Since 2003 even until today, a force holds Kwara State hostage. It is what I prefer to call, a force of ‘’democratic dictatorship’’. It is democratic just because it is not bayonet driven and the people behind it are also called politicians seeking votes to exercise political authority on the people of Kwara State. It is dictatorship because it is a one man or one family oligarchy. A one family dominated democracy cannot promote dialogue, tolerance, inclusion and quality participation which are the hallmarks of democratic tradition. From 2003, major political decisions in Kwara State whether in Ile Arugbo, Great hall or Mandate office are determined by one family. Secretariat of political party is for decorations and abode or office of the ‘’leader’’ is the centre of political gravity in the State.
For the primitive democracy that had been the lots of the people of Kwara State since 2003; the people of the State must thank Atiku Abubakar, the erstwhile Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. I was in a meeting in 2007 in his official residence where Atiku admitted that he single- handily made Bukola Saraki the PDP governorship candidate in 2003. And as if he was God; he promised to undo what he had done again by assisting us to check him out of office in 2007. Whether he was able to undo what he claimed to have done is now a foregone issue. Some call the emergence of Bukola Saraki as the governor of Kwara State in 2003 as the evidence of the popularity of the political dynasty of the Sarakis, established by the patriarch of the family, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki. I rather see it as political manipulation at which the family is adept. If the family was that popular and could control the political direction of the State under any political platform; when they were pushed out of ANPP in 2003, they could have gone to APGA or PPA. If the family did that, it would have since gone to political oblivion. Atiku came to the rescue in 2003, and to sustain the leverage of power in Nigeria, just control the paraphernalia of office at the State level. And when your party is even in charge of the Federal administration, you are in a winning team. At least that has essentially been the case in Nigeria until the arrival of the Buhari political tsunami that has no respect for incumbency power. And so that is how we came about Governor and now Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki who came from the failed bank to preside over the affairs of the state dangerously sliding into failure.
The people of Kwara State are not stupid. But when a robber, armed to the teeth enters into a house, the house owners must take cover. When we regained consciousness from the stupor of domination or is it outright emasculation, there were nobody to listen to the landlord. Scavengers, sycophants and praise singers had taken over. The environmental noise was too deafening and nobody would listen to the voice of reason. Newspaper Houses have been captured, only a few will not bury alternative views. Oppressors have money to engage the press and even establish and control their own media whose only duty is to subjugate contrary opinions that could embarrass the people in authority. ICPC, EFCC, CCB, SFU and indeed all agencies of the State, established to make rulers accountable to the ruled, were captured by the men in authority. Petition writing was then a waste of time and a veritable means of providing money for the boys. At the count of five petitions that yielded no result except money for the boys in the anti-graft agencies, we had to give up. We believed however that one day a Daniel will come to judgement.
Judgement time has finally come. It comes in a most mysterious way. The party they mid-wife where they also claim to be co-owners and co-leaders is now wielding a big stick to rescue those of us in Kwara State that are perishing. The day a thirteen count charge was filed at the CCT must be the day of the liberation of Kwara State. We thought he was bigger than the law, so he is not that big after all? We thought he could not be charged to court, so he can be charged? We thought our ‘’leader’’ cannot be made to enter the dock, so they can make him to enter the dock? We thought our ‘’leader’’ cannot be tried, the Supreme Court of Nigeria said he can be tried. Whether jailed or not, whether find guilty or not, that is really not our business, the thirteen count charge is the document of the liberation of the people of Kwara State. False declaration of assets or anticipated declaration: the meaning is that in the mind of the governor, Kwara State had been defrauded by him before resumption of office in 2003. I shall hold this liberation document in my hand; nobody can take it away from me. I do not care about his going to jail which if done may act as deterrent to others, this damning thirteen count charge that speaks about why Kwara is sliding into acute underdevelopment is enough. On each of the counts volumes can be written and political awareness can be created. I say nobody can take from me this liberating document.
The ‘’leader’’ was running from pillar to poles. The race was long and tortuous from the Code of Conduct Tribunal to the Court of Appeal and finally to the Supreme Court. His complaints might be his core defence, so we need not examine them now. But the Supreme Court has decided that the CCT has jurisdiction to hear this matter. The world stands still as we await the high profile trial of number three citizen of Nigeria; the outcome of which has serious implication on the anti-corruption tiger, called President Muhammadu Buhari. The court should however be left to adjudicate. But the impression created in the mind of the public by exploring all the preliminary legal options which the accused is entitled to, is that of a guilty person trying to evade judgement. The image is not good for litigant.
Oh, had he known! Had he known, our ‘’leader’’ could have remained a floor member of the Senate. Had he known, he could have listened to other party leaders and allow them to give the Senate Presidency to whoever they wanted. Had he known, he would not have hidden or slept overnight in the garage of the National Assembly so as not to be prevented by the police from entering the red chambers on that fateful day that he snatched the Senate Presidency from the party leaders. Corrupt people populate APC nobody trouble them. Some of them are even made Ministers of the Federal Republic. If he had remained a floor member and a party leader, he would not be in any court of law today. Any of his own boys would have been made a minister instead of Alhaji Lai Mohammed. He possibly would have remained a powerful party leader and in the kitchen cabinet of the president. May be, as he was to President Yar’ Adua, he would have been to President Mohammadu Buhari. But with the Presidency of the Senate political influence waned, the ‘’leader’’ cannot make Ministers or Federal Board members- a prelude to the setting sun is this political nakedness. But perhaps he thought he was an ex-Governor and a Senator; Tinubu was an ex-Governor and a Senator. He was an ex-governor; Osibajo was even an ex-commissioner. He was an ex-presidential candidate; Buhari was once an ex-presidential candidate. I wonder why he could not see himself as a village headmaster in the committee of vice chancellors. Ambition makes him to be hounded. And so shall he be hunted and hounded until the sun sets at noon.
I can see the eclipse of the sun at noon. The way up, ought to be down. For our man and ‘’leader’’ the way up is up. From the medical school he became the Chief Executive of a bank. Where is the experience of a banker that had gone through the mills? What happened to that bank is not a very pleasant story. He moved from the failed bank to the Presidency as an adviser on budget to President Olusegun Obasanjo. The premature exit from that table must be a thing of concern to those of us that must subject our leaders to public scrutiny. From the adviser on budget for less than two years he moved to government house of Kwara State as the Chief Executive; not even after a stint as a commissioner or membership in the State House of Assembly. Mega promotion shall lead to mega fall. Somebody that climbs the house from the roof risks a sudden early falls. Politics is a career. Awolowo was in it until he died at the age of seventy nine; Azikwe was in the career until he died at almost ninety. Even our own Dr Olusola Saraki sick and frail, with intimidating health challenges; campaigned vigorously when he was seventy eight and just about a year to his death. Aminu Kano died on the job with a robust political image that continues to win elections from the grave. If the coup of 1966 did not cut short the lives of Alhaji Ahmadu Bello and Tafawa Balewa, their sun would not have set at noon. But Governors Ibori and Alaimayeshia of both Delta and Bayelsa States respectively, for issues relating to corruptions had their sun set at noon of their political careers. Our ‘’leader’’ share company and companion with that corrupt category. Dr Bukola Saraki, the sun is about to set at noon.
Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo