The Janus Games of Bukola Saraki in the Presence of a Complacent PDP
The power game and the defection of Senator Bukola Saraki from the ruling People Democratic Party (PDP) to the opposition All progressives Party (APC) has now placed the former governor and a Senator representing Kwara Central at an inconvenient crossroad. Evidently, the political relevance of Bukola Saraki especially toward the 2015 general elections and after is seriously at stake, which is a painful reality for Saraki as the level of his national political authority has diminished considerably in the aftermath of his moving to the opposition. Presently he has little weight within the who’s who of the national APC. Even if he was drowning in his own self-importance, the intoxication has considerably waned and the reality is an APC with an array of gladiators that has rendered him just a mere local champion in Kwara with a glaringly limited national influence.
The serving Senator has serious questions hanging on his integrity and the level of his dependability in view of the manners with which he betrayed the alleged accord of the northern presidential candidates when he delivered the state delegates to President Goodluck Jonathan in 2011 election presidential primaries of the PDP against the alleged agreement of the northern candidates because he didn’t win. Today, some of the victims and witnesses to his selfish betrayal are now powerful within the APC. And obviously, it is a case of once bitten, twice shy; Bukola’s betrayal is becoming legendary, and his leopard isn’t changing its spots.
His imprint on the split of PDP was also built on his card of unfaithfulness. The treachery of his sell-out at the primaries was not sufficient to buy him the prominence he desired from the president’s men after the 2011 elections, which was the genesis of his political misadventure. And in Kwara, it is an open secret that the deliberate frustration of governance is his selfish weapon not to be overshadowed by any subsequent administration he installs and controls in the state in view that his only bargaining chip remains his hold on the state government and its finances. That is obviously not a worthy stripe for a politician that desperately wants the emblem of a ‘progressive’. The frustration is pushing majority of political office holders and ranks and files of APC to the brinks. They neither could boast of better performance of their offices nor enjoy any patronage that could substantially touch their constituencies. Obviously the state government is living on mere padded pretense of delivering governance when there is less. The state and its finances are at the merciless mercy of Bukola Saraki.
Apparently sensing the faint writing on the wall, Senator Saraki is allegedly attempting to stage a political abracadabra by playing the double face Janus to both PDP and APC at the same time. With the palpable momentum gathering for the second term re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, Bukola is playing the Janus on APC ostensibly to deliver Kwara to PDP at the presidential election on the condition that President Jonathan would allow him to retain Government House in Kwara as a bargaining chip and as his trick of retaining power. If this permutation is anything to go by, he would be following the example of another chieftain of APC, Asiwaju Bola Timubu, who in 2011 delivered the South West to Jonathan against the presidential candidate of his own party, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu. What is becoming obvious now is that the permutation is intended to manifest as a backdoor for Bukola to warm his way back to national relevance via PDP as APC is not particular swayed by his fluke of political relevance. At the same time, he would be holding the state mercilessly at the jugular.
Against this backdrop, it is therefore unfortunate to see some elements within the PDP itself are curiously not averse to such a development as their individual political ambitions are practically and selfishly tied to their access to power than any serious attempt to stand up as fighters for the political liberation of Kwara from the stranglehold of Bukola Saraki and his marauding ambition. These profiteers are basically making noise only to bargain for financial inducements and access to power merely for self-aggrandizement. The emerging pattern is, therefore, a grave concern to people that sincerely want freedom from mediocrity of leadership in Kwara.
The recent swearing in of an illegitimate PDP exco of Alhaji Yusuf Olugbon in Ilorin West Local Government against court injunction is a clear pointer to the profiteering mindset of the Kwara PDP personally led by the State Chairman, Akogun Iyiola Oyedepo. The duly elected exco of Alhaji Toyin Olosasa is now the victim of illegal imposition by the faction supported by Akogun and his backers. Apparently, the illegal act is targeting Senator Gbemi Saraki, whose team had the upper hand at the state congress; Olosasa’s exco belongs to the team. This illegality is very disappointing especially when Akogun’s political credential is marked with activism. Right now it is becoming clearer that his activism was only a dubious vista to self-aggrandizement and never a sincere struggle to make any better political difference in the state.
The Chairman is allegedly led on by an influential member of the party, Hajia Bola Shagaya, whose only political credentials are her wealth and her closeness to President Jonathan and his wife. Her delusion is that wealth breeds political patronage than any antecedence of faithfully standing by the people through thick and thin. And she is obviously gatecrashing the political landscape without consideration for the current delicate task ahead of the party.. Like the trader that she is, her immediate goal is purely delivering President Jonathan (at a profit) even if she has to destroy PDP and the liberation of the Kwara in the process and she is allegedly willing to trade with Bukola Saraki on his own Janus mission if that would deliver Jonathan. What she has not sufficiently understood is that every ambition within Kwara PDP is tailored to support President Jonathan without necessarily selling out to the devil to deliver that goal. The President has sympathy amongst Kwarans beyond the make-belief selling points of the Janus and his comrades-in-trade. But Shagaya equally has an extra icing on her cake- to install her son, Sheriff, as a member of House of Representatives come 2015. This is being translated as a dress rehearsal for a future gubernatorial ambition when he comes of legal age for the seat. Of course, the young man is entitled to such ambition. But to accommodate his ambition, leadership cannot be traded just at the detriment of genuine interests and desires of the people that he has not associated with in the past until the political opportunism of his mother. There is a difference between trading and leadership.
Obviously, a major personality that can neither be bamboozled with inducements nor intimidated remains Gbemi Saraki. Apart from her depth of political experience as a former Senator and former guber candidate in 2011, she stands a greater chance to facilitate the liberation of Kwara from the current enterprise of deceits of his brother and archrival, Bukola, as well as having brighter propensity to deliver greater performance. She equally has the greater grassroots followers and impeccable understanding of the people across Kwara. Therefore, elements within the state PDP are putting every spanner in her work to emerge as the candidate in the forthcoming gubernatorial primaries starting with the Ilorin West exco of Olosasa. One would have thought the elements would employ greater political dexterity and marksmanship to confront her rather than resulting to illegality. As much as there are other strong personalities in PDP, any observer is wont to wonder why it was specifically Gbemi’s group that is targeted with victimization and illegality by Akogun-led elements. In order to challenge the marauding forces of Bukola, it is imperative to deplore the Ilorin trump card. Therefore, it is understandable that the raging battle within PDP is centered on Kwara Central specifically Ilorin West.
The primary task ahead of PDP as a party ahead of 2015 is not just replacing Bukola, his gangs and their enterprise of deceits, but instructively pushing up a candidate that is motivated to lead beyond mere profiteering. PDP needs serious contender with wider appeal across different demographics and strong political connections; a candidate with practical political experience that could navigate political landmines and that has both the intellectual capacity, exposure and especially the political will to deliver on innovative governance. PDP has such candidates but with the present untoward pay-as-you-go mindset, there is a question mark on the determination of the party exco to stand up for posterity and beyond mere rhetoric. The party must prop up candidate that can stand up to Bukola Saraki and his political structures in Kwara. And importantly, not only must PDP define what they don’t want (in this case, Bukola Saraki) but equally, they must define what they intend to replace that with. And to achieve that, PDP must follow transparent steps that can build confidence in the party and the people of the state.
As much as Kwarans want an end to the lackluster leadership and the enterprise of corruption and selfishness championed by Bukola Saraki and his gangs, the agitation is not particular an endorsement of any unseriousness and complacency of PDP especially when political traders within its ranks are bent on frustrating genuine path to freedom in the state. PDP needs to convince the people that their faith in its freedom as a mantra is not just a sound bite that can be easily thwarted by Bukola’s Janus manipulations with connivance with the traders in PDP. The worst scenario for Kwara and Kwarans is to see Bukola holding sway on the pretense of delivering Kwara to Jonathan. And the evolving patterns of impunity have to be checked for greater cohesion within PDP and to safeguard the state from the season of deceits.
Maliq Abubakar wrote from Ilorin.
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