The Rise And Fall Of The Saraki Dynasty: In a show of frustration, chanting the “O to ge” slogan meaning “enough is enough” the people of Kwara State mobilized massively to vote against the Saraki Dynasty,
The Rise And Fall Of The Saraki Dynasty
Finally, we are beginning to see him sweat. Bukola Saraki created for himself the reputation of a shrewd politician capable of winning elections and coasting his party to electoral victory at all times in Kwara State.
As the “Political leader” in the state, no one dared aspire to any political position without prior endorsement from the so-called godfather of Kwara politics.
Or so it was, before the recent Presidential and National Assembly elections that took place on Saturday.
In a show of frustration, chanting the “O to ge” slogan meaning “enough is enough” the people of Kwara State mobilized massively to vote against the Saraki Dynasty, the machinery that had held the state to ransom, producing every Governor since 1979.
Before the just concluded elections, the signs had started to show during the bye- elections that took place late last year in the state.
APC snatched the House of Representatives seat that was up for grabs in Kwara South, following the demise of Hon. Funke Adedoyin.
Before Bukola, there was his father, Olusola. The late Olusola Saraki was popular across the state. He was loved, admired, feared and supported.
He understood the people’s pains and didn’t interfere much in the process of choosing party candidates at various levels.
He allowed local party chapters to choose their flag bearers and this made it easy for him to always deliver Kwara at the polls, only interfering occasionally.
He produced Adamu Attah, the Egbira Prince, as Governor in the First Republic. Olusola later produced other Governors namely Cornelius Adebayo, Mohammed Shaba Lafiagi, Mohammed Lawal and Bukola, his son.
Bukola emerged in Kwara political scene in 2002 after his father fell out with then then governor of the state, Late Admiral Mohammed Lawal.
The then strongman of Kwara politics Olusola Saraki defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the All Nigeria Peoples Party.
I remember reading in one of the Nigerian Tribune editions published in 2002, a few months to the general elections of 2003 where the senior Saraki was quoted as bragging that “I have made three Executive Governors in Kwara State. The fourth one, Bukola my son, is coming.”
The next year, the Oloye, as he was popularly called, fielded his son Bukola to run against Lawal, beating the latter at the polls to emerge as Kwara State Governor.
The father’s prediction came to past. Bukola held sway as Governor from 2003 to 2011.
As Bukola was leaving government house, he snatched party structures in the state from his father and fielded his best friend the then state commissioner of finance Abdulfatah Ahmed.
But Bukola refused to follow the old man’s footsteps of allowing local party structures to select popular candidates for positions of Local Government Chairman, Member State House of Assembly, Member House of Representatives, Senate and office of the Governor.
He didn’t want smart, popular candidates to emerge on the political scene with the attendant risk of having them gain popularity and acquire resources to challenge his authority in the future. Bukola preferred to dominate the scene.
He singlehandedly nominated everyone who would run for office in Kwara with the exception of only councillorship positions, which he considered too micro to attract his attention.
In the period that he reigned as the political leader in Kwara, Bukola used everything at his disposal to achieve his aim.
While most Kwarans know Saraki as an oppressive, arrogant political leader with inferiority complex, other Nigerians only saw him as a statesman and political heavyweight who could pull any election in his home state.
Even the Nigerian press made his name synonymous to popularity in Kwara.
What a tragedy! Most people never read in between the lines to see that Bukola has always had federal might going for him all through his political career.
In 2003, 2007 and 2011 he was a member of the PDP and he and his candidates coasted to victory using state government money, incumbency and federal might (including heavy deployment of security agents to intimidate voters during elections).
The election that led to his emergence as a first-time senator in 2011 was largely believed by people in Ilorin to have been won by Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe, but Bukola used federal powers to sway things his way. Today, Oloriegbe has taken back his madate.
The first time Bukola Saraki and his candidates contested elections on a party that was not in control of the federal government was in 2015.
In that instance, he and his men rode on the Muhammadu Buhari bandwagon to scale through.
In 2019 Bukola Saraki and his anointed men in Kwara contested elections against the Buhari bandwagon and against federal might.
To make matters worse for them, that federal might is Buhari himself. During last Saturday’s elections (February 23rd 2019) Saraki and all his PDP travelers got a bloody nose.
APC won all Senatorial and House of Representatives seats in the state, the first time power in the state has evaded the Saraki Dynasty since 1979, exactly four decades ago.
Bukola has never been a democrat. During his reign, nobody was allowed to buy expression of interest forms for any elective position in his party in Kwara.
He would buy up all the forms and share to “anointed” candidates. A great departure from what the situation should be in a democracy.
The only time he allowed a something that looked like a contest was in 2018 between his lackeys Hon.
Zakari Mohammed, Bolaji Abdullahi, Razaq Atunwa etc. Even at that, he prevailed on them to step down for Atunwa.
Bukola is a very arrogant. I heard personal stories of some Senators in the 7th Assembly (2011 to 2015) who complained that if you were not a former governor in the Senate, Saraki would snub you in the chambers, declining to shake hands with you.
He began to become friendly to “lesser mortals” when he wanted to become Senate President after the 2015 elections.
After the APC won majority seats in the Senate in 2015, Bukola started scheming to be Senate President, even though some party stalwarts didn’t want that.
He had to resort to anti-party activitiesto get the seat by conceding the position of Deputy Senate President to the opposition PDP.
While many Nigerians celebrated his emergence as President of the Senate through treachery, many politicians from Kwara were appalled and disgusted because he had severely punished some of them for minor anti-party activities that were not as horrible as what he did to become Senate President.
Tomorrow, February 26, 2019, Bukola’s Senate will reconvene. He will use his lackeys Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim or Senator Shaba Lafiagi to give a false account of what transpired in Kwara on Saturday.
They will use phrases such as “voter intimidation”, “Killing of PDP supporters”, “the elections were rigged” “democracy is under attack” blah, blah, blah. He has good propaganda machinery.
The people of Kwara will not be bothered. The chicken has come home to roost.
As the nation prepares for the gubernatorial elections in less than two weeks, Kwarans are plotting a retirement plan for Saraki’s boy Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed a.k.a “Maigida”.
We shall return home and vote in a similar pattern to send these oppressors to permanent retirement.
Until then, we have to celebrate. As a devout Muslim, I don’t drink bear.
But I can do with zobo or kunun zaki. Here’s a toast to the fall of the oldest political dynasty in Nigeria.
Good bye Bukky. O to ge!
A.A Galadima wrote this piece from Abuja
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