Topical among issues creating anxiety in our contemporary society is the unresolved issue of restructuring in tandem with true federalism, many among people opposed to restructuring are opposed to the idea due to avalanche of opportunity it avails boundary readjustment. One singular isolated case in Nigeria is the protection of Ilorin Emirate by strong personalities of Fulani extraction, the extra ponderous circumstance that generated the contradiction where people mostly with Crown’s Ideology and native lands are at call and beck of an emirate council.
The Ilorin surrounding environments like Ganmo, Afon, Sawo, Lao, Ote, Malete and many others, comprises of Yoruba speaking populace and headship, with Yoruba Crowns. The conquest of the leadership of Ilorin by a Fulani Family in 1824 and supported by other Islamic clerics with similar ideologies - establishment of an Islamic Society, fetched the Leadership of Ilorin the status of an Emir and establishment of an Emirate Council on Yoruba land and soil. Over the years, the people of Ilorin and surrounding environments, mostly Muslims, in love with Islamic Principles and Ideologies have continued to respect the circumstances for relative peace, harmony and lovethat thrives among the people. Virtually all Northern Leaders over the years, pride Ilorin as a viable possession of the Sokoto-Usman Dan Fodio Dynasty that must be protected at all cost, never to be westernized, regarded as property of the west nor be under the control, influence or grip of any Yoruba Leader politically,and this has prevailed politically for time immemorial.
On the political front, Chief Obafemi Awolowo didn’t enjoy the support of the Ilorin people in all his attempt to win Presidential Contest, not for any rude position against their stake other than the fear of a remedy by the beneficiaries of the trade of power. He only enjoyed the support of Yoruba Leaders from Offa and surrounding towns, due to the influence of Sir Olawoyin of the blessed memory and that rivalry exist till date politically, between politicians from Ilorin and Offa. The simple blackmail that makes any political office seeker within Ilorin and metropolis to be instantly hated or rejected is to be associated with the west, as a matter of fact, he will be instantly termed as projecting “Yoruba Interest” to promote the Crowning of an Oba in Ilorin, a blackmail used against Awolowo and Former Governor Muhammed Lawal of the blessed memories.The Emir of Ilorin and cronies have continued to enjoy the genuine support of the Fulani Leaders from Sokoto Kebbi, Katsina, Kano, Jigawa, Zamfara and so on, in protection of their hegemony on a foreign soil and a notable family from Ilorin has benefited undeservingly from that gesture over the years.
Assuming the blackmailers among the indigenes of Ilorin maintain economicand social interest by seeking education, work, trade and partner with Northern States only, or refuse to reside, earn a living or enjoy the business opportunities in Lagos, Ibadan, Iseyin, Osogbo, Akure, Abeokuta and other Yoruba Cities, thepropaganda would have become genuine. The drummers mostly have Yoruba root and lineage but for dubious tendencies of fabricating false family claims, they jettisoned their Yoruba bloodline to play upon the intelligence of the Fulani people and hijacked the political structures for personal gain. Notable example is the Saraki Dynasty. With the report of regular negative spiritual invocations against President Muhammadu Buhari by misguided spiritualists in Ilorin under the payroll of Senator Bukola Saraki and the constant spread of negativity against the President by mischievous persons at Mosques and public discussion usually led by allies of Bukoka Saraki, it becomes wondrous why the Ilorin Palace have refused to caution against all the bad wishes and lies against a genuine Fulani man in power.
The territories of the old northern region prior to amalgamation were well determined without conflict with the southern region, outside the spread of Islamic doctrines and principles through the borders of northern protectorate to the south, most importantly the western border through Nupe land to Yoruba Land, there was respect for the western culture and orientation by the Islamic Scholars as sufficient records entails. The eventual categorization of the Igbomina, the Ibolo, the Oyo, the Ogori and the Okun people in present day Kwara and Kogi States as northerners, created identity crises for a true Yoruba Man in a Northern Nigeria, especially in politics. Let’s assume the advocates of one Nigeria at independence had no ulterior motives against the quest of leaders of western region for proper boundary adjustment, which could have rightly placed the population of Yoruba people carved out of the region, the proposals to have them duly categorized were vehemently opposed by the northern leaders that held on to the numerical advantage not minding the identity crises. At every given opportunity, these people have been agitating for additional States Creation which could have given them some sought of relief as referenced in their request for Okun State, Ibolo State and the likes of that.
The age long African Adage that says that “if a family is enjoying absolute harmony and peace, the bastard in that family has not come of age” has just come to true manifestation in the Ilorin and Fulani family affinity. We are Africans and we can’t shy away from our love for our family and race, often atthe expense of others. It is important to state categorically that no blame is placed on the Fulanis for their continued support for an Emir in Ilorin or strong affinity with people with Fulani blood in Ilorin. The unfortunate situation is the ugly fate that has recently befell the Fulani image and acceptability as good spirited people in Nigeria due to recent occurrences labeled against the herders and blackmail of a Fulani man who is the Nigeria President at this challenging time in Nigeria. Despite obvious fact of government frontal attack against insecurity and every other efforts to advance welfare of the people, the detractors of President Muhammadu Buhari are being led by a self-acclaimed Fulani man with borrowed garment of honour. It is highly instructive to state that those that can legitimately claim to be genuine indigenes of Ilorin have family history and pedigree dated back to 1800 and have provable records of above five generations which is not the case with the Saraki family.
Often times, when recalling the ferocious killings that declared the last administration as incapable of ending insecurity, it coincided with the decamping of those forces that called themselves new PDP from the party to join forces with the unsuspecting forces in the opposition and shortly after the emergence of the present administration, there were serious gain by the people in terms of abating insecurity until when Senator Bukola Saraki had a running battle with the Executive Arm of the FGN. It could further be recalled that each time President Muhammadu Buhari goes on vacation, killings mostly cease like miracle and renewed once he returns and the resounding alarm was the label that FulaniHerdsmen were responsible for all killings even at locations where Fulani Herdsmen are non-existent. All these were done to label the present administration as incompetent with regular sponsor of global negative reports capable of making the President non electable again or lose his popularity and acceptability among the electorates.
The modern Ilorin comprises of many chaffs whose fathers migrated to learn Arabic and Islamic Knowledge but eventually mixed up to get an Ilorin identity in the process. The first attempt by Late Dr Olusola Saraki to hold an elective position was in 1964 when he contested for the parliament from Asa (an Ilorin outskirt) which he lost only to resurface 10 years later having entrenched himself within the Agbaji Islamic Family in Ilorin where his biological father (Muttahiru Saraki) had his Islamic Education as a migrant from Abeokuta and later to Lagos and Abidjan where he resided and trained his children. Having understood the benefit of claiming to be a descent of Fulani in northern politics, Olusola Saraki beautified an unfounded historical linkage to Fulani as a migrant from Mali, a scheming that sustained his affinity with the North and propounded his political sophistication in connivance with the Emir of Ilorin. While the existence of Ilorin as an Islamic Society and the headship of the town by an Emir can't be subject to review, the usual threat against anyone with different opinion against the interest of the palace must come to abeyance or complete halt.
For the spurious claim, Bukola Saraki regarded as the heir apparent to the Saraki Dynasty has been seeking opportunity to contest for the seat of President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and having infested the minds of Northern Elites with vain believe of being a Fulani Man from Ilorin, following the footstep of his biological father that failed in similar situation and knowing fully well the identity crisis, he has been offering Greek gifts and unsolicited friendship with unsuspecting young northern populace, he has been busy with damaging the image of Fulani in Nigeria through sponsored media attack as reflected in his declaration statement where he carpeted the present administration on security in particular. Those Northern Leaders and cronies that have continued to propagate political hatred against the West by sustaining the Fulani grip on Ilorin Leadership should come forward to explain why the Emir of Ilorin has continued to support a Bukola Saraki against a Muhammadu Buhari if truly love, trust and harmony still exist among the Fulanis.
It’s time for true sense of nationalism where we will no longer have a northerner or southerner, where we will no longer have a Yoruba, Hausa, Igbo, Fulani, Ibibio and the rest, a Nigeria where every Nigerians will share the identity of being a Nigerian locally and in diaspora. Senator Bukola Saraki is not to be blamed singularly for this mischief, leading personalities from the North Central – Kwara, Kogi, Niger, Nasarawa, Plateau and Benue have been perfecting plans to throw a fight against the North West and North East in the political battle for recognition to contest and win for the seat of the President of Nigeria. The real problem is that most people from those States belongs to ethnics or tribes that exist only in their States or neighbouring States which makes it difficult for anyone from North Central to enjoy support beyond their domain when the seat of the President is under contention because of the way we play our politics in this clime. When you observe the relationship between Governor Aminu Tambuwal and Senator Bukola Saraki, think of the Sokoto Mentality of protecting Fulani interest in Ilorin and every Fulani Man in Ilorin must be accorded the fidelity and support by every Fulani Man but now, the die is cast.
If you doubt the fact that Senator Bukola Saraki is a clear example of what the Hausa call “Banza Bokoi” ask Senator Bukola Saraki to mention just two generations preceding his grandfather named Muttahiru Saraki or investigate why Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor Isiaka Amosun are his best political confidants and support base, they are from the same fore bearers in Egba Land, it’s an open secret but because Saraki has become a household slave master with many political slaves in Kwara State, he remain the political godfather in Kwara same way such exist in some other States anyway. In the declaration remarks and other public speeches of Senator Bukola Saraki, he has always cajole his audience and spectators with his good command of communication as a pretender. He has always claimed to be a decent man with love for development, let’s go on a journey to Kwara State where he governed for eight years and has dictated the government for the past fifteen uninterrupted years.
Most roads in Kwara State are under deplorable conditions and the Civil Servants are worst paid in terms of Salary Scheme in the whole of Nigeria. If Nigeria is truly the headquarters of poverty as mentioned by Senator Bukola Saraki in his Presidential Intent Declaration Speech on 30th August, 2018, then without being immodest, he should be held responsible if any indigene or resident of Kwara State lives in penury. The politics of gratification on better stated, stomach infrastructure where people are paid for votes and compensated with “Amala plus Ewedu and Fifty Naira” for political support was founded in Nigeria by his biological father Chief Olusola Saraki before spreading to other parts of the Country, which is a definition of poverty. In the last 15 years under the political leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki in Kwara State, despite huge allocations from the Federal Government and unaccountable Internally Generated Revenues, the projects completed are the Aviation College, Kwara State University, Malete, IVTEC Ajase Ipo, Shonga Farm and Kwara Diagnostic Centre Ilorin while the renovated structures are the Airport and Stadium. It may interest you to note that all the projects are self-serving and elitists to his personal gains as the people only benefit insecurity and hunger under his reign.
When an opportunist (that wrecked Society General Bank where depositors fund were never refunded but became extremely wealthy with peoples savings from where he served as Governor of Kwara State and impoverished the people of the State before emerging as accidental Senate President) could open his mouth wide to shift blame of poverty among the people to the shoulders of the President, he doesn’t deserve to be a President because had he governed his State well enough, that State should have been an exemption in poverty classification. Is Senator Bukola Saraki not extremely lucky that his identity crisis tally with the mindsets of good people of North Central at political battle with North West and North East, his fraudulent ilk from the South and Peoples Democratic Party fold that he has held sway for, in protection of their interest against diligent prosecution by the EFCC and Security Agencies in the efforts of the present administration to nail corrupt past leaders and sanitize the society. Since those powerful political demagogues decamped to the PDP and received encomium for creating uproar for the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari since 2015, most killings have stopped again, thinking the sponsored blackmail media blackmail and monetized political mobilization will mesmerize the populace against the President, what a farce!!! At least most of the fraudulent characters that mismanaged the affairs of Nigeria prior to this era are rejoicing that they are harnessing forces against a President working tirelessly to fix the problems of patriotic Nigerians, they rejoice in vain, Nigeria must be great again under President Muhammadu Buhari.
Comrade AbdulRahman Agboola
Former President, National Youth Council of Nigeria
E-mail: [email protected] 08032813279