Ilorin – At the end of his tenure in 2011 as the governor of Kwara state after eight years in the saddle, Bukola Saraki succeeded in installing his successor, Abdulfatah Ahmed who was not supported by his (Saraki’s) father, Olusola who had been the political kingmaker of the state since 1979.
Saraki who reconciled with his father after the election later inherited the kingmaker dynasty from his father after he died in 2012. In 2015 he ensured that the dynasty continued its influence of determining who govern the state as he led the All Progressives Congress (APC) to victory to emerge the ruling party in the state.
He was more superb in achieving this victory more than his father used to as he did not only won the governorship seat for his party but also all the other seats contested for in the state in the 2015 general election and this was done when the party was in the opposition at the federal level.
While administering the state, Saraki was regarded by many as a governor that was performing well to improve the lot of the state as impact of his administration was being felt in numerous sectors including road, education, health, electricity, aviation agriculture, and sport
However, at the tail end or the administration there arose a dis enchantment among the residents with the administration especially in Ilorin metropolis the state capital as water scarcity bit harder in the town while a long-term solution which the administration was seeking was far from being achieved owing to huge financial implication involved.
Another cause of disenchantment had to do with government’s dealings with land in the metropolis. Sizeable plots of land of some establishments like schools, departments and agencies in the metropolis were allegedly acquired and converted for private residence or commercial purposes not in the interest of the state The displeasure of the people with the administration grew worse when it was rumoured that the government was planning to relocate the Ilorin Eid praying ground and convert the present one to private or commercial use.
Many of the residents had a belief that the government’s dealing with land was to foster personal interest at the expense of collective interest of the state. They were of the view that Saraki was allegedly facilitating conversion and allocation of the pieces of the land to unduly favour his associates or promote his business interest.
The impression among the residents that Saraki was hankering after a selfish interest became more prominent when, after Ahmed has succeeded him in office, he (Saraki) did not initially retired to his family residence in Ilorin but relocated to the Presidential Lodge within the premises of the Government House.
This with enactment of a pension law that makes the state to take care of shelter and many other finances for a former two term governor of which he is the first and the wide spread rumour that he was still serving as consenting authority on the distribution of the monthly federal allocation of the state further created impression that not only was he pulling the strings of governance of the state but also doing that to take care of his own interest to the detriment of interest of masses of the state.
Though these were the prevailing impressions all through first term of office of Ahmed many residents appeared not to be too perturbed about this because, perhaps, there was no a verification of rumours and the impression they had and because they were still able to cope with economic situation in the country.
However by the time Ahmed began his second term during when a new government was in the saddle at the federal level with worsening economic situation in the country which made economic hardship more biting across the land the people, finding it difficult to make ends meet, became more disturbed about the situation at home They were not impressed by the performances of Ahmed’s administration while they more loathed the political leadership style of Saraki which they believed contributed immensely to the alleged poor performance of the Ahmed ‘s administration.
A regular radio programme by the people in the opposition which criticised Ahmed’s administration and made so many allegations that indicated that Saraki engaged in activities that draw back development of the state further made the residents to believe that the politician is a disservice to the state.
This made many of the residents to resolutely opposed to continued leadership of Saraki in the state and while the politician had this opposition to contend with as the 2019 election was approaching, he had oppositions from some other quarters fiercely confronting him. While one of the quarters was that from the APC, the party he had left to return to the PDP, another one was said to be from within his camp in the PDP.
The opposition within his camp was said to have begun more than a year before the election when he failed to make a categorical statement when a powerful force in the state government reportedly presented to him the choice of two people from which one should be considered as next governor of the state
This request reportedly fizzled out when it became glaring to the maker that one of the two choices was not marketable while the other was having issues over the armed robbery attack in Offa town of the state
The force was said to have then supported another aspirant against Saraki’s own choice during the governorship primary of the PDP. But, as it was learnt, when that aspirant lost out he and that force allegedly resolved to work against the victory of the choice candidate of Saraki at the poll.
The force was said to have allegedly worked clandestinely with the opposition in both the presidential and National Assembly elections and the Governorship and House of Assembly elections.
It was gathered that when Saraki held a meeting with traditional ruler in the state about the elections the force on the next day facilitated how most of the rulers met with a leader of the APC in the state while the leader in turn facilitated a meeting with an influential national chieftain of the party.
The force was said to have also been represented in the opposition party by some former government functionaries who have defected to the APC making it easier for it to connive with the opposition against Saraki’s interests at the polls.
The opposition from the other quarters against Saraki which was from the presidency and national leadership of the APC was direct and more fierce. Saraki had lost favour from the presidency and national leadership of the APC after he emerged the Senate President. He maintained an unfavourable relationship with the two leadership until he left the APC to return to the PDP.
When he left the APC he lost access to a possible influence of the federal government he may have to his advantage in the election. This coupled with the reported opposition from within his camp made the victory at the poll a more herculean task for him.
The problem is compounded as these oppositions from the APC and within the PDP found a powerful ally in the opposition by the residents who are the electorate who were averse to continued leadership of Saraki and desired that the Saraki dynasty established by Olusola forty years ago should hold the sway no more These forces worked to put an end to reign of Saraki as leader and political kingmaker of the state as the APC defeated Saraki in his Kwara Central Senatorial election won the governorship election and also emerged victorious in all other posts contested for in the state
However, Saraki who reportedly led the PDP into the election without being ignorant of the operation of the forces including the one within his camp was said to have known that he and his party would lose but resolved not to be disturbed by the expected outcome because he considers his covenant with his people to go beyond politics.