Today marks five years remembrance of the late political warlord of Kwara, the iconic politician whom we are blessed with in the ancient city of Ilorin, the respected man of his people Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki (1933-2012).
Love him or hate him, the late Turaki and Waziri of Ilorin was indeed a blessing to Kwara political values. Though, not everyone may subscribe to his philosophy of leadership, not everyone will be an adherent of his political school of thought but let’s put all sentiments we may think of, let’s spice them up with curry of prejudice, Saraki snr. was indeed a great leader that commands respects from youngs and olds across the nooks and crannies of the nation.
This piece is not mean to appraise the dead but truth has no double colors except we decide to refer to albino as Whiteman, and it becomes imperative that we allow our reasonings to be guided by facts devoid of fallacies.
Baba Saraki didn’t attained deity’s status amongst his followers on platter of gold especially the people of 70’s and 80’s, he worked hard and sold himself off to the people of Ilorin with humanitarian and philanthropic gestures which were uncommon amongst the wealthy men of his time. One popular Yoruba saying said “you get to a man heart through the route of his mouth” meaning that the late Waziri Ngeri earned his loyalties and respects via what he can give, many were out there whose doors cannot be reached talk less of getting knocked.
To start with, Dr. Olusola Saraki journey to politics was divined but inspired based on advice given to him by the first lawyer in the whole Northern Nigeria Alhaji A.G.F Razak who clocks 90th yesterday, “When I then went back to campaign in 1964, to go to parliament, with a view to be appointed a minister, Sola surfaced. That was two weeks to the election. He told me that he had decided to heed the advice I gave him in Abidjan to go into politics”. This is to make it clear that Oloyee’s generousity was just a means and not the end to his political acceptance.
Having joined politics, he needs power, he needs authority, acceptance, followers that will be hailing hima around among other things, these are necessary tools in the field of politics that cannot be gotten with stinginess, ẹnu ọ̀fìfo kìí dún yànmùyànmù ’empty mouth doesn’t give chewing sound’, it then became imperative for him to buy his way, and that was genesis of his giving out overtly and covertly, the credibility of the gestures should be filed in the court of our creator but ‘torí Ọlọ́hun kò se òsèlú’. Therefore, criticising his style which is similar to Adedibu’s and also offshot of what Fayose of Ekiti proclaims as stomach infrasture needs to be given deep thought by every critique because one must to stand for something or falls for everything.
I must say here that Saraki was a kind of merchants who wanted to sell, buying his products was at discretion of the buyers (Our foreparents), no force, no coercion, they decided to buy from him based on promos and incentives it offered them, the alternatives at their disposal then were not politically convincing, then, buying Saraki style and logic remained the best option they could make in choosing political leader. Those who couldn’t beat him eventually joined his train, while only those who stay off politics could criticise him genuinely without a reason to cover mouth a scenario sharing semblance with what we have today.
Now, whatever political sufferings, ridicule, shame, retrogressiveness and trauma we may have today as people with dignity should not be heaped on Saraki’ shoulder, it should rather be put on doorsteps of our then rich men, wealthy ones, businessmen and social elites who didn’t do enough with their endowments to prevent what we are curing today, they should be blame for leaving the political field for Olusola ọmọ Mutairu L’Abidjan, they should be criticise for closing their doors on people after all, Saraki began with just ordinary drugs sharing as explained by A.G.F “…he went to Lagos and brought some packets of medicine and he put up a mat and a hut in Asa and started giving people injections. These were for people who lacked medical attention. The whole of Asa local government had no hospital at all. If anybody fell sick, they had to take the person to Ilorin”. In short they should be blame for letting their folks made the choice of political leaders we are complaining about today, they shouldn’t have surrendered that, Saraki is politically undefeatable.
To the present generation which I belong, Saraki is not our problem as we have been insinuating, we are our problems by being political apathy and leaving the stage for mediocre, we are our problem for expecting to be paid stipends before we can vote, we are our problems by being cowards and believe Saraki dynasty is a kind of Jericho which our revolutionary Hallelujahs cannot fall, and until we agreed on these, we shall continue to chase shadow. Our elites are also culpable for displaying ignorance of yesterday, you don’t provide better alternatives and you are condemning the option on ground.
If you want to eradicate politics of Puff-Puff, 6yards of clothing material +₦500, if you want to condemn empowerment of clippers and hairdryer, sewing machine, grinding machine, tricycle and motorcycle, you need to be useful, accessible and up and doing. Give out of your personal wealths to empower people with better offers, take out of your personal endowments and accumulations to benefit not only your households but the community at large. Start today before you have political power, do not stop after you lose should you aspire for anything because Gbemi’s dad didn’t stop after his first political loss in 60’s, he rather intensified his efforts and relaunched until he became an Iroko.
It is also high time we stopped blaming those who worshipped father, worshipping son and hoping to worship holy spirit, they are poverty driven, and common sense is an uncommon commodity. They will continue to eat enemy’s food in as much you acclaimed friends failed to put pot on fire, you may be surprised that many would joined their folds should you allow hunger and penury to continue taking tolls from our people.
I would like to conclude this piece with account of what I personally benefited from late Baba Saraki as a teenager in year 2001. It happened that I went to Ilorin township Stadium for democracy day celebration of that year and luckly Baba came and as usual, he shared money. That day, it was ₦50 for each individual and I was lucky to get through the help of the policeman assigned for the distribution, having been bullied out of the queue by those who were older than me. I used that money to purchase some Arabic primers prescribed for us at Madrasah class, the books bought that day include (Fawaqihu Sakta, Inshaul-Wadhi and one other).
May Allah forgives shortcomings of Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki and rewards all his good deeds especially the one I mentioned above.
Bolaji Aladie writes from Gumel, Jigawa State.