Kwara, Saraki And Post-Elections Issues
By BODE GBADEBO
BODE GBADEBO writes that with the change of power in Kwara State, those in charge of the new political order should move beyond the rhetoric and witch-hunting to focus on issues that will move the state forward
The 2019 general elections have come and gone but issues surrounding the exercise will surely fade away gradually even though not all – as some of the issues will remain reference points.
One major highlight of the election in the state is the defeat suffered at the 2019 polls by the leader of the Saraki Political Dynasty in the state, Senator Bukola Saraki, who happens to be the first son of the founder of the saraki +dynasty – the late Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki.
The story of Kwara politics cannot be complete without a chapter dedicated to the Sarakis. Saraki is an household name that stands tall in the political firmament of the state for all and sundry to behold.
The senior Saraki was a medical doctor he practiced for some years before he ventured into partisan politics. In 1977, he was elected as a member of the Constituents Assembly, which produced the 1979 Constitution.
The late Dr. Saraki, who was a philanthropist and grassroots politician, was elected as Senator of Federal Republic in 1979 during the second republic, and thereafter became the Senate Leader. He was re-elected to Senate in 1983.
He continued as the Senate Leader until the end of the Second Republic when the Military struck and took over the mantle of leadership in December, 1983. He was able to expand his political dominance during the period he served as the Senate Leader and he eventually became a reference point in the political atmosphere of Kwara and Kogi states. He was able to build a political machinery around his people, that ensured victory to candidate(s) of choice at the polls.
He was instrumental to the emergence of the following as Governors of Kwara state, they are: Adamu Atta of the defunct NPN in 1979, Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo of UPN in 1983 and Shaba Lafiaji of SDP in 1991/92. The late Olusola Saraki equally enthroned Mohammed Alabi Lawal in the wake of re – birth of democracy in 1999 as Kwara state governor and was instrumental to victory of Abubakar Audu, as Kogi State governor.
But as a result of the fallout between the late Dr. Olusola Saraki (Baba Saraki) and Lawal, the duo engaged in a stormy political battle in 2003 general elections and Mohammed Lawal was shown the way out of government house, by Saraki, as he did for Late Adamu Atta in 1983.
In 2003, Baba Saraki supported his children: Dr Bukola Saraki for Governor and Gemisola Saraki for Senator representing Kwara Central and with the help of God and the will of the people, his two children won their respective elections. But in the build up to the 2011 general elections, there was a crack in Saraki Political dynasty, as Baba Saraki supported his daughter, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, to succeed her brother as Kwara state Governor while his son and then incumbent governor, Dr Bukola Saraki, supported Alhaji Abdulfatai Ahmed for the same office of governor of Kwara state.
The young Saraki (the son) had his way against the will of his father and was able to installed governor Abdulfatai Ahmed as his successor. Shortly after the said election, “Sarakis” came together to settle their differences.
And in 2012, Baba Saraki departed and bid the world farewell. Thereafter, Dr. Bukola Saraki became the new leader of the dynasty, though his sister (Senator Gbemisola Saraki) was still very angry with him, until she came back to her brother during 2015 electioneering period.
No wonder the dynasty was able to perform her magic once again in 2015 general elections, by returning elected all candidates in her fold for various offices in Kwara state.
He eventually became the Senate President of the 8th National Assembly. He therefore encountered both political and legal battles and he won. Political onbservers believe his victory from all fronts enraged the powers that be, which apparently ochestrated his defeat at the 2019 general elections.
The Saraki political dysnasty was in charge of Kwara for 41 years and there is no doubt that it brought the state to the limelight.
Typical of Bukola Saraki, he congratulated the winners of the February 23 and March 9 elections after the his party, the PDP lost out even as he wished all Kwarans well. He has moved on as if nothing happened. He is back as the nation's number three man in his capacity as the Senate President.
It is therefore expedient for the newly elected governor of Kwara, Abdulrahaman Anbdulrazak, to forget acrimony or victimisation of political opponents and face governance in the interest of the people of the state. The reason is not far-fetched, four years are just a short time, hence he needs to face work for which he was elected and forget witch-hunting.
Despite his defeat and that of his annointed candidates at the last elections, preponderance of views suggest that Saraki tried his best in various capacities for Kwara State and he will be rememered for good.