By Ahmad Baba
Barely 24 hours after Kwara State Government announced its plan to build a new secretariat on the land currently housing the Ile Arugbo in Ilorin, the scion of the Saraki family, Bukola, came out threatening fire and brimstone against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq who he claimed is out to erase the legacy of the “dethroned” strongman or Kwara politics, Dr Olusola Saraki. The reader should please pardon my use of the word ‘dethroned’ in describing the late Oloye. But the fact of history is that he was dethroned. He didn’t die as the king of Kwara politics. He was dethroned in a very demeaning way by his own son who not only demystified the great Oloye but also installed himself as the new King. Unlike the dethroned king, however, Bukola’s reign was akin to Pharaoh’s in Egypt: ruthless and merciless. He took no prisoners or shared glory with anyone until the people themselves told him in 2019 that they have had enough of his demagoguery, conceit and disrespect for them.
Back to my main gist: Bukola Saraki spoke about AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq working to erase the legacy of the late Oloye. Erm, which Oloye was Bukola talking about? Does he think we all have no sense of history? In 2011, Oloye Saraki felt that the only Kwaran that was good enough to succeed his own son (Bukola) as Governor of Kwara State was another child of his: Senator Gbemisola Saraki. Writers have exhaustively discussed the morality of that choice and I’m not interested in going over it again. But Bukola would have none of that as he was already planning to instal his own successor contrary to the wish of his father.
Recall that Bukola was installed as Governor in 2003 after Oloye fell out with Mohammed Lawal. Bukola said his father’s choice of Gbemisola as the next Governor is immoral. You would likely agree with Bukola until you find out that what he thought was wrong was exactly what he did in the same year. Whereas he installed Abdulfattah Ahmed as the next Governor, as against Oloye’s choice of Gbemisola, Bukola went ahead to succeed the same Gbemisola as the Senator representing Kwara Central. Hello? Saint Bukola felt it was morally wrong for Gbemisola to succeed him as Governor but it was not morally wrong for him (Bukola who was just finishing an eight-year governorship tenure) to succeed the same Gbemisola as the senator representing the same district. That clearly exposed Saint Bukola as a power drunk hypocrite whose agenda was to demystify and dethrone his own father while crowning himself as the new godfather of Kwara.
That incident sent Oloye to an undeserved political oblivion and he never recovered from the shock of defeat. Oloye’s health worsened and the rest is history. Before his death, he never really forgave Bukola as all his emissaries met a brick wall. Whatever Bukola said today, the truth is that Oloye didn’t die as a political champion. He died as a vanquished old fashioned political war horse whose fall was engineered by Bukola, his own son.
So, when Bukola was speaking about Oloye, what I saw is a hypocrite and power hungry child who was trying to use the dead politician to relaunch his own battered image. I hope the people of Kwara can see through the deceit.
Totally bereft of any moral stamina to curry public favour in a state he tried but ultimately failed to make his own serfdom, Bukola made a spirited effort to pit the people of Kwara State against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq. Beyond the closed WhatsApp groups littered by his e-rats and crumb eaters, simple analysis of public opinion showed serious backlash for his ill-thought, belligerent statement.
Bukola also devoted substantial part of his epistle to tell Kwarans how great he is — how he was 16 years older than AbdulRahman as a Governor, how he was the chairman of the Governor’s Forum, how he rose to become the Senate President, and how AbdulRahman can never beat that record. This vainglorious behaviour of Bukola, akin to his ‘akapae’ (his boastful claim to being able fix things the way he wants), explains his downfall. But since he has again told us how great he is politically, we are also at liberty to tell him that his supposed greatness was contrived and riddled with fraud and chicanery.
How did he become the Governor in 2003? How many innocent Kwarans died for his ambition? Unlike Goodluck Jonathan, Bukola walked his way to power with the blood of the innocent. How many innocent Kwarans were framed up and sent to oblivion? If many of his e-rats were too young in 2003 to understand what was happening around them, anyone of them with an iota of shame ought to shudder at the audacity of their chief dealer to celebrate his crooked emergence as senate president in 2015.
He, among other dishonourable conducts, was so desperate for power that he had to sleep in a vehicle just to manipulate and undo his party’s decision on the choice of senate leadership. His authoritarian conduct at the senate possibly explains why his party leadership never wanted him. Like every evil conspirator, we have now seen his end. Besides, his leadership of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum was characterised by impunity. Lest we forget, he was the co-chairman of the cabal that desecrated the constitution during the tough days of Yar’Adua’s illness during which they stalled the handing over of power to then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan until a nationwide revolution almost roasted the evil cabal.
Bukola also spoke about the potential renaming of the Kwara State University after his own father — the father he dishonoured. Come to think of it, this is an issue any sensible person would avoid. But Bukola has no shame, anyway. Is Oloye the only one who contributed so hugely to Kwara State? Why can’t we name the varsity after a J.S. Olawoyin who muted the first idea of Kwara State? Why not others? Why not a Bamigboye who was the first Governor? As for me, I am in fact irrevocably opposed to naming a public institution after individuals, especially in Kwara, because it has the tendency of further dividing the people just as the idea of naming it after Olusola Saraki has done.
In this regard, if it hasn’t done so yet, the Kwara State House of Assembly should not hesitate to expunge the lousy law that changed the name in the first instance. We have all seen how unhealthy such step is. At any rate, the law has been redundant since 2013 when it was done as no meaningful step has been taken to implement it. The last set of graduands from KWASU (2018) collected certificates that bear KWASU, not Sola Saraki University. So, what is the fuss all about? If he truly had so much respect for Oloye, why didn’t he use the money he was sharing to sponsor lackeys for election across 30 states — to quote his own words — to push the implementation of the very expensive KWASU name-change law? And, yes, since he wants us to believe he is a good son of his father, he may as well build a private varsity and name it after his distinguished father. Hon. Ahman Pategi did that. Nothing spoils.
So far, all that Bukola Saraki has tried to do is to whip up sentiments and incite the people against lawful authority of the state government. I hope Bukola understands that this is a crime under the law. Any attempt by him to disrupt the peace of the state of harmony must be met with serious consequences. How can a man whose point men killed over 35 innocent Kwarans in Offa be so careless to be threatening a State Governor? Who dared do that to him when he was the Governor? The era of his empty grandstanding and chest-beating is gone. Kwara doesn’t belong to him. It belongs to the people who have clearly said Otoge to him and his gang.
Finally, Bukola’s rambling was totally of no moment since he failed to tell Kwarans when and how his father acquired the land. For me, that’s the most important question anyone on the side of Bukola must answer. Does the land lawfully belong to individuals laying claim to it? If it lawfully belongs to the state and a Governor who got the highest popular votes in our recent history decided the land must be restored to serve its original purpose, what’s the noise all about?
Compliments of the season!
*Baba is a community leader in Okekere, Ilorin.