OPINION: Saraki, o to gee!!! (Enough is enough!) By Abdulrazaq Magaji

Date: 2017-07-08
Like other Africans, the Yoruba people of south west and north central Nigeria have a way with words. The One of their enduring sayings, often employed to end disharmonious relationships literally translates 'a man you serve for long without any positive change to your status is not worthy of your service!'

By 2019, the long-suffering people of Kwara state would have, directly and indirectly, slavishly served Senator Bukola Saraki for 20 years with virtually nothing to show for their loyalty! 2019 is time for the people to tell Dr. Saraki: 'O to gee!' (Enough is enough) The 2019 general election presents the long-suffering people an opportunity to make a clean break with the past. It is either they win by voting to reclaim their destiny or lose by sticking with the status quo and remain the bellyachers they have been all along!

The expectation is that the people, having agonised over the years will do things differently in 2019. The next election presents an opportunity for the noble people of Kwara state to rise to the occasion if the state must avoid the costly mistake of the past. The governorship race in Kwara state which has, in recent years generated uncommon interest is an opportunity for the people to break the asphyxiating hold of gripers.

This time around, Kwara state cannot afford to get it wrong. To get it wrong is to retain the status quo, a certainty in the event of another stooge being elected to govern in 2019. The choice before the people of Kwara state in 2019 is to end their enslavement to politicians whose sole aim in government is anything but noble. If things do not change in 2019 and Senator Bukola Saraki is allowed to install another stooge at Government House, Ilorin, chances are resources of the state will continue to be used to fuel the false lifestyle of the senate president, his family members and allied hangers-on.

What this means is that the caretaker government that gets installed will have to tinker with the books, as has been the practice thus far, to reimburse the billions of Naira needed to keep the multi-million Naira legal team that is battling to keep the Senator Saraki out of trouble. The controversy-prone senate president was on course when, in a recent interview he claimed, and, cheekily too, that he could not even put a figure to his worth! For a man who has excelled more in politics than his calling as a medical practitioner, the brash confession should not be taken on its face value!

Deferring to Dr. Saraki by installing his handpicked candidate as governor in 2019 is a return to the famished, bumpy and anger-inducing road of the past decade and half. The only bulwark against this is for the people to identify and elect noble candidates into political offices. Reference here is to individuals who are beyond reproach; individuals who will improve the state and not those who will hold down the cow to be milked by a principal.

Without recourse to political affiliations, it is time to elect honest and dedicated individuals that the people of Kwara state can truly call their own! Beginning with the governorship race, the next election provides an opportunity to elect a candidate who will not hold the treasury in trust for freeloaders to pilfer. Several individuals fit the bill! Top on the list is Alhaji Abdulrauf 'Lai Mohammed, Nigeria's minister of information. It is instructive that the information minister, as Chief of Staff in the administration of Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu played an active role in laying solid foundations for the ongoing socio-economic transformation in Lagos state.

Since quitting that post for the national political stage, Lai Mohammed has proved, through diligence to assigned roles and duties, that he has a key role to play in salvaging Kwara state.

Today, the stands out among the motley crowd that could be called upon to get Kwara state out of the disharmonious state it has been forced into by years of unrestrained plunder. The last time he participated in the governorship primaries in Kwara state, hired third rate publicists projected him as a Lagos politician (whatever that means!) who had no business aspiring to be governor of Kwara state!

Once again, the talebearers went to town when he was announced as ministerial nominee for Kwara state. But, not a man given to frivolities, President Muhammadu Buhari thought otherwise in the belief that 'Lai Mohammed will deliver. Neither the president nor the Nigerians Lai mohammed was appointed to serve has been disappointed! The ongoing

transformation in next door Osun state is an indication of what Kwara state stands to gain from the experience Lai Mohammed gained from the success story in Lagos state.

It has been the frustration with the subsisting caretaker arrangement in Kwara state that forced the peace-loving people of Kwara state to haul stones and invectives at so-called political leaders! It is an irony of fate that the never-do-well political arrangement that exposed a wonderful people into objects of insults and butts of derisive joke from their neighbours was allowed to subsist for so long! At the expiration of the current caretaker government, the people of Kwara state do not deserve another surrogate or puppet governor!

It will be a tragedy if, in 2019, a state that brims with educated, intelligent, god-fearing and incorruptible people elects to provide sanctuary for slave-owning politicians who do not appreciate the demarcation between state funds and personal bank accounts! The straight-thinking people of Kwara state should quit dancing to the weird drumbeat of a larcenous, self-serving few and be prepared to return the famed 'State of Harmony' to its state of harmony.

There should be no excuses for mind-blowing tales of looting of the treasury by puppets and puppeteers in Kwara state after 2019! O to gee!

Magaji is based in Abuja

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