By Is’haq Modibbo Kawu
When the results 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 establishments, launched a pre-planned offensive. Their strategy was a systematic 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 normal 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. But this time, their plot had taken a dead-on-arrival trip 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 everyone was apprehensive that it was not going to return, because the outcomes for Ilorin West and Ilorin South took a frighteningly long time to be returned!), was as deafening because it was most liberating. Arguably, the most unpopular individual in modern Nigerian politics, had finally 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 palms. Not solely did Bukola Saraki lose the seat, the individuals of our state ensured that the different two senatorial seats in Kwara North and South respectively, have been additionally gained by the APC, as well as the six House of Representatives positions. Final weekend, the last 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 in the Kwara State Home of Meeting. It was a rout; a whitewash and the definitive finish of a dubious, 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 history.
The roots of the Saraki hegemony successfully went back to 1979, when their patriarch, Dr. Olushola Saraki entered Senate and was Senate leader (however we’d even date the roots to some years earlier, with the indirect elections into the Constituent Meeting, and his lively participation in the Nationwide Movement that ultimately reworked into the NPN in the Second Republic). The Saraki Hegemony was instrumental in 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 each governor; imposed controls and usually made life troublesome for each certainly one of these governors, except for just one. And that one, was Bukola Saraki, who ran the state, at the peak of the powers of the hegemony, with an uncommon 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 personal causes of sibling rivalry and the need to protect his controversial 8-year tenure, the temerity to aim to impose Gbemisola Saraki as governor, after serving for 12 years in the National Assembly as consultant after which Senator, representing a individuals she literally 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 period from 2003 to 2019, is arguably the WORST in the history of Kwara state. And central to these years was the conceited presence of Bukola Saraki. It was the period that Kwara State acquired the highest ranges of allocation in our history because it was created in 1967, but, it was the period which witnessed the execution of tasks that impacted little or no when it comes to value, on the lives of Kwarans.
The sixteen native governments, between 2003 and 2018, acquired a total of N298, 434, 186, 870. 78. From the Federation Account. Yet, for the past few years, they’ve been unable to pay salaries of employees. The local administration is lifeless and most, if not all the local secretariats, exist only in identify. When Bukola Saraki took over in 2003, he dissolved the elected councils from the previous Muhammed Lawal administration; and for the next two years, Bukola Saraki was successfully the Sole Administrator, till 2005.
There isn’t a account of their funds until right now! The struggling of local government staff; the ruination of the administrative buildings as well as the utter destruction of the potential of native authorities administration to impression upon the lives of individuals at the native degree, was truly considered one of the biggest crimes of the Saraki Hegemony in our state. That led to the large drift of younger rural people into the essential urban centers of the state, but especially Ilorin, the state capital. These survive as city lumpens, who reside marginally, as OKADA riders; recharge playing cards sellers, and are involved in sundry petty crimes, to make ends meet. Many are on medicine and lots had been recruited into gangs, cults and political thugs that the Saraki Hegemony used to terrorise the state for the last sixteen years.
Any visitor to Ilorin, would see how dysfunctional the metropolis has grow to be. There isn’t any improvement control and the hegemony has parcelled out every obtainable piece of land and bought, in a lunatic and desperate search for funds, after the state and local government allocations have gone down the drain on tasks deliberately cooked up to take away money from our state. As for the State Government, it has taken over N600 billion from the Federation Account, but, there isn’t a 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 one in every of the greatest 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 came from all over Nigeria to purchase these. Equally, Army Adminstrator, Peter Ogar, encouraged improvement of a brand new number of pineapples at the nursery. However what did the Saraki Hegemony do? They bought the nursery; dismantled and bought the whole Ministry of Agriculture and associated institutions, which dated again to colonial occasions and the Northern Regional Government, and a place the place, beneath the late Governor David Bamgboye, Eagle Rice; Hen and so many other food 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! Scam was virtually central to each undertaking conceived from 2003-2019; none extra so, than the Zimbabwe Farm, which is a large scale heist. Large sums of money 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 objective of taking away our assets, and nobody talks about them any longer.
Similarly, 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 does not belong to our state. Another aspect of the Hegemony, was bringing in individuals from other states to go very important insitutions; so Tope Daramola, who was stated to be Bukola Saraki’s Account Officer at Intercontinental Bank, was compensated with the position 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 cash cow referred to as Concord Holdings; the omnibus car by means of which Kwara funds are accomplished as they wished. And for years, every time a minister was appointed from Kwara State, the SA was either Koye Sogbola or Kola Alagbada. These are sidekicks from Bukola’s days at the Societe Generale Financial institution! Additionally it is a part of the legacy of the Saraki Hegemony, it took down three banks: Societe Generale Financial institution; Commerce Financial institution and Intercontinental Bank. This can be a distinctive report in Nigeria’s political financial system! The obsession was cash that belonged to Kwara State and how much might be alienated as the private assets of the Saraki Hegemony.
There is a well-known story, that Kwara state is the solely inheritance that Dr. Olushola Saraki bequeathed to the household. Bukola Saraki subsequently carried on with a sense of entitlement, which explained the indefensible pension scheme that he crefted for himself. He was built a house, half of a road in the GRA; and there are stories round the house. 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 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, because, it was further alleged, that the state authorities owed him some money, the 100 million was allegedly then deducted to cowl the value! And to rub salt unto damage, Bukola Saraki received his sidekicks in the State Home of Assembly to maneuver a motion that the State University, constructed by his father-in-law’s development firm, be named after his father, Olushola Saraki!
I had questioned at the peak of that controversy, just why Bukola Saraki gained’t show love for his father, by taking out of the large sums he constructed from Kwara, to build a personal university in Ilorin, and named after his father. It might have been social duty of the highest order. It’s because the Saraki Hegemony has NO ECONOMIC INVESTMENT value the identify, in any respect in Kwara State. They only 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 in the 2011 senate elections by Dr. Ibrahim Oloriegbe, however dubious numbers have been added from the Asa Local Authorities. In 2015, he benefitted from the President Muhammadu Buhari impact, to return to senate. That is obvious, because 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 began to arrogantly declare that he was going to teach the president politics, he in all probability did not add up the numbers, even in the constituency that he was supposedly representing in senate! In the long term, he was the one which was taught the most bitter political lesson; not by President Muhammadu Buhari instantly, however by the individuals of the Kwara Central Senatorial District, who saw by way of his vanity; the 16-year systematic underdevelopment of the state, underneath his watch, and the manner he behaved, as if he was doing us a favour, sitting atop our assets. He imposed individuals, typically from other states to run strategic institutions; they knew they weren’t deserving of those positions, so did solely Bukola Saraki’s biddings, to the detriment of the greatest 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 activities destroyed the material of family 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 assessment of our state of affairs, seeing Bukola Saraki, and by extension, the Saraki Hegemony, as infallible. And who can blame them; they have 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. But nothing lasts eternally! The interval from 2003 especially has seen a gentle evolution of the demography of Nigeria basically, and Kwara State particularly. Dr. Olushola Saraki, had a standard contact; he was the basic master of Nigerian prebendalist Nigerian politics; securing political prebends, and serving personal or household curiosity, in manners that made individuals assume that he cared for them. He was also generous with cash, and had a sensitive nature that made individuals see kindness more than ruthlessness. Not for Bukola Saraki. His begin and end factors have been his self, and that insatiable appetite for power, 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 not our establishments. He calls individuals as previous as his father by first identify; and other people in his presence, have been expected 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 just a second era nouveau riche! Riches, which unfortunately haven’t come from exhausting work, but from being at the controlling levers of governance!
As I stated, demography was going to be his undoing. While 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 younger individuals have been turning into the most essential think about our politics. That they had been educated, typically badly, in the faculties that Bukola Saraki and his successor allowed to run down; they more and more had access to trendy communication devices and have been not content 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 in the nation, which social media platforms allowed them to share round. The expansion of private radio stations broke communication monopoly in the state, and the main lights of the opposition, akin to Iyiola Oyedepo, Rex Olaoye, Alhaji Alajagusi, as properly courageous clerics like Dr Abubakar Aliagan and Dr Olohun Oyin, reached houses around the state, with analyses of how Kwara state was systematically ruined by the Saraki Hegemony. The final, and I feel most necessary issue, have been the individuals themselves. They’ve lived via the indignities of the previous 16 years and decided they’ve had sufficient. The first show of power was in the November 2017 Local Government elections. The then opposition PDP defeated the ruling APC all over the state. Bukola Saraki and his hangers-on panicked; they forcibly changed leads to a most untidy method, but that emboldened people who change was indeed attainable and achievable! A brand new set of unlikely heroes emerged, the normal bearer of which was Musbau Eshinrogunjo. He gained the chairmanship of Ilorin West native council, which the Saraki clan claims as house. Refusal to allow him take the chairmaship seat deepened resentment and spiked the radical resolve to end the Saraki Hegemony!
The final piece in the elaborate jigsaw was Bukola Saraki’s choice to go away the ruling APC, for the PDP. He arrogantly sealed his own fate. He forgot the lesson of his family’s longevity in politics: never abandon the get together of power in the middle. It is that essential management of state energy, and skill to influence the electoral physique in addition to safety males deployed throughout elections, supplemented with their own thugs, that has been central to the Saraki mythology of political control in Kwara state. So when his battle towards the middle led to the arrest of plenty of his thugs and cultists, the area opened for the opposition to arrange with little molestation. And by the time he abandoned the APC, the previous opposition moved in. The dying knell of the Saraki Hegemony was just a matter of time. Last 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 Assembly, Governorship and State House 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 points once they appeared at 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. Immediately our individuals have buried ceaselessly the Saraki Hegemony! It is completely unacceptable that a single family should ever be allowed to determine the destiny of hundreds of thousands of people. It could possibly solely be a recipe for disaster. Democracy must remain the right to dissent as well as the energy of the individuals to dismantle the likes of the Saraki Hegemony, as the individuals of Kwara state did so heroically! Nothing lasts ceaselessly; not oppressive use of power, not a hegemony!
- Kawu is D-G, National Broadcasting Commission (Nbc).