Last week, there were pitiful images of the demolition of a very significant part of Ilorin’s story in the last 3 decades or more, the Ile-Arugbo.
The house, owned by arguably the most important man ever in Kwara State politics and father of Nigeria’s former Senate President, Late Olusola Saraki, is seen as a pleasant ground for the hungry and impoverished aged.
The elder Saraki, a very astute politician whose political dominance in the state was unrivaled was a man who built his popularity on the people, especially the hungry majority. His was a populist approach to governance and he was loved for who he was. He successfully picked who he wanted for various positions in a style similar to what Ibadan and Oyo politics had in Adedibu.
At the tail end of his superiority, the late former Senate Leader had his son, Bukola Saraki who feasted and rose on his father’s political antecedents, to battle. The details of their differences are still very unclear with most assertions being mere insinuations, with no iota of unwavering frankness.
However, former Senate President, Saraki built on his father’s popularity, and control to still run the rings around the people of Kwara, dominating at will, until things fell apart, and the people said enough is enough. “Ó tó gé” was built on the chagrin of the people. There was pent up anger, and perhaps, hunger in the land but the Ile-Arugbo fed its Arugbo. Those who are staunch loyalists of the Saraki dynasty stayed true to their allegiances but the centre was lost already and the people had gotten tired of a continuity that failed to favour them.
What happens in the Ile-Arugbo is by no means extended to an average Kwaran. The many cases of financial misappropriation are still hanging on those associated with Bukola Saraki, who became the poster boy of the dynasty under the crunching weight of national politics. He won some of his battles, but is progressively losing the fiercest to a man or a people who may be here to settle old scores.
Abdulrazaq Abdulrahman won on the back of a political movement that would have seen almost any candidate of the APC become governor. However, one must commend his efforts since his inauguration as his performances have been hailed by all and sundry as truly progressive and futuristic. He was on a seamless stroll into the hearts of many Kwarans but this latest move has painted new pictures of the man he is – one out for vengeance, with a broad smile and an evil streak. More worrisome for Kwarans will be the fact that a battle of this nature will distract his government and the people, again will be at the receiving end.
The basis for the destruction of the Ile-Arugbo is one that would set the legal ball rolling again. The legalese has been thrown into the discourse since it happened but none has been enough outreach than what people feel could be resident in the heart of the governor and the party.
Unsurprisingly, a very key player in the turnaround of events against the Saraki dynasty in Kwara and daughter of the elder Saraki, Gbemisola Saraki has chosen family, expectedly, in the fiasco. Her initial silence might have been mistaken for support, but after launching a tirade against the governor, the battle line took a new shape and became an artist’s delight. This will be long drawn, but it is one that will be very tough for the Sarakis to win. They are fighting against those who have power to send on errands as they have in this case.
While Abdulrahman shunned every manner of emotional connections in the demolition, it has only shown the human part of his personality. The unconfirmed stories are, that his father, a former AGF and Ilorin’s first lawyer and Senior Advicate of Nigeria had a battle with Olusola Saraki. And now is seen as a good time to settle old scores, and reclaim lost points, ignoring the stand of a respected section of the population.
The Ile-Arugbo is not just a building that houses people, it is standing on the stomachs and hearts of many and its demolition mean great damage to the survival of some impoverished aged.
Maybe it was consolidated on stomach infrastructure as Kwarans struggled to feel the impacts of governance for 20 years, with the Sarakis in charge of proceedings, but the abruptness and quickness of the action looks suspect, and woven in the garb of vendetta.
This will be very interesting to see for neutrals. It is the return of the elephants.
Opinion contained in this article is strictly the writer’s and not ALEDEH’s.