End Of An Era: “A story has no beginning or end: arbitrarily one chooses that moment of experience from which to look back or from which to look ahead”
Just as the above quote, there is another proverb famous in my native dialect which says; “Oba mewa, Igba mewa lo ni ile aye… enikan o le lo ile aye gbo” literally meaning; ten kings, ten time-frame (reign)… no one reigns forever.
It is with such mindset that not a few may choose to view the political happenings in Kwara state as probably the starting of the end albeit politically of the Bukola Saraki Era.
But he isn’t alone in this boat of political absentee, as one time governor of Benue State, his excellency George Akume seems to also have lost his magical wand in the politics of his State.
So began his journey into the political fray after successfully being installed by his father, Alhaji Olushola Saraki.
But just like every other godfather relationship, cracks soon began to appear. His constant refusal to concede to his father’s opinion, blatant refusal, perceived arrogance and gradual annexation of his father’s political structure which climaxed in a rigorous battle on whom to succeed him, though one concedes that it’s not unconstitutional for a brother to hand over an executive function to a sister like a father could to a son, it is morally wrong, politically and democratically indecent.
Kwara State in general has always been about the Sarakis; almost everything has to do with the Saraki political dynasty.
The level of oligarchy that played out assumes that only the family has the solution to every problem of the State. where he has held sway for the past 16 years, first as two-term governor and as political godfather of the current governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.
In 2011, Bukola Saraki retired his father, Olusola Saraki, from politics by backing Abdulfatah Ahmed against Gbemisola, his own younger sister, in the governorship race, thereby officially taking over his father’s empire and becoming the new godfather of Kwara politics.
Just as with all beginnings, the end is always nearer than as thought and nothing demonstrates the turn of events better than his unaccustomed struggles at home.
He has faced continual revolt and rejection in his home state of Kwara partly due to his negligence, rumoured arrogance and inability to appeal to the mindset of the average kwaran citizen.
Apparently, the key factor that led to the fall of Saraki in the elections is the popularity of President Muhammadu Buhari which he had underestimated and the fact that Saraki was perceived by many as an ‘enemy’ of the president.
The president, it was gathered, is even more popular than Saraki in most parts of the State. The presence of Lai Mohammed, the information minister, helped boost the president’s popularity to a point whereby, in the build-up to the elections, Kwara was one of the major states of interest for the president and of course, the minister acted as the president’s front as events played out.
Also, a report from The Cable claimed that he( Saraki) does not have a good relationship with the people like his late father Olusola, he is not free with his people like his father was, a resident said when asked about the senate president – “People used to throng to their house when the father was alive but not anymore.”
The popular notion in the state that saraki though not the current governor but still rules in the affairs of the state does not sit down well with many residents of the state, especially the civil servants.
Poor welfare packages and inconsistency in salary payment was a hot topic within the state and that alone has we’ve seen plays a great role.
For some years now, the ‘Saraki Dynasty’ held sway in Kwara but as time went by, the people were said to have been “fed up” of the influence from the family and gradually, a popular movement known as ‘O toge!’ began.
Commonly translated as ‘enough is enough’, the movement or revolt as you may wish to call it was spearheaded by key political figures in Kwara including Abdulrahman AbdulRazak, APC governorship candidate in the state, with the support of the masses and prominent figures such as Lai Mohammed, minister of information and culture.
The phrase caught on and soon spread like a wildfire across the nook and crannies of the state in no time. The end was imminent but the younger Saraki was too engrossed in being “Atikulated” rather than face the storm brewing at home.
Although it may be too early yet to conclude that the lofty narrative of a silver spoon thrust into political leadership by his father is about to end, but if the morning shows the day, we may be witnessing his tragic denouement.
He must ask himself questions about where and how he got it wrong. If he does, and is able to redeem himself, perhaps he may save himself from the impending political asylum.
– Abimboye Femi (Political Analyst)
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