It is no longer a news that, the sitting Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki who has been tipped as a potential president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria due to his political articulation, network and sagacity to achieve whatever he sets his eyes on and his political progression in the country that eventually made him number three citizen.
No doubt, Saraki is an intelligent person and a goal setter and getter. It would be recalled from a story published by The Watch Magazine in the late 2002 when he was eyeing governorship seat of Kwara State. The publication narrated how Bukola jettisoned a Medical profession for real estate business and how he was doing fine in that business with his ability to take risk by exploiting every opportunity towards recouping his investments which eventually made him one of the youngest millionaires then.
Although, he came into Kwara politics with the support of his late father, Dr Olusola Saraki who was enjoying support of downtrodden in the state, considering his generosity and humility. But we can never dismiss the economic intelligence and exposure of Bukola Saraki which made some elites that were not in support of late Olushola Saraki dominance in the state’s politics to embrace junior Saraki and support him to become governor in 2003 general elections.
Saraki’s legacy as governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011 and his influence amongst his colleague when as the chairman Governors’ Forum made him popular at national and international sphere. Some Kwarans are still proud of his performance till today. His achievements as governor include establishment of Kwara State University, Shonga farm, International Aviation College, Kwara Diagnostic Center and implementation of some other infrastructural development like Post Office Flyover Bridge among many others.
Saraki was seen as new political Professor in the state by those who worked with him at various positions while others perceive him as someone they need to keep impressing if they want to continue government patronage both at the state and national.
This eventually gave chance to sycophants to penetrate his blood as he began acting like tin god. Unconsciously he tripped for the sycophants and made it his way of selecting those he commits political responsibility to without given attention to consequences. Nobody dare tell the ‘almighty leader’ the truth; therefore stop telling him the reality of what is going on in town and state generally. This made the 55years old politician lost touch with the electorates as they only feed him with sweet information that far from what is happening on the street. Since they see it as best way to make him happy and get monetary as well as political gain in returns.
His downfalls started when he forcefully emerged president of the senate against interest of the political party, All Progressives Congress (APC) he rode on to become senator again in 2015. This according to political observers led to his persecution by led-Buhari government he worked for it emergence against all odds.
Apart from that, reliable sources accused Saraki of using Kwara State resources to fund his three years legal battle at Code of Conduct Tribunal colliding with the governor he singlehandedly installed.
The residents started feeling the side effects, especially civil servants, public office holders, contractors, students, and general masses suffers negative effect of non-payment of salaries allegedly diverted to fund his CCT trial in hiring SAN’s and mobilizing people from Kwara for solidarity support for Bukola any time the case comes up in Abuja.
State Civil servants started experiencing percentage in salary payment, political appointees began to experiencing cut pays, with no money to balance contractors that have completed their work or award new major contracts, no more bursary for indigene of state schooling in and outside, and low inflow of money in the state to boost economy and patronage of those doing small scale businesses.
Enlightenment of the masses and majorly civil servants by main opposition party through different radio programs led to uncovering of lapses and corrupt tendency of APC turned PDP led government in the state.
The above and other factors unveils the ‘veil’in masses eyes in the state and when the opposition party, All progressives Congress (APC) came up with the one of the most embraced political slogan O to ge ( ENOUGH IS ENOUGH ) they did not stress themselves much before getting the nods of the masses and suddenly it became an anthem anywhere you go in the state and outside to even presidency.
Gang up of Elites in the state also contributed immensely to fall of Saraki political dynasty. Many educated indigenes of the state were never happy with the way Saraki was controlling the government affairs and how he boasts around that kwara political party is ‘Saraki party’ and as such he is the only person that can determine who gets what in terms of appointment in state and federal. To the extent that anybody that need political and non-political appointments or Government patronage must know him or get a letter of recognition from him in which the elitists see as a big shame on their intelligence which must come to an end.
According to one of the top politicians in the state said that Saraki was never in the good book of majority Kwarans and as result most of the previous elections he won for himself and his stooges were always rigged with the support of federal ‘might’ through security forces. And this can be easily confirmed by outcome of last Saturday election.
Bukola got his calculation wrong by leaving APC to PDP due to what people see as personal ambition to retain senate president seat which he believes it may not be possible if he returns to senate under APC. He took this action without paying much attention to federal might he used to ride on in all previous elections. Saraki was said to have went into bargaining for senate president seat with PDP. Which he confirmed by himself in one of his campaign that “PDP has agreed to make him senate president when they win next presidential election and Kwarans should support vote for PDP based on this” but unknowingly to him many of his supporters and political observers in the state see his action of taking them away from APC as personal interest. It was expected that Bukola should be smart enough and endure whatever persecution he would have been passing through in APC, since no condition is permanent and consider consequences of leaving government at the center.
Election reality, the 2019 National Assembly election that eventually resulted into what looks like the end of Bukola Saraki Political reign in kwara was protest votes against what electorates see as unpleasant style of Bukola politics which has major influence in their life’s. especially civil servants which have strong influence in downward trend.
Furthermore, many people are not happy with the level of infrastructural decay in the state and never stop saying the truth to the hearing of those in government but as a winning politician he believed that he would be able to buy conscience of electorates and electoral umpire with money any time election comes up. But this was met with a waterloo.
The beneficiaries of Bukola’s fall that are now the new emergents in Kwara politics should see this as a big task and opportunity to right Saraki’s wrongs. Which it is believed that only time will tell how far they will go politically compared to 16 years of Bukola reign in the state.
Senator-elect Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe for Kwara Central and other elected federal lawmakers should not see their emergence as a result of their political popularity or capacity but count themselves lucky ones that contested when all forces were tired of Bukola Saraki political reign that people perceived to be causing retrogression in all ramifications in the state. They should capitalise on this uncommon opportunity to write their names with golden pen.
The lessons of his downfall are, with level of political awareness and easy access to real and fake information through social media, any politician that want to continue dominate the game must be ready to be transparent to the people and do the biddings of majority.
Politicians should never undermine the power of masses in waging war against perceived enemy of progress. Political mandate belongs to the masses and masses are ready to support any politician that are transparent to them and ready to give them basic needs of life to make them comfortable and going about their daily activities without hindrance from government policy.
Politicians should be careful not to be carried away with unnecessary praise-singing coming from people around them especially, the sycophants, who only ready to say what pleases them and not the reality on ground..
Physical achievements and good policy that would make life meaningful to the people is the key to political sustainability of any politician that want history to remember him or her for good.
Abdulazeez writes from Ilorin the Kwara State capital