Sarakites pick their pieces as Kwara landscape changes
A new twist will be added in the annals of Kwara politics come May 29 2019, when a new democratic governor will be sworn in from outside the political ‘kingdom’ of the late Dr. Olusola Saraki.
The kingdom has been invaded by the will of the majority, leading in the process to its abandonment. The remaining followers are also groping in the dark after the leadership has been dethroned. There was no bloody resistance across the state as the invaders equally fought through democratic means rather than with guns, cudgels and fisticuffs.
Already, the dethroned heir, outgoing Senate President, Bukola Saraki, a national leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has lost all the control of the kingdom, including his own enclave.
As it stands at the moment, Saraki will no longer exert control over any governor, Senator, member of House of Representatives, and the entire 24 member of the state's House of Assembly.
Besides, going by the antecedents of how elections are conducted at the level of Local Government Areas in Nigeria, it will not be a surprise when the tenure of the entire 16 serving council chairmen shall expire, their successors are all likely to be members of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It’s always about winners taking everything.
Certainly, this is not the best of moments for the Sarakites, as members of the political empire are called.
Sources said the recent post mortem to review their performance held at 'Ileloke' Ilorin, the political square of Saraki almost turned awry as aggrieved persons suspected to be political thugs became vengeful and visited some Saraki foot soldiers with some assault.
The victims were thought to be responsible for their collective defeat at the polls, as they were alleged to have collected money from "the leader" (Saraki) without a corresponding mobilisation of the eligible voters.
Horsewhips, hard punches were allegedly used on many of them as they fled the scene, littering the spot with abandoned pairs of shoe, sandals and headgears.
But the Publicity Secretary of the PDP in the state, Tunde Ashaolu has debunked the claims, describing it as fiction and figment of the imagination of "the fifth columnists in and around the state."
A recent visit to the ‘Ileloke’ square by The Guardian showed that the hitherto Mecca for all sorts of politicians has become a ghost of its old self. The snail-speed, with which motorists used to drive past the single lane road adjoining the Civil Service Clinic end of the road, has suddenly disappeared.
Hajia Nimota Aduke Ibrahim, a former Commissioner for Education in Kwara and an ex-lawmaker in the state house of Assembly said the dynasty remained intact despite suffering its only and heaviest defeas since its existence some four decades ago.
"Let it be known to the whole world that the Sarakites did not lose these elections to the voters but to the propaganda of the opposition. We have learnt our lessons in a big way and we shall soon be back at the saddle," Ibrahim said in a chat with The Guardian in Ilorin.
A source on condition of anonymity said political education of eligible voters in Saraki's camp during the build up to the elections was poor, especially among the aged women in Ilorin, who usually formed the largest bloc of voters for the dynasty.
He noted, "these set of women are illiterate and were confused with the voting system adopted. Due to the registration of over 70 political parties for the polls, many of these older ones could not even recognise the logo of the PDP and therefore wrongly cast their votes to the opposite sides. Countless of them voided their votes in the process."
For the 'Jagunmolu' (victorious warrior) of Shao in Moro LGA of Kwara Chief Stephen Wole Oke, the reverse was the case, as he noted that Saraki lost to bad leadership and governance at both the local and the state levels.
"The margin of the defeat was overwhelming. It was over 100 per cent. So what is the proportion of the aged women voters to the over all voters in the polls? I think the era of godfatherism is gone forever in Kwara politics. People should just accept this simple fact. The deception period is over; this is the moment of enlightenment, "Oke, a stalwart of the APC in the state said.
In the same vein, one of the leaders of the APC in Kwara who was also a former chairman of the party in the state and an ex-Chief Whip in the state House of Assembly, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo said, "the outcome of 2019 elections in Kwara State is newsy to the whole world especially those that know of our brand of one man dominated 'democracy' in the State.
"As a result of years of domination, nobody in Nigeria gave us any chance that we ever could be free. The deep-rooted and decades of domination has turned political oppression to our own culture. And the people of Nigeria think that we relish in this culture that devalues us as a state and as human beings.
"But I am now fulfilled. We started in earnest to hit the wall of oppression and misgovernment in 2002. When Governor Mohammed Lawal was fraudulently edged out of power in 2003, through a fraudulent conspiracy at the highest level of government in this country."
One man who believes in quick resurgence of the Sarakites is the chairman of the PDP in the state, Engineer Kola Shittu.
According to the Offa born politician, "we know that our people love us and voted massively for us. But we cannot discuss many other things on pages of newspapers now. One thing I will not hesitate to say however, is that we shall bounce back in no long a time."
How soon that will be, nobody can tell now. But what is already a source of worry to ardent Sarakites is that some of them who are lily-livered are already showing signs of caving in.
Whereas those who were in the opposition while the Sarakites held sway remained in the opposition for decades, some Sarakites are already thinking of defection, according to reports.
Ashaolu described such fellows if any as "traitors", just as he said a reorganisation of the structure of the party along the membership level may occur to give the people a focal point for the main time.
Femi Yusuff, one of the local youth leaders of the APC described any defection plan by the PDP as a welcome development adding, "if they want to cross to the winning side, they are welcome. I am sure they have learnt their lessons in a bitter way."
But the Publicity Secretary of the APC in Kwara Dr. Rex Kola Olawoye urged such fellows to go to their wards and register adding, "they have no value to add to us now. The elections are over. In any case, are they coming to upstage us? We already have the mandate of the people to lead the state in all areas from the date of inauguration till the next four years."
As the people eagerly await the inauguration of a new government, they are equally expecting the fulfillment of the campaign promises of the APC government, driven to the pinnacle of power by 'O to ge e' slogan.