For the heavily-stained Senate President, Bukola Saraki, the fading lights of his charmed political life seems to have come on and this is no laughing matter for the rambunctious politician whose bullish political stock has been helped by wiles and crooked means such that he and his supporters believe he has been given an impregnable status especially in his native Kwara State. Saraki believes he is politically smart and feels he will always have his way around every political bend. For this, he is ever ready to bet with his tight-clenched hold on Kwara State and its people and this itself was an inheritance from his late father, Olusola Saraki who rode Kwara like an unquestionable colossus for the entire length of his political life. Bukola inherited this dynasty although many claim he was cursed by his dying father who was at the receiving end of Bukola’s treachery as his own political life ebbed. Nonetheless, the younger Saraki inherited his father’s political mantle and had employed same in holding Kwara and its people on a biting political leash till date.
Whatever informed the slavish hold the Sarakis hold on Kwarans is not well known but many attribute it to their penchant to freely give as a tool of political control. The Sarakis were reputed to have a generous attitude to Kwarans for political ends and in return, the people surrendered their independence to the Sarakis. The late Saraki used this to the hilt and the later Saraki took it up. But from all seeming indices, that stranglehold is about to be torn down and the people of Kwara seem ready to re-take their independence from the Sarakis-no thanks to Bukola Saraki’s yoke of selfish political profiteering and gross trading with the interests of the people of Kwara for his self-interests. What better way to send notice of their readiness to take back their freedom than the humiliating defeat Saraki and his political interest suffered recently in Ekiti/Irepodun/Osin/Oko-Ero federal constituency where Saraki’s and PDP’s candidate, Saheed Damilarewas defeated by the APC candidate, Raheem Olawuyi, in an election that was rightly seen as a foretaste of what is going to happen in February 2019 general election? Olawuyi polled 21,236 votes to the 18,095 votes by the PDP candidate and Saraki’s protégé.
What is significant in this bye election was that it was the first since Saraki pulled his supporters from the APC where he got the current ticket he is wielding to the PDP and the last; going to a decisive general election that will decide Saraki’s future in the country’s politics. In the PDP, Saraki was to run a noisy challenge for its presidential ticket and lost woefully to AtikuAbubakar in what has become notoriously known as a contest of dollars. In pulling off from the APC where his obnoxious snatching of the senate presidency in cahoots with the minority PDP put him in collision with the party leadership, Saraki has noisily boasted of leading the charge to defeat current President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC in the ensuing election. In his equally noisy charge for the PDP ticket, Saraki has thrown so many careless boasts of being a charmed political wizard who has the lucky charm to leading PDP to retake the presidency four years after it was disgraced out of power due to a combination of factors that chiefly border on corruption and incompetence. Saraki had boasted that he has the jinx to wrestle Lagos from the APC and many other lousy boasts that earned him the admiration and support of his PDP confederates. Even as Saraki has hardly made any political mark outside Kwara, where his family has a suzerain hold on its politics, he was going about promising so many political feats to his PDP to the full standing applause from the party members. Even when some reminded Saraki that President Buhari even won more votes than him in his senatorial zone in the last election, he never stopped showing his superman muscles all over in a bid to garb himself in PDP’s super hero clothes.
When he lost the PDP ticket, he was to quickly rush back to Kwara to snatch the senatorial ticket of his constituency in a bid that confirms that Saraki has no real electoral value outside Kwara. But despite these noticeable shortfall, PDP was to crownSaraki its National Leader. Atiku was to appoint Saraki his Campaign Director General. Of course, Saraki has promised quite enough to earn whatever position that is available in PDP. He is the new magic man in town, the new fixer, the new talisman who must be pampered with roles. With these bogus apparels, Saraki went berserk in gloating that the presidency is PDP’s for the taking. He goes about promising PDP faithful that they are as good as winning the next election. He talks noisily of how he made huge financial contributions to the APC and was shoved out with nothing. But Saraki is still the Senate President. He is still the third person in the organogram of the current government. Even as he is seen as a meddlesome usurper, he still controls the legislative arms of government with which he had employed in full hilt to swing favours for him and his cronies and maximally sabotage the Buhari government with the hope of softening the grounds for his PDP. Recently, he claimed to have spent stupendous sums to finance the APC in all the states but that he and his followers were not financially rewarded for his claimed efforts. So, in such bitter, boastful ways, Saraki leaves nobody in doubt that he possesses the magic wand to finish off the APC and bring back the feel-good era where he and his hirelings will have unhindered access to the public treasury as was the case in his good, old PDP days. This is music good and sweet enough for the ears of famished PDP disciples who bitterly rue the days of uncensored larceny they presided over and they have not failed to shower Saraki with enough confetti to last him several generations.
But what a rude awakening it was for Saraki that right in his verandah, the same area he hoists as an impregnable fortress he will always recline when every other place is politically unsafe, the rug is being lifted from under his feet? What a rude awakening for Saraki that at a time he was being hoisted as the new man-about-town by parched and hungry PDP apostates, at a time he was being dressed as the new medicine man that will reverse the fatal predilection of PDP in Nigeria, stubborn grass is being made to grow under his feet in his Kwara home? What a scare that when Saraki is being talcumed as a man that will wrestle Buhari and APC to the ground, he was being badly decimated right in his home? What a tragedy for Saraki that when he was going about boasting of conquering Nigeria for Atiku and PDP, and of course for his large-sized greed, he was being rubbished and rendered an impotent political artifact in his homestead?
The victory APC secured in the House of Reps bye-election is a fore taste of what awaits impostors like Saraki in February and that was the reason the victory drew raucous applause and attention nationwide. Fact is that Saraki is ripe for humiliation and many Nigerians see hope in Nigerian politics in humbling such arrogant, ill-mannered and intemperate politicians like Saraki. Besides enslaving Kwara people ad using them as wares for his hugely amoral political hustles, Saraki is bedeviled by shiploads of indiscretions that include mammoth corruption issues, unscrupulous conducts, illicit transactions, etc. Perhaps, one of the biggest baggageSaraki drags along is his complicity in the dastardly and brutal armed robbery operation in Offa, Kwara State earlier in the year where 33 innocent souls were brutally hacked down in mid-day horror by a gang of robbers who are associates and political thugs of Saraki. It is one of the major firing pins in the resolve of Kwara people to end the Saraki nuisance in their politics and reclaim their land from a marauding slave master and his indecorous means. I am sure it was one of the major factors in that humiliating bye-election loss penultimate week and surely one of the factors that will end the noxious Saraki slave ring in Kwara State in 2019.
For now, Saraki lives with the fear that his charmed political life is soon coming to an end. He is wracked by fears of what awaits him after 2019 and the realization that his inflated political balloon is about to burst is bound to humble Saraki as he awaits an impending humiliating end to his political fiefdom in Kwara. He lives with the scare that his impudent claim to national political leadership is coming to a screeching end next year and he can practically do nothing to stop this impending eclipse.
Peter Claver Oparah