Abdulfatai Yahaya-Seriki, governorship aspirant of All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara has said that the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki lured him with appointment to join in the defection gale to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Yahaya-Seriki, one the 13 Kwara APC governorship aspirants told newsmen in Abuja that he rejected the offer and other entreaties by the Senate President.
Speaking on the insinuations in some quarters that he could be working for Saraki in the APC, Yahaya-Seriki said he was a self-made man and he had no godfather anywhere.
“Some people are insinuating and linking me with the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki. I can confidently say that I have no link with him and I cannot work with him.
“During the gale of defection to PDP, when the information reached Saraki that I was not joining the defecting camp, he sent the state Commissioner for Chieftancy Affairs, from Kiama to invite me over to his house.
“I obliged and we met at his residence in Lake Chad that was the day he offered me an appointment as a Senior Special Assistant. I rejected the offer.
“I declined the offer because of our opposing ideology, the genuine love I have for my people and my desire to salvage them from the political hegemony of Saraki.
“I do not believe in the rule of monarchy as we have it in Kwara. How can a state political structure be under the monarchical hegemony of only one man?”
The aspirant recalled he was a victim of leadership by imposition style of Saraki in Kwara when he wanted to contest for the House of Representatives seat in Kwara in 2015.
“One midnight, they called me to inform me that Saraki had endorsed one of his loyalists, who did not even purchase the nomination and expression of intent form and I was schemed out of the race
“Even with the way I was treated, I still remained loyal to the APC. I was the Coordinator of the Buhari/Osinbajo campaign group.
“I funded the group and mobilised people with my money for the victory of our party,” he said.
Speaking on his life experiences and how he made his fortune, the billionaire miner said he rose from grass to grace with dim of hard work and God’s direction.
“I was born and brought up in Jos about four decades back. I schooled in Jos. Maiduguri and Aba.
“I am popularly known as “From Dust to Gold” because of my experiences and the way I rose from nothing to make fortune.
“I was nobody, born from a poor parentage but to the glory of God I have made fortune in life all by my efforts and God’s direction.
“I did all kinds of work while growing up from hawking of bread and other items, selling of leather bags and a bus conductor to survive. I passed through a lot’’.
He continued: “I was opportune to be born and brought up in a mining environment, precisely Wilbi in Bukuru, Jos South, Plateau state, where tin ore and columbite factory is located.
“I started mining while I was very young. Sometimes I will come back home late and my parents would beat me for entering mining pitch, called “Loto” where they mine tin ore and columbite.
“The mining site was right behind my family house in Jos and I kept on doing that despite all the punishments I received from my parents.
“I kept on with the tin ore mining until we discovered a metallic mineral called tantalum. Later I also went into mining of Zircon and monoxide”.
Yahaya-Seriki said it was the discovery of tantalum, a metallic mineral for export, being use, among other things, for aircraft manufacturing and its parts, that brought him to limelight.
“From Jos, we went as far as Kaduna. Niger, Oyo, Kogi and Kwara states for this mineral resources, tantalum.
“I mine lead in Taraba, Isiagwu, Abakaliki Bauchi and also in Kaduna.
“I also mine gold in Kwara. We have about five sites in Kwara where we are mining gold and I have over 302 workers including 23 expatriates working for me at the Kwara sites.
“I have over 1500 workers in my factories across the country,” he said.
Yahaya-Seriki said after reaching the peak in his business career, he decided to join politics to salvage Kwara from a structure that had enslaved and impoverished the people and eluded the state from development.
“I believe that with all God has blessed me with; it is time for me to give back to the society I came from through purposeful leadership.
“My people have suffered enough from bad leadership.
“It is here in Kwara that you see that the governor, the Commissioners have little or no say in governance and the House of Assembly is a mere rubber stamp,” he said.
The aspirant added: “In the history of Nigeria, Kwara ranked among the first twelve states that were created but it is the least developed among its peers.
“All the industries in the state had gone moribund. The youths are jobless.”
Speaking on the new Kwara APC leadership of the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the aspirant said it would give the members a level playing ground and return the state to its lost glory.
“Unlike Saraki, the minister has demonstrated qualities of good, selfless and just leadership.
“A tree, they say, does not make a forest. Saraki had been what he was in Kwara politics because the people and particularly the youths were supporting him.
“I can tell you categorically that the Kwara people are tired of his hegemonic leadership.
“I can assure you that come 2019, Saraki political era will be over in Kwara,” he said.
Yahaya-Seriki said if he emerged winner, he would use his wealth of experiences in private business and his contacts with expatriates across the globe to attract investments to Kwara.
“I have started by establishing the biggest mining sites in Kwara that has given employment to hundreds of people in the state.
“With my experience and connection with the international bodies I will facilitate growth using my seven point agenda particularly in mining, agriculture and infrastructure development.
“Kwara is blessed with mineral resources. Virtually every local government area in Kwara North has one or two mineral resources deposit.
“In Kwara South there is large deposit of limestone where we can set up a cement factory like that in Obajana. This can be done in partnership with foreign investors.
“We have a lot of gold, tantalum and tin deposits in Kwara and I intend to develop them with the relationship I have been building with foreign partners for over 20 years.
“I will also revive our moribund government establishments like Kwara furniture, Kwara textiles, Kwara Hotels and develop the Owu water falls for tourism attraction,” he said.
Yahaya-Seriki enjoined Kwara youths to stop mortgaging their future by being used for thuggery by politicians.
He also assured the party that he would remain a committed and loyal member and if he did not clinch the party ticket, he would support whoever emerged candidate with his influence and resources.