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Kwara: The Saraki crowd

By Iyiola Oyedepo

THIS  is not the best of times for those of us in opposition in Kwara politics. And since Kwara is a  territory conquered by one family, there has been heavy traffic of erstwhile comrades at arms towards the ruling dynasty. There is no Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State.
There is Saraki Family Party (SFP). Whoever tells you he is a member of PDP in Kwara State  is only a PDP pretender. The godfather of Kwara politics today is Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki. He is not a card carrying member of PDP. He is not in the party’s Elder Forum. He is not a member of the party’s Board of Trustee (BOT).

Yet, he, not Bukola,  his son, is the greatest asset for PDP in Kwara State.  There are two broad factions laying claims to PDP in Kwara but one has technically vanquished the other. Some call themselves old or original PDP members. Truly they are the foundation members of the party but with the movement of Dr. Olusola Saraki into the party in 2002, the foundation members  had been uprooted and their structures demolished.

They have fought relentlessly against all odds to capture what they thought belong to them. Real politics cannot work in their favour. Real politics is the perception of those that wield ultimate political authority in the party. The question that is pertinent to the wielders of ultimate political authority in the party is who is in the best position to politically control Kwara State?

Power hawks in Abuja cannot entrust the destiny of their party to those seen as incapable of delivering Kwara to the party or those even when aided to win, the usual landslide victories could not be used to justify the usual arrangee victory . Though these people may not be in the usual crowd of Saraki, the crowd has emasculated them to political irrelevance.

But the crowd is getting thicker and the traffic to Saraki family party (SFP) is getting more and more congested.
This crowd dehumanizes. What did the crowd make of Alhaji Ahman Patigi and Alhaji Babatunde Kasum, two former chairmen of PDP in Kwara State? And what has the crowd made of former governor  Mohammed Shaaba Lafaigi?

A  very vibrant and a political colossus in his own right, the system has consistently denied him political ascendancy commensurate with his political status since leaving office in 1993. He wanted a repeat tenure in 1999,  he had his ambition ruthlessly shot down. He wanted to be national chairman of the PDP, he was denied.

He wanted to be PDP national secretary, a non-starter was preferred. We thought he would be placated with the Kwara slot of an ambassadorial seat, they said the post is for a classroom teacher, who is, politically, a neophyte.

W hen all have been shared and the juicy ones carted away, My Oga is now to mid-wife a state university whose future is not only shaky, but bleak. See how dissolving into the crowd is wasting a bundle of talent! Our leaders are heads over heels in a race to join the crowd.

As erstwhile comrades in the political war front continue to change camps, I continue to ask; have we won? We are fighting against one man dictatorship. Have we won? We are fighting against hereditary politics. Have we won? We are fighting against election manipulations. Have we won? We are fighting against a leadership that celebrates poverty.

Have we won? We are fighting divide and rule as a means of maintaining an underserved political edge in Kwara politics. Have we won? We say we must reject political and financial corruption, deceit and selfishness in politics. Have we won?
The crowd is not good for me despite the allurement. When you join the crowd, you lose your essence, credibility and talent. The crowd can suffocate you. The best of them in the Kwara crowd is a slave. A slave that has money to kill ram during Salah remains a slave if he serves in a government where he could not influence decisions.

A commissioner that builds beautiful houses and rides  fanciful vehicles  is a slave if what he does is watching the lips of his master before he talks. Rubber stamp Assembly members are slaves no matter how many times they go on overseas trips. These people appointed merely to validate constitutional provisions on team work, and thereby eat crumbs from the master’s table are slaves.

He who joins them is therefore a slave and a slave that maintains the status of slavery cannot liberate anybody. I say I will not join the crowd. Future is not today but shortsightedness blurs our vision of tomorrow. If Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki started his political ascendancy more than 35  years ago, he has reached the zenith or the summit.

He must descend, unless gravitational law is now invalidated. As it is for those on political heights, a political career that blossomed  at forty must start to nosedive at seventy – six. Money can not sustain what must give way to effluxion of time.

Even Dr. Olusola Saraki can make his son not only a Turaki but a Waziri, preparing him to take over where he will be forced to stop. If succession of that nature was not viable for better and greater leaders  like  Azikwe, Awolowo, Sardauna, J.S. Tarka and others, the power of Saraki is on the edge of the precipice. A generation goes, another comes. Those that join the crowd will fizzle out with the crowd. I say it is not good to join  the crowd.


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