Saraki, Kwara State Govt Trade Words over Attendance at Durbar Festival

Hammed Shittu in Ilorin

Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, yesterday said he decided to stay away from Ilorin annual Durbar festival this year so as to maintain peace atmosphere and orderliness in the State and most importantly the respect for the throne of Sheikh Alimi.

However, reacting to Saraki, the State government argued that he made the statement in bad faith, alleging that the former Senate President has not attended the Ilorin Durbar since 2019.

The Durbar is an annual event that usually allows sons and daughters of Ilorin both at home and diaspora to converge at Ilorin emir’s Palace to show case the bound cultural values of the town.

It is usually marked by the people of the community after the three days of the Eid-el-Kabir celebration in Ilorin.

In a statement issued in Ilorin, by Saraki, which was signed by his Press Officer on Local Matters, Mr. Abdulqadir Abdulganiyu, the former Kwara Governor stated that, “My decision not to attend was taken after respected traditional title holders and top Islamic scholars appeal to me  not to attend the event.”

Saraki who is the highest ranked traditional tittle holder of Ilorin with his title of Waziri Ngeri of Ilorin, however restated his love for the Ilorin Emirate Community and his commitment to an atmosphere of peace

This, he disclosed after he was briefed that, “the government of AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq do not want him around the festival for their personal and political reasons.”

The statement added: “We understand that tremendous pressure was put on the Ilorin Emirates Council by the Government of the State to stop Waziri Ngeri from attending the event. Abdulrazaq is jittery that the former Governor, Dr. Saraki, will steal the show as usual.

“The rejection of the AbdulRazaq led government by the people is because of its alleged failure to eradicate poverty, provide quality leadership and not being able to deliver on good governance.

“We implore the Governor to sit up and stop blaming Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki for the problem he created for himself and his government.”

Saraki said he was staying away from the traditional festival for peace and orderliness. 

According to the statement, “the Waziri Ngeri was in high spirit to join the peace loving people of the Emirate to celebrate the traditional festival of his people until the move by the government to stop him.

“Regrettably, I wish to announce that for peace and tranquility, I am staying away from the Durbar celebration this year.”

Saraki, however, “wished the organiser of this year Durbar a success and implore them to deliver on promises made during consultation and planning of the event.

“I also wish our people happy celebration and many more to come. I implore us to celebrate with moderation and eschew any act that could truncate peace and orderliness in the state.”

Meanwhile, a statement yesterday, signed by the governor’s Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Rafiu Ajakaye, advised Saraki to “leave Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq out of his self-inflicted shame of not being able to hold himself to the standard expected of a statesman who should exhibit decorum, decency, and good behaviour.”

It added: “The Governor has repeatedly shown humility and large-heart to accommodate everyone to operate as they wish as bonafide citizens.

“He is not about to go low because of Senator Saraki’s provocative behaviour and intent to foul the atmosphere with his unstatesmanlike conduct at public events.

“Repeatedly, Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq has demonstrated his belief in politics without bitterness through his all-inclusive politics that addresses the needs of all citizens in the state, irrespective of any differences.”

The statement added, “In sustained demonstration of his statesmanship and large-heartedness, the Governor shook hands with the former Senate President and other opposition politicians at the Ilorin Eid praying ground.

“Landslide victories of 2019 and 2023 elections in Kwara are clear testimonies of how the people of Kwara State have preferred the Governor to lead the state. He is thankful to God and to the people for the vote of confidence in his humble leadership.

“Finally, to the best of our knowledge, Senator Saraki has never attended the Ilorin Durbar since 2019. His statement, therefore, reeks of mischief and bad faith, which we leave history to judge,” it added.

Related Articles