OPINION: Bola Shagaya Is A Two Faced Politician And Wheeler Dealer. By Abdullahi Imam Abdullahi

Date: 2014-08-07
It has become necessary to warn well meaning Kwarans on the dangers posed by the billionaire business woman to the struggle of those clamouring for political freedom in Kwara state. Hajia Bola Shagaya as she is fondly called needs no introduction to those following closely the activities of the Kwara state chapter of the Peoples' Democratic Party; she is a major financier and stakeholder of the party. However, her past and recent activities cast a shadow of doubt as to her real intentions towards the good people of Kwara as they seek to free themselves from the shackles of the Bukola Saraki and gang.

If we follow due diligence to examine Bola Shagaya's past and recent activities, six issues stand out:

1. Her past relationship with former Nigerian first ladies

2. The impact or lack thereof her business empire had on Kwara

3. Her sole nomination of Kwara's Representative at the Federal Executive Council

4. Attempts to hijack the Kwara state Peoples' Democratic Party

5. Her Chummy relationship with Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatah Ahmed

6. The push to have her son, Sherriff Shagaya as the next Federal House of Representatives member from Ilorin West and Asa Federal Constituency

Now let's examine the issues:

Her past relationship with former Nigerian first ladies
Hajia Bola Shagaya has been friends with Nigerian first ladies since the time of Maryam Babangida of blessed memory. She parried this relationship to grow her business empire with interests in photography and base oil. From Maryam Babangida, she moved on to Stella Obasanjo, Turai Yaradua and now Patience Jonathan; making her the number one female wheeler dealer in Nigeria, a master commercial and political schemer and she is not known to be loyal to anyone or any cause other than her own. In all of the time she has spent in Nigeria's corridors of power, what benefit has she brought to Kwara, the state of her birth? When you have wined and dined with Nigeria's power brokers as Hajia Bola Shagaya has done; you would at least leverage on your influence to attract development into the state of your birth. Can she confidently claim to have impacted positively on Kwara's development as a result of her influence in the corridor of power? Can we safely assume that all her positioning is to her own sole benefit and she doesn't care whether or not her people are empowered or not?

The impact or lack thereof her business empire had on Kwara

According to her official biography, her business experience commenced with the importation and distribution of photographic materials, namely, roll papers, films and chemicals under the trading name, Bolmus International (Nigeria) limited. In 1997, she registered Fotofair (Nigeria) limited and opened a photo laboratory service unit on Victoria Island, Lagos. Today, Fotofair (Nigeria) Limited has over thirty photo laboratories located in different parts of the country none of which includes any city in any part of Kwara.

Hajia Bola Shagaya is also the Managing Director of Practoil Limited, one of the largest importers and distributors of base oil in Nigeria, meeting the needs of the local lubricant blending plants. While another PDP chieftain like Alhaji Jani Ibrahim invests heavily in Kwara and her economy, currently, Practoil is building its own state-of-the-art lubricating plant in Kirikiri, Lagos state, which will produce multigrade oils and lubricants.

Her business empire also includes a huge investment in real estate and spans across major cities in the country none of which includes any city in Kwara. She was on the board of Intercity bank for over eight (8) years. While on the board of the then intercity bank (now Unity Bank Plc), she served in different capacities on various board committees including the position of Chairman of the bankís establishment committee. The question is: how many of our unemployed young Kwarans did she help to get employed at the bank where she was a major shareholder?

Her sole nomination of Kwara's Representative at the Federal Executive Council

In the run up to the nomination of Kwara's Representative at the Federal Executive council, there were allegations and counter allegations of unnecessary interference and meddlesomeness by Hajia Bola Shagaya. A certain Bello Bature even took umbrage at Bola Shagaya for wanting to reap where she did not sow but all of these went on deaf ears. But alas! Our representative at the Federal Executive Council, Dr. Abubakar Suleiman is just a lackey and a houseboy of Muina Shagaya. Bello Bature was right afterall. The more curious issue is that reports reaching this writer showed that Muina Shagaya singlehandedly nominated Abubakar Suleiman while railroading the rest of the PDP stakeholders to support her nominee after their initial objections. Only Senator Gbemisola Rukayat Saraki stood her ground and pointed out the need to have more nominees instead of just one person dictating. Because of this principled stand, Gbemisola Saraki paid dearly. Shagaya's new political machineries in Kwara state poached Alhaji Owolabi, a grassroot mobiliser for Senator Gbemisola Rukayat Saraki to their side and offered Owolabi juicy deals for him to be a turncoat to his former benefactor.

It should be recalled that Dr. Suleiman was chosen as a Minister over and above more qualified old PDP hands by Muina Shagaya. There were many stalwarts that sacrificed significantly in the struggle to dethrone Bukola Saraki, they refused offers from Bukola Saraki, they also quit their positions as chairmen of lucrative state parastatals to remain in the PDP and yet they were bypassed for the ministerial nomination by Bola Shagaya in favour of Abubakar Suleiman who is a new entrant into the party and was holding onto his job at the University of Abuja before his nomination. What an injustice!

Attempts to hijack the Kwara state Peoples' Democratic Party

All of these desperate attempts by Muina Shagaya are in order to hijack the PDP machinery in Kwara state knowing full well that Bukola Saraki's days are numbered and the majority of Kwarans have sympathy for the PDP. Here is a notice to Bola Shagaya and her handlers, the PDP will indeed win the Governorship and other major offices in 2015 but Bola Shagaya will not become another Bukola Saraki. If she is nursing such an ambition, it is better for her to perish such a thought immediately. It is laughable that someone that does not have any mass following in Kwara state, no political pedigree and no record of service to Kwara aims to be the next Madam Tinubu of Kwara state. Tufiakwa!! It is not going to happen.

Her chummy relationship with Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatah Ahmed

Her lack of concern for the plight of the average Kwarans seeking to free themselves from the yoke of Bukola Saraki and gang also shows in the way and manner she carries on a secret relationship with Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatah Ahmed behind the backs of unsuspecting PDP members. Till date, this new wannabe Madam Tinubu maintains business and cordial relationship with the duo of Bukola Saraki and Abdulfatah Ahmed. It is alleged that she is even looking for a soft landing for Bukola Saraki and Ahmed presently.

Her son, Sherriff Shagaya also maintains a similar relationship with Bukola Saraki and Ahmed. It is alleged that the son even enjoys the Governor's hospitality whenever he is in Ilorin and yet these two faced characters wants us to believe that they are committed to the freedom of Kwarans. Fellow Kwarans, shine your eyes.

The push to have her son, Sherriff Shagaya as the next Federal House of Representatives member from Ilorin west and Asa

The final nail in Bola Shagaya's coffin will be the Federal House of Representatives aspiration of her son Sherriff. Here is a young man who has never achieved anything on his own, was never on ground in Ilorin and Asa (his constituency) and has never been of any tangible use to his constituency despite their vast wealth and connections. I guess this is a case of like mother, like son. The young man showed up six months to the election and does not even have the humility to want to serve as a councillor or state house of assembly member to build his grassroots credentials before venturing for higher offices.

Even in his constituency, Sherriff Shagayas blind ambition has beclouded his sense of reasoning and did not allow him to realise that the Ilorin West and Asa federal constituency is tilted more towards Asa in this dispensation rather than Ilorin West where he comes from.

Since 1999 Ilorin West has produced the federal Representative three times out of four and thus stands disqualified in the next dispensation. If Kwara PDP fields Sherriff Shagaya against the likely APC nominee - the present Speaker of the Kwara state house of assembly, Rasak Atunwa from Asa, Sherriff will fail in his aspiration. The people of Asa are not fools and they will rather elect a Rasak Atunwa that they know than a Sherriff that wants to usurp their turn. Sherriff Shagaya's aspiration is dead on arrival.

Finally, if Bola Shagaya wants to line up with those who want to free Kwara from Bukola Saraki and his gang, she is advised to do this truthfully and honourably. However, if her ambition is to be another Madam Tinubu in Kwara, she needs to perish the thought fast. Kwara will not exchange one dictator for another. Kwara cannot afford to have another two faced politician and political wheeler dealer. What Kwara needs is total freedom and God willing that is what we will get.

Abdullahi Imam Abdullahi writes from Ilorin



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