home, preferring to be paid the large sum it was constructed for. Then a number of years later, the home was handed out to his household as a birthday current. A basic case of head I win, tail you lose! That may be a well-known story in Kwara, however the fact will come to mild solely with the brand new administration. Equally, there are the ALIMI LODGES, situated behind the Authorities Home in Ilorin. In 2010, Bukola Saraki was stated to have “renovated” them at a princely sum of One Billion Naira; and a yr later in 2011, they have been “monetized” for him, so the story goes, at just one hundred million Naira. However, as a result of, it was additional alleged, that the state authorities owed him some cash, the 100 million was allegedly then deducted to cowl the price! And to rub salt unto damage, Bukola Saraki obtained his sidekicks within the State Home of Meeting to maneuver a movement that the State College, constructed by his father-in-law’s development firm, be named after his father, Olushola Saraki!
I had questioned on the peak of that controversy, simply why Bukola Saraki gained’t present love for his father, by taking out of the large sums he made out of Kwara, to construct a personal college in Ilorin, and named after his father. It will have been social duty of the very best order. It’s because the Saraki Hegemony has NO ECONOMIC INVESTMENT well worth the identify, in any way in Kwara State. They solely ever TAKE OUT of the state!
Kwarans truly wizened to the rapacious nature of the Saraki Hegemony since 2011. Walahi, Bukola Saraki had been defeated even within the 2011 senate elections by Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, however doubtful numbers have been added from the Asa Native Authorities. In 2015, he benefitted from the President Muhammadu Buhari impact, to return to senate. That’s apparent, as a result of President Buhari acquired extra votes in Ilorin than Bukola Saraki. It meant that President Buhari gained in our group, regardless of Bukola, NOT due to him! So when he started to arrogantly declare that he was going to show the president politics, he in all probability didn’t add up the numbers, even within the constituency that he was supposedly representing in senate! In the long term, he was the one which was taught probably the most bitter political lesson; not by President Muhammadu Buhari immediately, however by the individuals of the Kwara Central Senatorial District, who noticed by way of his vanity; the 16-year systematic underdevelopment of the state, underneath his watch, and the way he behaved, as if he was doing us a favour, sitting atop our assets. He imposed people, typically from different states to run strategic establishments; they knew they weren’t deserving of these positions, so did solely Bukola Saraki’s biddings, to the detriment of the most effective pursuits of the state. They bought homes and establishments; devalued no matter they might not promote and in sixteen years, instituted a tradition of violence, medicine, cults killings, open and clandestine prostitution as their financial actions destroyed the material of household life in our state!
It was clear to Kwarans, that Bukola Saraki was truly a paper tiger, and one that would and can be defeated, in a free and truthful electoral course of. Individuals from different elements of Nigeria have been typically fixated of their evaluation of our state of affairs, seeing Bukola Saraki, and by extension, the Saraki Hegemony, as infallible. And who can blame them; they’ve seen the Saraki, PERE ET FILS, anoint and take away governors, senators, representatives, in addition to native politicians and potentates, for over a era, successfully from 1979 to 2019. However nothing lasts ceaselessly! The interval from 2003 particularly has seen a gentle evolution of the demography of Nigeria normally, and Kwara State particularly. Dr. Olushola Saraki, had a standard contact; he was the basic grasp of Nigerian prebendalist Nigerian politics; securing political prebends, and serving private or household curiosity, in manners that made individuals assume that he cared for them. He was additionally beneficiant with cash, and had a delicate nature that made individuals see kindness greater than ruthlessness. Not for Bukola Saraki. His begin and finish factors have been his self, and that insatiable urge for food for energy, as an finish to alienating monetary assets for himself. Ruthlessness was and is first nature, and even a smile that the Prophet as soon as described as charity, was and all the time is for him, a political weapon. He disrespects everyone and respects none; not our elders; not our Emirs; not our values and never our establishments. He calls individuals as previous as his father by first identify; and other people in his presence, have been anticipated to kneel down. He would fiddle together with his telephone or fake to be sleeping, when individuals talked to him. These for a chap who has no royal lineage of any type, and is only a second era nouveau riche! Riches, which sadly haven’t come from onerous work, however from being on the controlling levers of governance!
As I stated, demography was going to be his undoing. Whereas his father might guarantee a gentle circulate of previous ladies to his residence, those that infamously ate EBA and got WASO (Twenty Naira notes) often and would all the time vote for Saraki’s candidates. The development from 2011, was that youthful individuals have been turning into crucial think about our politics. That they had been educated, typically badly, within the faculties that Bukola Saraki and his successor allowed to run down; they more and more had entry to trendy communication devices and have been not content material to be youngsters of the 21st Century type of slavery that Bukola Saraki was presiding over. Additionally they had the benefit of entry to details about strides in improvement in neighbouring and distant states within the nation, which social media platforms allowed them to share round. The expansion of personal radio stations broke communication monopoly within the state, and the main lights of the opposition, resembling Iyiola Oyedepo, Rex Olaoye, Alhaji Alajagusi, as properly brave clerics like Dr Abubakar Aliagan and Dr Olohun Oyin, reached houses across the state, with analyses of how Kwara state was systematically ruined by the Saraki Hegemony. The ultimate, and I feel most essential issue, have been the individuals themselves. They’ve lived by way of the indignities of the previous 16 years and determined they’ve had sufficient. The primary present of power was within the November 2017 Native Authorities elections. The then opposition PDP defeated the ruling APC everywhere in the state. Bukola Saraki and his hangers-on panicked; they forcibly modified leads to a most untidy method, however that emboldened those that change was certainly potential and achievable! A brand new set of unlikely heroes emerged, the usual bearer of which was Musbau Eshinrogunjo. He gained the chairmanship of Ilorin West native council, which the Saraki clan claims as residence. Refusal to permit him take the chairmaship seat deepened resentment and spiked the novel resolve to finish the Saraki Hegemony!
The ultimate piece within the elaborate jigsaw was Bukola Saraki’s determination to go away the ruling APC, for the PDP. He arrogantly sealed his personal destiny. He forgot the lesson of his household’s longevity in politics: by no means abandon the celebration of energy within the middle. It’s that essential management of state energy, and skill to affect the electoral physique in addition to safety males deployed throughout elections, supplemented with their very own thugs, that has been central to the Saraki mythology of political management in Kwara state. So when his struggle towards the middle led to the arrest of lots of his thugs and cultists, the area opened for the opposition to arrange with little molestation. And by the point he deserted the APC, the previous opposition moved in. The demise knell of the Saraki Hegemony was only a matter of time. Final yr, his PDP misplaced a by-election in Kwara South, and the state knew that we had him the place we needed him, trapped! The outcomes of the Presidential, Nationwide Meeting, Governorship and State Home of Meeting elections underlined simply how completely the Saraki Hegemony has been routed by our individuals. I spent the previous twelve years exposing the rapacity of the Saraki Hegemony, at factors once they appeared on the zenith of their energy. It was a lonely effort, which was misunderstood even by the victims of the underdevelopment that the Saraki Hegemony was foisting on our state. At this time our individuals have buried ceaselessly the Saraki Hegemony! It’s completely unacceptable that a single household ought to ever be allowed to find out the destiny of tens of millions of individuals. It could actually solely be a recipe for catastrophe. Democracy should stay the best to dissent in addition to the facility of the individuals to dismantle the likes of the Saraki Hegemony, because the individuals of Kwara state did so heroically! Nothing lasts perpetually; not oppressive use of energy, not a hegemony!
- Kawu is D-G, Nationwide Broadcasting Fee (Nbc).