Imperative of APC’s new bridge to Kwara’s grassroots
With the alleged marginalization of grassroots supporters of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Kwara State due to activities of disloyal aides, the onus is on Senate President Bukola Saraki to revitalize the political structure of his late father as 2019 election year approaches.
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki may require the wisdom of Solomon and knowledge of Aristotle to command total loyalty of his followers in Kwara State ahead of 2019 general elections.
This is may have stemmed out of alleged disenchantment of some of Saraki’s supporters to the attitudes of his foot soldiers, many of who have remained unfaithful to his political philosophy of a welfare government.
At present, many ‘Sarakites’ are lamenting what they termed abandonment by the Senate leader, just as they deplored alleged lull in the activities of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), which they claimed has robbed them of political patronage.
Besides, sources said the Senate President was yet to fully recover from the shock of last council elections, which they said have shown that the opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was becoming more popular in many Local Government Areas of the state.
The situation was compounded with the way that some of the aides of the Senate President have allegedly been alienating their principal by maltreating the supporters.
Even the Ilorin version of the recent wedding of Saraki’s daughter was believed to have been used by some of his lieutenants to enrich themselves at the expense of the invited guests.
To worsen the situation, no one is willing to speak on the matter but few others under conditions of anonymity confirmed the “anger of Oga with many of us. In fact, many of us now fill visitors form before being allowed to see him in Ilorin his country home.”
Saraki, who inherited the political empire from his late father, Olusola, equally retained many of the “foot soldiers,” majority of who showed unblemished loyalty to the late great politician but romancing with the son with their two eyes on pecuniary gains.
According to sources, “during the planning stage of the wedding, Saraki had commissioned two ‘trusted women’ in the dynasty to arrange for feeding of the invited guests at the fixed rate of N3, 500 per plate. But the two women eventually negotiated their ways through to secure a plate for the sum of N2, 000 and pocketed a sum of over N5million in the process.
“When some of the guests complained of poor services, the Senate President summoned the duo and extracted from them, confessions, just as they blamed it on satanic influences.
“Besides, Saraki during one of his pre councils election visits to Ilorin had asked one of his supporters to help disburse some funds to the aged and less privileged ones in the town. The said aide was said to have slashed the lump sum into two and kept the half inside the booth of his Honda car.
“Moments after, a fifth columnist came and exposed the matter to the Senate President. Saraki did not show any interest initially but when the indicted man returned with tales of insufficiency of funds, he asked the him to release his car key to another person to bring out the stolen funds and distribute same to the targeted beneficiaries.”
The development is an advantage to the opposition PDP as the leadership of the party is using it as a campaign tool telling the people of the need to effect a change in the leadership baton as the APC government would further enslave them.
But Spokesman of the state’s chapter of APC, Sulyman Buhari dismissed “all the speculations about Saraki and his followers,” noting that the Senate President have unflinching confidence in them.
He said, “Our political leader (Saraki), is a man of honour and integrity. He has no axe to grind with anybody. We are one big happy family and no amount of speculations would scatter us. So there is nothing like the loss of confidence in our political circle.”
Saraki, while serving as the governor of Kwara, once told reporters of the need for political office holders to embark on poverty alleviation scheme as a way of giving back to the people. He had predicted that only political office holders with penchant for welfare assistance would maintain their relevance and retain their popularity among the people.
Since his election into the upper legislative chamber from Kwara Central Senatorial District, Saraki has constituted a scholarship scheme for law school students who are domiciled in his constituency. Besides, he recently assembled all first class Kwaran scholars from the nation’s universities and gave them financial assistance to aid their tuition. These gestures were followed by prompt construction of culvert and bridges to control gully erosions within some parts of Ilorin metropolis.
Former Chief Press Secretary to Saraki while serving as the Governor, Alhaji Masud Adebimpe, said his former boss would flush out blockades presenting smooth flow of perquisites to the expected end, “if anything of sort ever exists as speculated.”
In the midst of these developments, there are speculations that the relationship between Saraki and incumbent governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, who the Senate President supported even against his biological sister, Gbemisola, is frosty. But while some people were saying that there is no love lost between them, others are saying that the relationship is still very solid.
The governor’s Senior Special Assistant on Media and Communications, Dr Femi Akorede said there was no reason whatsoever to have expected any frosty relationship between his boss and Saraki.
He therefore urged the people to discuss issues that are germane to socio-political and economic development of Kwara State rather than dwelling on speculations.
But the PDP Chairman in Kwara, Chief Iyiola Oyedepo said, “The PDP is not concerned with what is happening in Saraki’s camp. Our focus is to let people know that we are PDP and that we are ready to better their lots if voted to power especially in the year 2019.”
The late strongman of Kwara politics might have sensed the likelihood of today’s happening in his camp when during the celebrations of his 75th birthday in Ilorin,he urged the people of the state to kindly “support Bukola to succeed by displaying their highest level of sincerity and loyalty to him.”
As events in the state unfold, it is yet to be known if the Senate’s president’s late father was actually seeing into the future. Besides, it would be a matter of time to know the existing trusts between Saraki and some of his allies but the 2019 elections may no longer be the usual tea party.
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