By abiodunbalo • 15th Mar 2019 • 43 views • 9 comments


When the results of the senatorial elections

began to appear three weeks ago, and it became obvious

that Bukola Saraki had been utterly defeated by his old

nemesis, Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe , many of his social media

rats, as well as even editors of mainstream Nigerian

media establishments , launched a pre - planned offensive .

Their approach was a systematic dis - information project

that was desperate, even at that late hour , to convince the

Nigerian public, that their “ walking- bank - balance, ” was

winning the elections . As usual , with Bukola Saraki and

his hangers - on , the situation of our people in Ilorin and

Kwara State , was merely an inconvenient backdrop to his

over - arching political ambitions. But this time , their plot

had taken a dead - on - arrival trip to the morgue of Nigerian

politics ! Bukola Saraki had literally been skinned alive by

the people of Ilorin Emirate (Kwara Central Senatorial

District ). Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe won by 123, 808 votes , to

Bukola Saraki’ s 68 , 994!

The jubilation that followed the announcement of the

results (and at a point everyone was apprehensive that it

was not going to come , because the results for Ilorin West

and Ilorin South took a frighteningly long time to be

returned!) , was as deafening as it was most liberating .

Arguably , the most reviled , most unpopular individual in

contemporary Nigerian politics , had finally gotten his

comeuppance ! Nigerians rejoiced all over our country and

thanked the people of the Ilorin Emirate for exorcising the

political monster that had used a dubious Senate

Presidency to hamstring the programmes of the Buhari

Administration , from the time he constructed a coup in

June 2015 , which earned him the poisoned chalice that

the eminent seat became , in his hands . Not only did

Bukola Saraki lose the seat, the people of our state

ensured that the other two senatorial seats in Kwara North

and South respectively, were also won by the APC , as well

as the six House of Representatives positions. Last

weekend , the final nail was knocked into the casket of the

Saraki Hegemony in the state when Saraki ’ s PDP lost the

governorship as well as the 24 seats in the Kwara State

House of Assembly . It was a rout ; a whitewash and the

definitive end of a dubious , monstrous and incredibly

arrogant hegemony that systematically underdeveloped

Kwara State ; which was built as an elaborate fraud and a

platform of heist that had no parallel in Nigeria ’ s political

history .

The roots of the Saraki hegemony effectively went back to

1979 , when their patriarch , Dr Olushola Saraki , entered the

Senate and was Senate leader ( but we might even date

the roots to a few years earlier with the indirect elections

into the Constituent Assembly and his active participation

in the National Movement that eventually transformed into

the NPN in the Second Republic ).

The Saraki Hegemony was instrumental in the emergence

and removal of six Kwara State governors : Adamu Attah ,

C . O . Adebayo, Sha ’ aba Lafiagi, Muhammed Lawal, Bukola

Saraki and Abdulfatai Ahmed . They hamstrung each

governor , imposed control and generally made life difficult

for each one of these governors, except for only one , and

that one was Bukola Saraki , who ran the state , at the

height of the powers of the hegemony, with an uncommon

arrogance , disrespect for people and the values of our

people and state , and who eventually imposed a long- term

sidekick , Fatai Ahmed as governor. Bukola Saraki had

actually checkmated , for personal reasons of sibling

rivalry and the need to protect his controversial eight - year

tenure, the temerity to attempt to impose Gbemisola

Saraki as governor , after serving for 12 years in the

National Assembly as representative and then Senator ,

representing a people she literally knew nothing about .

And for the eight years that Fatai Ahmed was governor,

2011 - 2019 , Bukola Saraki was effectively the Governor -

General of Kwara State!

The period from 2003 to 2019 , is arguably the WORST in

the history of Kwara State . And central to these years was

the arrogant presence of Bukola Saraki . It was the period

that the state received the highest level of allocation in our

history since it was created in 1967 , yet , it was the period

which witnessed the execution of projects that impacted

very little , in terms of value, on the lives of Kwarans .

The 16 local governments, between 2003 and 2018, got a

total of N 298, 434, 186, 870. 78 from the Federation

Account. Yet , for the past few years , they have been

unable to pay salaries of staff . The local administration is

dead and most , if not all the local secretariats , exist only

in name.

When Bukola Saraki took over in 2003, he dissolved the

elected councils from the previous Muhammed Lawal

administration and for the next two years , Bukola Saraki

was effectively the sole administrator, till 2005 . There is

no account of their funds till today! The suffering of local

government workers, the ruination of the administrative

structures as well as the utter destruction of the ability of

local government administration to impact upon the lives

of people at the local level , was actually one of the

greatest crimes of the Saraki Hegemony in our state .

That led to the massive drift of young rural folks to the

main urban centers of the state , but especially Ilorin , the

state capital . These survive as urban lumpens , who live

marginally , as ‘ okada’ riders , recharge cards sellers , and

are involved in sundry petty crimes , to make ends meet .

Many are on drugs and a lot had been recruited into

gangs, cults and political thugs that the Saraki Hegemony

used to terrorise the state for the last 16 years .

Any visitor to Ilorin would notice how dysfunctional the

city has become . There is no development control and the

hegemony has parcelled out every available piece of land

and sold , in a lunatic and desperate search for funds ,

after the state and local government allocations have

gone down the drain on projects deliberately cooked up to

take away money from our state.

As for the state government, it has taken over N 600 billion

from the Federation Account, yet , there is no aspect of our

lives that the Saraki Hegemony has not devalued ,

destroyed or sold . An elder of the community, Alhaji LAK

JImoh, used the Agricultural Nursery by Oyun River

Bridge , as an example in a discussion last year . He

reminded us that it was one of the best nurseries in

Nigeria at some point . They created new species of fruits ,

plants and one time even developed a hybrid mango that

came from using stock from Burkina Faso . People came

from all over Nigeria to buy these . Similarly , military

administrator, Peter Ogar , encouraged the development of

a new variety of pineapples at the nursery . But what did

the Saraki Hegemony do ? They sold the nursery ,

dismantled and sold the entire Ministry of Agriculture and

related institutions which dated back to colonial times and

the Northern Regional Government , and a place where ,

under the late Governor David Bamgboye , Eagle Rice,

Chicken and so many other food products were sold at

reasonable prices . Alhaji LAK Jimoh said the years of the


Saraki Hegemony, 2003 - 2019 , resemble an invasion of a

community by Barbarian hordes of Antiquity ! Scam was

practically central to every project conceived from

2003 - 2019 , none more so , than the Zimbabwe Farm which

is a large scale heist . Huge sums of money were

expended and when he imported cows for the farm,

Bukola Saraki even arrogantly ordered all our First Class

traditional rulers to the Ilorin Airport , to await the arrival of

his cows ! Not a single product of that controversial farm

entered the markets or homes of Kwarans in whose name

billions of naira was expended . The local people lost their

land to the so- called Zimbabwean farmers , who entered

our state with only suitcases! Yet , the farm served the

purpose of taking away our resources and no one talks

about them any longer .

Similarly , loans were taken in our name to build a Shoprite

outlet on the land of the Kwara State Civil Service College .

Today , it does not belong to our state . Another side of the

hegemony was bringing in people from other states to

head vital institutions , so Tope Daramola , who was said

to be Bukola Saraki’ s Account Officer at Intercontinental

Bank , was compensated with the position of director of

Bureau of Land in Kwara State. But following an outcry ,

the Bukola Saraki hegemony appointed the Ondo State

indigene MD of the cash cow called Harmony Holdings ,

the omnibus vehicle through which Kwara funds are done

as they wished . And for years , whenever a minister was

appointed from Kwara State , the SA was either Koye

Sogbola or Kola Alagbada . These are sidekicks from

Bukola ’ s days at the Societe Generale Bank ! It is also part

of the legacy of the Saraki Hegemony , it took down three

banks : Societe Generale Bank ; Trade Bank and

Intercontinental Bank . This is a unique record in Nigeria ’ s

political economy ! The obsession was money that

belonged to Kwara State and how much can be alienated

as the personal resources of the Saraki Hegemony .

There is a well- known story that Kwara State is the only

inheritance that Dr Olushola Saraki bequeathed to the

family . Bukola Saraki, therefore , carried on with a sense

of entitlement which explains the indefensible pension

scheme that he crafted for himself . He built a house

occupying half of a street in the GRA and there are stories

around the house . He was said to have rejected the

house , preferring to be paid the huge sum it was built for .

Then a few years later, the house was handed out to his

family as a birthday present. A classic case of head I win ,

tail you lose! That is a well- known story in Kwara , but the

truth will come to light only with the new administration .

Similarly , there are the ALIMI LODGES, located behind the

Government House in Ilorin . In 2010, Bukola Saraki was

said to have renovated them at a princely sum of N 1

billion and a year later in 2011 , they were monetised for

him at only N 100 million , so the story goes . But , because ,

it was further alleged , that the state government owed him

some money , the N100 million was allegedly deducted to

cover the cost ! And to rub salt unto injury, Bukola Saraki

got his sidekicks in the State House of Assembly to move

a motion that the State University , built by his father- in -

law ’ s construction company , be named after his father,

Olushola Saraki! I had wondered at the time , just why

Bukola Saraki won ’ t show love for his father by taking out

of the huge sums he made from Kwara , to build a private

university in Ilorin and name it after his father? It would

have been social responsibility of the highest order . This

is because the Saraki Hegemony has no economic

investment worth the name, whatsoever, in Kwara State .

They only ever take out of the state !

Kwarans actually wizened to the rapacious nature of the

Saraki Hegemony since 2011 . Walahi , Bukola Saraki had

been defeated even in the 2011 senate elections by Dr

Ibrahim Oloriegbe , but dubious numbers were added from

the Asa local government area. In 2015 , he benefitted

from the President Muhammadu Buhari effect, to return to

senate . That is obvious , because President Buhari got

more votes in Ilorin than Bukola Saraki . It meant that

President Buhari won in our community, in spite of Bukola ,

not because of him! So when he began to arrogantly claim

that he was going to teach the president politics , he

probably did not add up the numbers even in the

constituency that he was supposedly representing in

senate ! In the long run , he was the one that was taught the

most bitter political lesson, not by President Buhari

directly , but by the people of the Kwara Central Senatorial

District who saw through his arrogance , the 16 - year

systematic underdevelopment of the state , under his

watch and the manner he behaved as if he was doing us a

favour, sitting atop our resources . He imposed individuals ,

often from other states to run strategic institutions . They

knew they were not deserving of those positions so did

only Bukola Saraki’ s biddings , to the detriment of the best

interests of the state . They sold houses and institutions ,

devalued whatever they could not sell and in 16 years ,

instituted a culture of violence, drugs , cult killings , open

and clandestine prostitution as their economic activities

and destroyed the fabric of family life in our state!

It was clear to Kwarans that Bukola Saraki was actually a

paper tiger and one that could and would be defeated in a

free and fair electoral process . People from other parts of

Nigeria were often fixated in their assessment of our

situation , seeing Bukola Saraki and by extension , the

Saraki Hegemony, as infallible. And who can blame them ;

they have seen the Saraki , Pere et Fils , anoint and remove

governors, senators , representatives , as well as local

politicians and potentates for over a generation, effective

from 1979 to 2019 . But nothing lasts forever ! The period

from 2003 especially, has seen a steady evolution of the

demography of Nigeria in general , and Kwara State in

particular. Dr Olushola Saraki , had a common touch; he

was the classic master of Nigerian politics , securing

political bigwigs and serving personal or family interest in

manners that made people think that he cared for them .

He was also generous with money and had a sensitive

nature that made people see kindness more than

ruthlessness . Not for Bukola Saraki. His start and end

points were his self and that insatiable appetite for power ,

as an end to alienating financial resources for himself .

Ruthlessness was and is first nature and even a smile that

the Prophet once described as charity , was and always is

for him, a political weapon. He disrespects everybody and

respects none ; not our elders ; not our Emirs ; not our

values and not our institutions . He calls people as old as

his father by first name while people in his presence were

expected to kneel down . He would fiddle with his phone or

pretend to be sleeping when people talk to him. These for

a chap who has no royal lineage of any sort , and is just a

second generation nouveau riche ! Riches , which

unfortunately has not come from hard work , but from

being at the controlling levers of governance !

As I said , demography was going to be his undoing. While

his father could ensure a steady flow of old women to his

residence , those who infamously ate eba and were given

waso ( N20 notes ) regularly and would always vote for

Saraki’ s candidates . The trend from 2011, was that

younger people were becoming the most important factor

in our politics . They had been educated , often badly , in

the schools that Bukola Saraki and his successor allowed

to run down , they increasingly had access to modern

communication gadgets and were no longer content to be

children of the 21 st Century form of slavery that Bukola

Saraki was presiding over . They also had the advantage

of access to information about strides in development in

neighbouring and distant states in the country which

social media platforms allowed them to share around . The

growth of private radio stations broke communication

monopoly in the state and the leading lights of the

opposition such as Iyiola Oyedepo, Rex Olaoye , Alhaji

Alajagusi , as well courageous clerics like Dr Abubakar

Aliagan and Dr Olohun Oyin , reached homes around the

state , with analyses of how Kwara State was

systematically ruined by the Saraki Hegemony . The final

and I think most important factor, were the people

themselves. They lived through the indignities of the past

16 years and decided they’ ve had enough . The first show

of strength was in the November 2017 local government

elections . The then opposition PDP defeated the ruling

APC all over the state . Bukola Saraki and his hangers - on

panicked and they forcibly changed results in a most

untidy manner, but that emboldened people that change

was indeed possible and achievable ! A new set of unlikely

heroes emerged , the standard bearer of which was

Musbau Eshinrogunjo. He won the chairmanship of Ilorin

West local council which the Saraki clan claims as home.

Refusal to allow him take the chairmanship seat deepened

resentment and spiked the radical resolve to end the

Saraki Hegemony!

The final piece in the elaborate jigsaw was Bukola

Saraki’ s decision to leave the ruling APC , for the PDP . He

arrogantly sealed his own fate. He forgot the lesson of his

family ’ s longevity in politics : never abandon the party of

power in the center . It is that crucial control of state

power and ability to influence the electoral body as well as

security men deployed during elections , spplemented with

their own thugs, that has been central to the Saraki

mythology of political control in Kwara State . So when his

fight against the center led to the arrest of a lot of his

thugs and cultists, the space opened for the opposition to

organise with little molestation. And by the time he

abandoned the APC , the old opposition moved in . The

death knell of the Saraki Hegemony was just a matter of

time . Last year , his PDP lost a by- election in Kwara South

and the state knew that we had him where we wanted

him, trapped! The results of the presidential, National

Assembly , governorship and State House of Assembly

elections underlined just how totally the Saraki Hegemony

has been routed by our people . I spent the past 12 years

exposing the rapacity of the Saraki Hegemony , at points

when they seemed at the zenith of their power . It was a

lonely effort , which was misunderstood even by the

victims of the underdevelopment that the Saraki

Hegemony was foisting on our state. Today , our people

have buried forever , the Saraki Hegemony ! It is absolutely

unacceptable that a single family should ever be allowed

to determine the fate of millions of people . It can only be a

recipe for disaster . Democracy must remain the right to

dissent as well as the power of the people to dismantle the

likes of the Saraki Hegemony , as the people of Kwara

state did so heroically ! Nothing lasts forever ; not

oppressive use of power, not a hegemony!

Is ’ haq Modibbo Kawu is the director general , National

Broadcasting Commission ( NBC) .

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