BY DEMOLA AKINYEMI
The stream of people flowing into Illorin following the death of Kwara’s one time political leader, Dr. Olusola Saraki is now ebbing giving family members the opportunity to grieve and come to grips over the implications of the loss.
Alhaji Ayiinla Olatunji Saraki, a septuagenarian who is the only surviving male brother of the departed political giant in a moment of reflection spoke to Vanguard on the loss of their senior brother. Excerpts:
HOW was your growing up like with late Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki?
When we were very young, our parents noticed very strange attitudes in Dr Olusola Saraki, particularly our father who was also very rich then. He used to tell us that everything about him was extra ordinary. He said Almighty Allah indeed created him specially with extra time.
He didn’t tell us, even though everything about him was normal as far as we were concerned then. And after pestering our father he would simply tell us that when the time comes, we will all see.
Interestingly he was the eldest of all of us so we didn’t have any reason to begrudge our father then. As far as I’m concerned, the extra ordinary aspect of him actually started when he joined politics. One thing I personally noticed was that anybody born of Saraki who is not a bastard must be generous, but Oloye was excessively generous in his own case particularly when he joined politics.
His love for the masses was unparalleled, everybody who came across him had various pleasant life changing stories of a man who turned their lives around for good to tell about him.
He was to me more than a father. When I traveled to USA in the sixties, he was the one that sponsored me. ,I’m not a politician, I’m a private person, a business man. It was when I was overseas that he contested for the first time and lost.
So when I returned, he introduced me to his people in politics as his immediate younger brother. His death happened at a very wrong time and there was nothing that I wanted that he didn’t give me.
Now that the mantle of leadership of the family has fallen on you, how will you cope?
I have to accept it, I don’t have choice, I know almighty Allah will help me. I will try my best, but I can’t be as Oloye Saraki was because he was more wealthy, the best, he was everything, so nobody can be like him.
There was said to be enmity between Senator Bukola Saraki and his younger sister Senator Gbemisola Saraki which could not be settled until their father’s death, what becomes of that now?
I don’t know why people are just making something out of this issue. The truth is that teeth and tongue used to fight, there is no family without one difference or the other, so it is normal, we will settle everything. I will try my best to ensure that everybody lives together peacefully.
Do you believe that his son, Dr Bukola Saraki can step into his father’s shoes?
Well, nothing is impossible in this life, and I know that with God all things are possible. Bukola is not a stranger to Kwara politics and even Nigeria politics. He was the governor here for two terms of eight years first in the history of Kwara state and he also contested for the presidential primaries of his party, PDP and to me he performed excellent being his first attempt, and considering the heavy weight politicians who were his opponents in that primary. He achieved these feats while his father was still alive.
These are testimonies that he was prepared for the task. We only need to continue to pray for him and continue to support him. If he gets the needed support, I believe he will continue from where his father stopped.