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Open letter to Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the owner of Kwara

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Your Excellency, I respectfully write this humble open letter to praise your bravery in speaking up against any perceived attempt to do anything without your say-so in Kwara State, especially if it affects properties owned by the public that your father “willed” to you. This letter is borne out of your recent viral Twitter post on the decision of the Ilorin West local government to renovate a library built with public funds but named after your dear father of blessed memory, Senator (Dr.) Sola Saraki in Kuntu area of Ilorin. To renovate that structure, which had become a shadow of its old self and had had its windows removed by hoodlums who were already doing all sorts of things there, the local government administration began the demolition of the structure.

Your Excellency rightly got mad at such derring-do. You were right, Your Excellency. Don’t mind that rude local government TIC chairman of Ilorin West. He should have written to you to get a permission to do anything on the said public library since it is part of your inheritance. Why should anyone take such a step without first telling you that they wanted to renovate the building? Silly.

You see, your excellency, this library was actually constructed by Ilorin West Local Government with public funds in the early 2000 long before you stepped your feet on Kwara soil. But, typical of official personalisation of public properties when Oloye was in charge of Kwara as well as during your dreadful reign as Kwara emperor, it was labelled Sola Saraki Library. Over the years however, under your vice-like grip of Kwara (2003 to 2019), the facility suffered neglect and became decrepit. Students were no longer using the place. It became some hideouts for thugs and drug addicts. Your Excellency is quick to throw your love for Oloye Saraki in our face as a good son. But that library lost its essence under your nose and you did nothing to it is what you should be ashamed of. It became a den for social miscreants. Right under your nose. What did you do to show your great love for your father?

Maybe you were right not to do a thing on it since it is a public property. But it shocked me and others to see you shed crocodile tears when the owners of the facility, the local government, brought it down predatory to giving it a facelift and restoring its glory. Could it be that all you care about is playing politics with the memory of Oloye?

Some people have said you did not at any time buy or donate a book to the library which you feel so nostalgic about as a legacy of your great father. I told my friends this cannot be true. Or is it, Your Excellency? They said the upkeep and funding of the said facility had always been the responsibility of the local government. Some of them are saying now that you have a sense of entitlement and that you cannot live with the reality that Kwara is not one of your inheritances. Me I told them this cannot be true but they said the way you carry your shoulder and talk about Kwara gives the impression that it is your property. They even mentioned Ile Arugbo land. They told me you woke up one morning and your administration dashed out public land to your late father. When the new administration in the state recovered the land, they said you said it was father’s property and that you have a legal title to it. I said that was true. Then they asked me that you have been running from pillar to post when the government challenged you to bring the said title.

Another thing they said is that Your Excellency appears to always confuse public assets with your family fortune. They said several government properties were named after your father even when you set out deliberately to wipe out the legacies of your predecessor, Mohammed Lawal. Does Your Excellency remember the ubiquitous Up Lawal water tanks across the whole of Ilorin metropolis that you changed to Up Kwara? Do you remember how vehicles the Lawal administration purchased for NURTW and the latter branded Up Lawal were converted to the personal private company with the names of Lawal obliterated? Did you forget how the beautiful ‘Up Lawal Garden’ inscriptions were chiselled out by your men?

I do not support personalisation of public properties. So, that is fine if Your Excellency also shares this sentiment. But our people say you practically railroaded various public offices to name public properties/edifices after you, your father, and your followers without giving consideration to the founding fathers of Kwara State. Your Excellency, sir, so bad was it that you named two different roads after your father: Olusola Saraki Road at Olorunsogo and Olusola Saraki Road (Fate). They asked if your family is the only one in Kwara. In fact, they continued, your Excellency changed the name of the only state university, KWASU, to Olusola Saraki University as if Kwara begins and ends with your family. They said your administration refused to even name Stadium after Rashidi Yekini, a football legend of all time, despite all pleas. Your Excellency, they even reminded me how you succeeded your sister as senator while your late father worked so hard to make the same sister the Governor.

Against this background, Your Excellency, our people felt your attacks on the state Governor was uncalled for and an insult on the intelligence of Kwarans especially that this is a property of a local government and not your family estate. But some of them insist that you are not convinced yet that there ought to be a limit to entitlement mentality which seems written in your intervention on the renovation of the library.

Sir, they said you should do well to focus on the Sola Saraki Education Foundation which was launched on 17th May, 2017 but with no beneficiaries so far. On that day Your Excellency, you promised that an academic research in the field of medical science will funded alongside the endowement of a professorial chair in medical discipline and an establishment in Kwara of a specialist hospital focusing on heart-related diseases.

They claimed that the foundation exists only as a rented structure without staff or anything else. To be taken seriously, Your Excellency, our people said you should focus on making these laudable agenda of the Foundation a reality as that would be a befitting legacy a son could give his father.

Just before I draw the curtains for another moment, Your Excellency, like other football loving Kwarans, when you announced that your football club would be renamed from Bukola Babes to Abubakar Bukola Saraki Football Club, I thought it would be named after your father, unfortunately you didn’t. So, I ask why haven’t you found it worthy no name a self-sponsored edifice or project after late Dr. Olusola Saraki?

Thank you, Your Excellency.

Adetola A. Kehinde

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OPINION: Lai Mohammed a Liar and a Thief?

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Lai Mohammed’s notoriety as a compulsive and inveterate liar is already secure and unchallengeable, but the normally reticent governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrasaq, told ThisDay newspaper yesterday that Lai is also a common thief.

He said Lai literally stole N100 million donated to the governor by an unnamed Igbo businessman to help with his election in 2019.

That’s a pretty grave allegation against a serving minister by a serving governor, particularly one who isn’t known for flippancy and for hogging the limelight. At the time of writing this, Lai hasn’t denied the allegation even after the Peoples Gazette reached out to him for comment.

As I wrote in a June 10, 2017 column titled “Large Lies of Lying Lai Mohammed,” Lai Mohammed’s entire career as a Minister of Information and Culture has been defined by a bewilderingly extravagant fondness for willful and easily falsifiable lies. His first name doesn’t just share an uncanny phonemic kinship with “lie”; he actually embodies lies in the most audaciously disreputable way imaginable.

Now that we now know that in addition to his well-known lies, he is also an unsophisticated and conscienceless thief, I think he should have been named “Lateef,” which would have given cartoonists and comedians the artistic liberty to say that the “La” in his name is “liar” and the “teef” is “thief.” 😂That’s a joke, please! Incidentally, all the Lateefs I know are honest, honorable, hardworking people.

Seriously, though, lies are the parents of all kinds of moral pervasions. My father used to say liars are almost always also thieves—and more.

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OPINION: Expectations Ahead Of APC State Congress in Kwara

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The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) is moving closer to reaching crescendo in the process of electing new leaders across the strata or organs of the party with the national convention expected to hold at a yet to be declared date.

Hitherto, new leaders have emerged across wards and local government levels in states of the federation while the state congresses are to hold today, Saturday October 16, 2021, all things being equal.

The Mai Mala Buni led Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, which comprises experienced hands with the hindsight of wide consultations, is deftly managing the the hues and cries of some people who continue to allege marginalisation in some states. An example is Kwara.

It appears the national headquarters of the party has truly done its due diligence and concluded that those still crying being sidelined have chosen to be mischievous as they have repeatedly ignored opportunities to work with others. For instance, sources at the national headquarters of APC averred that the appeals committee constituted in the aftermath of party registration did not find most of the allegations leveled against Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq to be true. While a faction led by Honourable Minister of Information and Culture Lai Mohammed alleged that thousands of its members were shut out of the process, a team that was sent to register those purportedly shut out found the claim to be a ruse. It was also established that virtually all the leaders who shouted that their members were disenfranchised were found to have themselves renewed their membership without any harassment, leading the party headquarters to question their subsequent claims. This explains why the APC national secretariat began to see through the noise in Kwara. The thinking now is that the Minister’s camp is taking advantage of their closeness to the media to want to mislead the public about the true situation in the party.

Another thinking is that a few of the disgruntled leaders may have decided to go for zero sum politics whereby they want to leave the party unless they have things their own way. Many in the party have condemned this attitude as they are still being urged to embrace dialogue and accept the leadership of the Governor like in other states of the Federation. Their obvious intention to fully control the party and exclude the Governor is seen as unacceptable because that will be a bad precedence.

While attempts are still being made to convince these few elements to embrace peace, keen watchers of events in Kwara APC will notice the near seamless conduct of the congresses so far, beginning from ward to local government. Not only were these two congresses totally peaceful and devoid of any violence, reports of the APC appeals show that Kwara has one of the least cases before the appeal. This, according to sources in the party headquarters, shows that the so called crisis in the party is largely a media creation, fuelled by fifth columnists to create wrong perceptions.

Of course, disagreements, conflicts, internal maneuvering for power, conflict resolution and consensus building are usual phenomenon in politics everywhere in the world. In fact, they are part and percel of the dynamics of internal politics as seen largely among political parties in sub sahara Africa. It is the capacity of each leadership of the party to deal with emerging or widening cracks and them move on that dictates the direction and future of such party. Events of the past few weeks since the congresses began have shown that Kwara APC is not doing badly, compared to other states.

The fact that various interests want to control a political party does not mean the party is doomed. Such interests are universal. This is especially not strange for a party like APC in Kwara that is a potpourri of different interests that came together to form it. Major focus was on Kwara prior to the commencement of the ward congress about the possible happenings during and after the congresses of the APC. But the zero violence so far shows that the party is getting on well. Today, the party is waxing stronger building on the successes recorded during the wards, local governments congresses to the state congress billed for this Saturday.

Ahead of the congress, different names have cropped up as chairmanship candidates. Whoever emerges, it is clear that the party cannot be the same again as discipline and party-government relations will be top priorities. Observers expect to have a new party leadership that will truly propagate the good works of the Governor which are very obvious in education, health, rural development, agriculture, workers’ welfare, security, and gender and youths inclusion and empowerment. These strides, coupled with the Governor’s live and let live philosophy, have attracted more members into the party, especially from the opposition.

Today, Kwara APC is going into Saturday’s state congress as a more determined party ready to consolidate on its remarkable progress and achievements, leaving behind elements who may have decided not to participate for some personal reasons. The consensus of the Kwara people is that while the government is clearly making impacts in the lives of the people, it needs a disciplined and cohesive party executives that will concentrate on selling the programmes of the government ahead of the 2023 election.

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Kwara APC Inaugurates LG Chairmen, Secretaries, Stakeholders Pledge Peaceful State Congress

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Kwara State Chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Friday sworn-in the newly elected local government chairmen across the 16 local government areas.

A chieftain of APC, Barrister Anthony Towoju, administered the oath of office and allegiance on the chairmen and secretaries on behalf of the party.

At the brief event in Ilorin, the state caretaker chairman of APC, Alhaji Abdullahi Samari congratulated the new officials on their victories at the last local government congress.

“On behalf of the leader of the party in Kwara State Governor AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, I want to congratulate our local government chairmen and secretaries on your victories at the last local government congress. This victory is a victory for all of us. Some of you contested against one another. Try to embrace everybody. Try to make peace. Try to work and make the party waxing stronger in the state,” Samari advised.

The chairman urged them to be magnanimous in victory and embrace all members of the party in their domains.

Samari advised to work towards consolidating on the successes of the party in their respective local government areas.

The chairmen are: Sheu Yahaya (Asa); Abubakar Adamu Doo (Baruten); Muhammed Kudu Dumagi (Edu); Awelewa Olawale (Ekiti); Abdullateef Kadir (Ifelodun); Abeeb Ajibola (Ilorin East); Ambali Jaji (Ilorin South); Suleiman Tejidini (Ilorin West); Azeez Yakub (Irepodun); Segun Awogbade (Isin); Ismail Dio Mora (Kaiama); Adebayo Jimoh (Moro); Adekunle Moshood (Offa); Gbadebo David (Oke-Ero); Kamar Akanbi (Oyun) and Muhammed Alhaji Swasun (Patigi).

The swearing in came hours after APC stakeholders across the state held a parley in Ilorin, the state capital, pledging a peaceful state congress on Saturday.

The parley was attended by Deputy Governor Kayode Alabi; House of Assembly and cabinet members; party elders; and representatives of the party from Abuja.

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