By Ibraheem Abdullateef
In what many still describe as a landmark event in 2019, O’to ge defied all odds to uproot the Saraki dynasty in Kwara. It rode on the demand for an end to a leadership renowned for corruption, abuse of authority, and other acts of impunity which analysts agreed led to the underdevelopment of Kwara state.
Before the election proper, the winner was easy to call. The people would win. Kwarans were already fed up with the style of leadership which prioritised itself with politics and retaining of power than serving the people. People began to query why many roads, hospitals, schools were left unfixed, and water problems which had already gulped 6.5bn remain unsolved. On top of that, Kwara entered the list of States paying half salaries. Carefully reviewing the culture of leaders deceiving people, it was unanimously decided across the State of Harmony that Senator Saraki and his people must go. And they did.
The pent up anger against Saraki built for years. It only climaxed in 2019. What has always made points of reference are his seeming history of arrogance, greed, and blind ambitions which put the state in his front pocket. While some agreed he had quite a tenure as a Senate President legislative wise, many analysts believe that whatever success was overshadowed by several reports of corruption and breach of trust for personal interests.
A good leader doesn’t rule, he serves. But Saraki lorded over Kwarans and even made frantic efforts to subjugate Nigeria until the end came stealthily on him like a thief in the night.
While he was facing battle away, his godson ex-Governor Ahmed was messing up big time at home. He was an eloquent speaker of beautiful nonsense which never materialises to purposeful governance either for lack of will or outright plans. This is evident in the paralysis of state institutions. Ministries and parastatals were on dialysis. It was so bad at some point governance broke down Saraki who was a Senator volunteered to pay up salaries in his stead. Of course, people didn’t get fooled. They rightly guessed the game plan. Our Governor had a Governor-general yet the two heads were steering the state into the bush.
Away from all their shortcomings on governance fronts, people revolted against their politics on morals, cultural, and ethical principles. Part of the most pronounced methods was gathering women for weekly #500 notes and breeding of young men for political thuggery. It remained little for the famed ‘Saraki University of Politics’ to officially create an office for ‘good boys’ as they reigned supreme. People would have been able to do little opposing it, anyways. It was a system of ‘yes men.’ Some young men like Buhari Ahmad and Biodun Baba were victims of the well-oiled machinery of terror.
The middle-age Kwara men and women who had things to offer to the state were denied opportunities. Why? They couldn’t beg and bow to Lord Saraki. We all remember Hon. Benjamin Ezequiel’s story. In those days, Mallam Modibbo Kawu’s pen wrote severally against the Hobessian nature of politics and governance in Kwara state.
These are a little of his hubris. The above revision is to remind the people of the past. They said defeat makes one cherish a win. But it doesn’t appear Sarakites learned so.
One would think the humiliation of 2019 had made Saraki and his supporters retraced their steps. In continuation of what I call lines of nostalgia, they take to social media to trumpet the ‘automatic’ return of the deposed godfather. In the past 18 months, they have made several futile attempts to put down the present government’s laudable strides across sectors and repackage Saraki as the messiah and angel he never was. Whereas I understand that politics is rivalry, what precipitated this chastise is the mode and manner they go about it.
They have reactivated the obnoxious pattern of projecting Saraki as some God. That is short-sighted. Saraki didn’t leave Kwara on his own accord. He fled the state as a roundly rejected leader after failing his people. If Sarakites have forgotten, it was such a show of arrogance which gave them the current pariah status.
Now Sarakites still go about sing-praising ABS as if Kwara is his inheritance. Like it is his fiefdom he’d come to reclaim as the Crown prince. It is not true. That would be disregarding the will and power of the people of Kwara state. Kwara people abhor arrogance and greed. They’d speak again when it is time. A return from exile can never be taken for a rebirth. Time only wishes away mistakes, it doesn’t erase the sins.
Saraki, with due respect, is not an angel. No amount of time spent far away or the level of propaganda should change that fact. He is the two-term governor, one-term Senate president and godfather of Kwara politics for 16 long years with little to show for it. He remains the one who advanced the politics of pittance; led the pack of corrupt followers, denied Kwarans of federal opportunities, breed indignity of women for #500, superintended political thuggery, and almost successfully put Kwara as the poster state of impunity, as he was constantly fingered in several high- end financial malpractices in all of the offices he held.
Just so we set the record state. Our Waziri is coming as a politician to beg Kwaran for all the wrongs against the state and his people. He is coming to seek a second chance after the ‘one chance’ ordeal with him. He is not coming home as any angel, saviour, or messiah.
If Sarakites have chosen the strategy of revisionism, Kwarans should not hesitate to open the history book again.