RIGHT OF REPLY
I consider it auspicious to do a rejoinder to a portion of the article written by Mahmud Jega in THISDAY Newspaper entitled: “Two Chiefs in One Village” concerning where he stated that one Garba Dandiga told him the late Dr. Olusola Saraki lamented that his son and then Governor of Kwara State, Dr. Bukola Saraki did not honour his nominees for the post of Commissioners in 2003 when the latter was in the saddle. The story is a mere fabrication, total falsehood, and untruth.
Without claiming to have all the full details of all the nominations for posts of commissioners and special advisers that were put forward by Baba Saraki to then Governor Bukola Saraki, I can say with good knowledge that the cabinet had a large presence of personalities who had been long time supporters of Baba Oloye, and who were previously not known to the Governor. I was the Majority Leader of the House of Assembly at that time, and it was my responsibility to present the Commissioner-nominees to the legislature for approval.
In very particular instances, the then Commissioner for Education was the late Dr. Femi Ogunsola of blessed memory. His entry onto the cabinet in 2003, was his second time. He had served, at the same level under former Governor Mohammed Lawal. The first Commissioner for Commerce and Industry under Dr. Saraki’s administration was Alhaji Saka Isemin. He had served as elected Chairman of the Asa Local Government. The Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice at the time under reference was Alhaji Saka Isau (now SAN). He was the head of the legal team of Baba Oloye, who handled all legal matters in the courts. There was Chief Bisi Oloruntoba, Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs. He had been the pioneer Chairman of Isin Local Government, whose election then was sponsored by Baba Saraki.
The representative of the Moro Local government in the Saraki cabinet was Engineer Yinusa Afolabi. He had been a long-time stalwart of Baba Oloye. He was a local government chairman and also a member of the House of Representatives in 1992. He was in the legislature that was sacked by the late Gen. Sani Abacha when he overthrew the Interim Government led by Chief Ernest Shonekan.
At the beginning of the Saraki administration in 2003, the Commissioner for Agriculture and Natural Resources was Alhaji Sani Boriya. He was then, an elderly man in his 60s. The Commissioner that represented Ilorin East LGA in that administration was Alhaja Nimata Ibrahim. She was a protege of Baba Saraki in any way one wants to define the word. She was the State Secretary of APP, the party led by the late Dr. Saraki and it was that platform that produced Rear Admiral Mohammed Lawal as Governor in 1999. Afterward, she also served the Lawal administration as Commissioner for Education.
Based on my position in the Bukola Saraki as well as my vantage links within the Baba Saraki fold, many of the nominees were known to me. They were party men within the circuit of APP to which Oloye Saraki belonged before Dr. Bukola joined PDP and emerged as the gubernatorial candidate, and ultimately the State Governor.
Another issue that shows the claim in the write-up by Jega is not true was the fact that the persons that occupied the offices in the Ministries of Information and Home Affairs; Sports and Culture and also Mineral Resources belonged to the section of PDP. They emerged from the negotiations that were conducted by Baba Oloye, as he moved from his old party. These were Alhaji Raheem Adedoyin; Alhaji Jimoh Adebayo; Alhaji Aliyu Mohammed Lade and Barrister Lanre Daibu, who was the Special Adviser on Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs.
With the above facts, I do not doubt that the story narrated by Jega in his article is false.
*Omotose was the Majority Leader of KWHA from 2003 – 2007