KWARA: The Quagmire Of Corruption And Oppression
“Senator” Bukola Saraki is a very lucky chap. He is a very smart person. He is very intelligent. He is greatly endowed. His pedigree is that of a silver spoon. He is eminently well educated. He is also well gifted as a politician. As a scion of the Saraki family, he has shown like a star and over shines all of his other siblings.
Well tutored by his father, former Senate Leader, late Chief Olusola Saraki, popularly known as “Oloye” among his Kwaran faithful, in the ways and means of politics, Bukola has taken the lesson very well. He has shown this by being the governor of Kwara for two terms. His father was never a governor of that state but was a recurrent king maker in that state, Bukola has also become a “Senator.” To surpass his father, he also succeeded in reportedly stealing the Senate Presidency. He has since brought the highest law making body of the country into disrepute.
Bukola obviously took more than the lessons of politics from his father. He learnt how to hold people in bondage. He learnt how to keep people down. He learnt how to prop up feudalistic institutions as opposed to the liberating institutions that could help improve the lives of Kwarans. He fostered the enslavement of the Kwaran people that his father put in place and exploited it beyond what his feudalistic father could ever have imagined.
In the course of his trajectory, Bukola has been mean. He has been cold. He has been calculating. He has been ruthless. He has no qualms showing that the blood flowing in his own veins is different from the one flowing in the veins of other Kwarans. One has no idea where he got that belief. But that is what he believes. And he acts it out in the open unashamedly. He believes he is entitled. He believes that he is the issue in the Kwaran politics and not the Kwara people.
“No man can put a chain about the ankle of his fellow man without at last finding the other end fastened about his own neck.” - Frederick Douglas.
Bukola learnt how to be a godfather from his father and even used the same tricks taught him by his father to shame the same father, reportedly into untimely death! It was also reported that his father was so distraught about the antics of his son that he cursed him. It was reported that his father, on his dying bed, told everyone who cared to listen that Bukola would meet his waterloo and end up shamefully! How efficacious is this curse remains to be seen. Time will soon tell.
Meanwhile, Bukola also learnt how to become more dexterous in looting the people’s commonwealth. He proved that to his late father’s cheering by looting and bankrupting the Societe General Bank. He reportedly stole 40 billion naira from the Intercontinental Bank through a loan without any collateral. His reported major collaborator was Sanusi Lamido Sanusi currently hiding under the Emirship of Kano to escape prosecution and explanation of how he mismanaged over 600 billion Naira of Nigeria’s money as Central Bank Governor!
Bukola went ahead to attain the infamous title allegedly as the “most notorious bank bandit” in Nigeria’s history by looting to liquidation the Kwara State owned Trade Bank. With this on top of the looting of Kwara State into stupor, he believed he had arrived. And indeed he had. This gave him the courage to hang his father politically and imposed his crony in AbdulFatah Ahmed. He was the new layer in the quagmire of corruption and oppression in the beloved State of Kwara.
Governor Ahmed continued the mismanagement of Kwara State on behalf of his mentor, Bukola Saraki. Ahmed has been so efficient in the mismanagement of the state’s fund that he not only further enriched his kleptomaniac slave master in Bukola, but allegedly managed to enrich himself too. Analysts posit that it is often in the art of mismanagement that kleptomaniac politicians thrive in their act of looting. It seems this might have been a truism in the sordid affairs of Kwara State.
Presently, a travesty is being perpetrated in Kwara State under the Òdájú Governor Ahmed who has been deducting the salaries of civil servants to pay a loan he had taken without consulting them. He paid October 2015 salary on January 28, 2016 - three months behind schedule. Shamelessly and audaciously, he deducted 10% from that same salary. A 10% deduction of his own salary would be of no effect on him or any member of his own family. But for an average family in Kwara State, that 10% definitely could not be anything but a lifeline. It could be a difference in so many ways.
But the point is that to saucy “Senator” Saraki and his pompous protégé, Governor Ahmed, the average Kwaran is less than a human being; he is not deserving of any freedom; he should not be allowed to determine his own destiny other than the one decided for him by the godfather. The average Kwaran is a land tiller in the feudalized Kwaran political system whose fortune or misfortune depends on the gratuitous magnanimity of the feudal lord of Kwaran politics.
“Be not discouraged. There is a future for you….. The resistance encountered now predicated hope…. Only as we rise….. do we encounter opposition.” - Frederick Douglass
Kwarans are expected to work for the comfort of the godfather and his cronies. They are not entitled to the same level of comfort. Their destiny as determined by “Senator” Saraki is to remain in perpetual political, economic and social slavery. Both Saraki and Ahmed have not just come across as mean spirited, they have proved to all that they are what the Yoruba will call abatenijé. Or worse stillamunisin.
The laws of the land have been trying hard to bring “Senator” Saraki to justice, but he has been manipulating the system to postpone what appears to be his doomsday. But On February 5, this year, he was liberated from his own intricate web of dubious cocoon by the Supreme Court of the land – a Supreme Court that has been so frustrating to the generality of Nigerians who considered its decision on Saraki an exception.
“Senator” Saraki is now free to answer the charges brought against him. It is a kind of a weird freedom. But, nevertheless, it is still a sort of freedom. He should embrace it. He should revel in it. He should use the opportunity to answer the nagging questions. It is an opportunity for him to be accountable. He should avail himself the opportunity to convince Nigerians that he deserves to be a member of the highest law making body of the country, not to speak of being its president.
The greatest enemy of Saraki is Saraki himself and the shadows of his own shady deals. A complex character that exudes bogus boldness and gaudiness in his antics, Saraki is vainglorious, pretentious and obviously shameless. He has shown over and over that he has no scruples whatsoever. His temerity, effrontery and audacity knows no bounds, otherwise, he would not have collaborated in allegedly forging the rules to become the Senate President. He has sharp instinct for rapacity. He is very predatory and plunders with glee. He is a bandit blatant in his debasement.
Saraki, it seems from his exploits in the national assembly so far, has mastered the art of deceit, deception and duplicity. He, evidently, does not give a damn about Kwara and Kwarans except for his own political ends. He obviously covets and chases power by all and any means necessary. Saraki evidently thinks that by being in power, or close to power is the best way to impede the long arms of the law and protect his loots.
From the experience of what happened to his father, it is very clear that Saraki has no loyalty to anyone, friends or family. He would betray and disgrace anyone, sacrifice anyone, humiliate anyone and blackmail anyone. With the bitterness that emblazoned his father through his machinations, and the ruthless annihilation of his sister, Saraki is unrepentantly perfidious, treacherous and traitorous.
From his trajectory, it is clear that in Saraki’s books, nothing matters except his own ambitions. He could be appropriately described as not just one of the Judases of our generation, he is also one of the Brutuses of this era. To him everybody, no matter how close and intimate, no matter how influential, powerful, connected or lowly, is usable and dispensable. To him everything, no matter how valuable and precious, is disposable.
But, guess what, the chicken is on its way home to roost! Freedom bell is now ringing for the people of Kwara. They have been fooled for a long time, but not anymore. They have been taken for a ride for several decades but not anymore. They have been held in bondage for so long but not anymore. They have been exploited for so long but not anymore. They have been impoverished for so long but not anymore.
Power concedes nothing without a demand. It never did and it never will. Find out what any people will quietly submit to and you have found out the exact measure of injustice and wrong which will be imposed upon them, and these will continues till they are resisted with either words or blows, or both. The limits of tyrants are prescribed by the endurance of those whom they oppress.” - Frederick Douglas.
The peopleof Kwara have decided to resist tyranny by publicly stoning Bukola Saraki. That public stoning of Saraki is just a rehearsal of what is yet to come. It is hoped that Kwara people would be able to follow up by throwing off the yoke of Saraki family. It is hoped that they would be able to kneecap the oppression being fostered by Governor Ahmed on behalf of his mentor. It is hoped that they would be concerned enough about themselves, the future of their children and the posterity to follow through with their struggle against feudalism, oppression, exploitation and subjugation.
For the people of Kwara the time has come for them to liberate themselves. To the people of Kwara, “the chance is now given you to end in a day the bondage of centuries, and to rise in one bound from social degradation to the place of common equality with all other varieties of men,” as once again, Frederick Douglass has remonstrated. It is time for the oppressed people of Kwara to take control of their destinies.
“In the long history of the world, only a few generations have been granted the role of defending freedom in its hour of maximum danger. I do not shrink from this responsibility – I welcome it.”
- John F. Kennedy, in his Inaugural Address January 20, 1961
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