•As governor plans new secretariat on former senate president’s family land
Immediate past Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday, sent a strong-worded message to the Kwara State governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, alleging a witch-hunt against the Sarakis and an attempt to erase the legacies of their late patriarch, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki. In a statement in Lagos, which he personally signed, the former senate president warned that the governor had crossed the line of decency.
In a press release following Friday’s announcement by the Kwara State Government that it had taken over a piece of land being used by the Saraki family in Ilorin, the state capital, for the building of a new state secretariat. Chief Press Secretary to the governor, Rafiu Ajakaiye, who disclosed the take over in a statement, said the government had made provisions for the secretariat in the 2020 budget. He alleged that the land was originally meant for the government secretariat and parking space of the Civil Service Clinic but was unlawfully allocated to a private firm, Asa Investments Limited, without proper record of payment to the state government.
However, in his press release, Saraki alleged that the war of attrition being waged against his father and everything belonging to the late politician portrayed the governor as a man without a sense of history, who was simply out to fight the Saraki family and not to serve the people.
According to the statement, “Last night, the Kwara State Governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, finally showed his true colour, when he announced his decision to revoke the ownership of a property rightfully held by my late father, Dr. Olusola Abubakar Saraki, on Plots 1, 3 and 5 Ilofa Road, GRA, Ilorin popularly known as Ile Arugbo, (Old People’s home), which has for over two decades been used to host the weekly gathering of a multitude of aged people in the society, who are provided food, money and health services, as part of the social welfare programme sponsored by the late politician. The tradition has since been maintained.
“Before now, this same governor had invited all the members of the State House of Assembly and directed them to commence the process of amending the law to change the name of the state university, which the last administration renamed after my late father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki.
“He then followed up on this act of vengeance by initiating a bill to rename the university and expunge the name of the late Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki. Now, he has decided to also revoke the titles of the landed property, which belongs to the late politician. May be, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq thinks his will be the last administration in Kwara State, but definitely, this is self-delusion.
“The property was allocated to my late father under the name of one of his companies, Asa Investment Limited, and contrary to the claim of the governor, the land was properly allocated and a Right of Occupancy title issued on it. It should be noted that the excuse given by Abdulrazaq in his revocation order holds no water since it is clear that this is the height of his vengeance against my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, and I.
“Till today, many Kwarans have been wondering what problem the governor has with the late Oloye Abubakar Olusola Saraki or what the late politician did to offend him. It is surprising that of all vacant plots of land in strategic places across Ilorin Township, the one that Abdulrahman found useful for his vengeful plan is the one owned by late Dr. Saraki.
“It is beyond comprehension why a governor would set as his main agenda the objective of undermining and waging a war of attrition against a man who is no longer around.
“This action is clearly a manifestation of vengeance and it shows that this governor is not out to serve any public purpose or pursue any development agenda. In his narrow-mindedness, he believes his victory at the polls is an empowerment, entitlement and enablement to settle scores, provoke and pursue inter-family rivalry. They expected development and fulfilment of promises.”
Saraki also stated, “If the governor believes people are not taking stock of his misguided and deceptive actions and that because he is in power, he could do whatever he likes, he must be a joker. Also, this war against the Sarakis will not successfully veil his unpreparedness for governance and divert people’s attention from the glaring lack of vision and clear-cut plan to deliver on his empty promises to the people. He definitely cannot get away with all the atrocities he has been committing.
“Since the outcome of the elections in March, despite the fact that there are clear grounds to challenge the results in court, I have decided to demonstrate maturity, statesmanship and sportsmanship. I have chosen not to make comments on the policies, programmes and actions of the administration in Kwara State or that of its head.
“Also, I deliberately stayed away from the state to avoid creating any distraction for the administration. My decision is borne out of a genuine restraint to enable the administration settle down and fulfil its numerous promises to the people of our state.
“However, seven months down the line, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq has shown that its cardinal programme is to wage war against my late father and I. He has demonstrated that his only competence and astuteness is in the area of viciously assailing the late Oloye Saraki and I. Definitely, he is a man with no sense of history.
“Enough is enough. Now, he has crossed the line.
“Perhaps, I should let it be known that if Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq thinks he is taking all these actions to get at me, he is only deceiving himself. There is no basis for competition between us. Our paths cannot cross, because the status that he is struggling to attain, Almighty Allah has given it to me many years before now. I became governor 16 years before him and served out my constitutional limit of eight years.
“Within the period, I was Chairman of Nigerian Governors Forum. I have moved on to serve in the federal legislature and by the grace of God I headed the National Assembly as the number three man in the country. No matter how well he tried to rewrite history, it is on record that I left Kwara State a lot better than I met it. In fact, the university that he is struggling to rename was established by my administration as just one out of many legacies we left behind.
“This governor needs a lot more efforts, years, intelligence and resources to attain the level Allah has taken me, not to talk of my late father, Dr. Olusola Abubakar Saraki, the Senate Leader in the Second Republic. As governor, I used the position to serve the people and during the period I did not dishonour his own father or anybody’s father for that matter.
“Just as I did after the election, my advice to Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq is that he should devote his time and energy to providing good governance and genuine development of the state.
“It is well known to the governor that I fear nobody, except Almighty Allah, the ultimate owner of all powers. With all his subterranean and open moves against my family, person and property, I remain unmoved. However, his open antagonism against my late father and his legacies is unwarranted and will not be tolerated. He has definitely gone beyond bounds, as he cannot be allowed to ride roughshod on the deceased. In this war against my late father, he will not win.
“This governor has shown that he is not a man, who wants peace, cooperation and development. He believes that a constant attack on my family and I is all that he needs to win the hearts of Kwara people. The need to provide good governance is secondary to him.
“However, it should be made clear to Abdulrazaq and his administration that their attack on my late father cannot erase the legacies of Oloye. No evil design, negative plot or propaganda can successfully rewrite the history of Kwara State. This plot against my late father will not stand.
“And I will like to make it clear that we will contest this petty, malicious, dubious and biased action of a parochial, vicious and vindictive administration through all legal means. We are sure this is not an action taken in public interest. Rather, it is done in pursuit of a selfish and devious objective.”