2019: Changing Saraki’s dynasty philosophy


The last congresses of the All Progressives Congress (APC) across the country last month have come and gone quite alright, but the aftermath of the exercise has thrown up another issue in the annals of the ruling dynasty in Kwara state raising questions of whether the scion and Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki is shifting the central focus of the long held political tradition of the Saraki’s dynasty philosophy. Head Politics, MUMINI ABDULKAREEM examines the issue.

At the peak of the agitation for appointment in the state few months back, the cliché of “no recycling” became the dominant narrative in the political lexicon of the state with many political players sharply divided on the propriety or otherwise of the issue at this point of the state’s politics.

Against the backdrop of the “no recycling” directive issued by Bukola Saraki, which had been described by some political analysts as a defining moment in the political development of the state, the debate attracted by the paradigm shift has continued to rage.

According to Saraki at a meeting with various political caucuses and leaders of various local governments held at the Great Hall’ in GRA Ilorin, the era of ‘recycling politicians and political offices is gone for good’ and that the state needs to inject fresh blood and new breed politicians into the system for effective service delivery. The former governor also, at the meeting, further reportedly advocated for a 70-30 ratio of new to old politicians to fast track and stabilise the polity.

Some analysts have argued that this new “digital twenty-first centaury political decision” is a major shift from the philosophy of the dynasty accused by some youth of the party of recycling too many times some leaders considered “spent force”.

Among the posers it raised are how far the issue will affect the pace of governance and whether those “greenhorns” coming are the right people to man the state at this time when it is in need of experienced hands to pull it out of the financial doldrums. Also, there is the issue of whether it will further open the political process in the state to accommodate and provide jobs for the huge number of youths who may want to seize the opportunity to challenge the status quo.

Coming at a time the spirit and letters of the Not-Too-Young-to-Run bill recently assented by President Muhammadu Buhari is beginning to take effect, especially in Kwara State, the issue has been described as a wide departure from the status quo and one that is capable of opening a new vista of future political decisions in the state and the country as a whole.

While the trend had already been experimented at the State House of Assembly elections with only six lawmakers returning out of the 24 members who formed the 7th legislature, the last state cabinet appointment had only less than 8 “recycled” personalities with over ten new “entrants” that found their way into the 19-man new cabinet and even a greater number of that number making the appointment of Senior Special Advisers and Assistants among others.

At the local government level, the recent congress brought up no fewer than ten council chairmen from the sixteen in the state.

Speaking further on the “new philosophy” of the dynasty at the last state APC congress, Saraki, who noted that Kwara state with the new youth policy in government is pioneering another phase in the country’s political space, said the drive to bring the youth into various levels of governance in the state is meant to rekindle the desire to give the state and by extension the country the opportunity to draw from the expertise of the youth which constitutes over 60 per cent of our population.

While urging the youth to seize the opportunity and contribute their quota to state and nation building, the APC leader said we cannot continue to do things the same way and expected different result adding that youth in governance is the new trend in world politics and that Kwara alone cannot be left out but should pave the way for others to follow.

“In the next few years… by the time what we are doing crystallises with bulk of these youth emerging as cornerstones of many phases of governance in the state, nay the country, Kwara state will be a model in that regards. For now, we are championing a new paradigm shift that will give the youth opportunity to halt the (recycling) trend for the country to exploit the huge potential bottled up in the youth”, he added.

Saraki further boasted that “we will teach Nigerians how the political game is played, politics cannot be learnt overnight. Nigerians’ eyes were on Kwara State politics and (we have not and will not disappoint). There is nowhere in this country where you will see the serving governor, former governor and former-former governor sitting together just like we have it today. We shall show Nigerians how political game is being played. My people, there is no problem about all what you have been hearing at the national level; we are up to the task and God is up to the task. I am not disturbed because I know that you are all behind me,” the Senate President added.

Already, the new philosophy is being replicated at various levels in the state. Speaking of what he will do differently, the new chairman of Ilorin West, Alhaji Amin Akota said his administration will emulate what the leader has done and replicate it across board.

“We will emulate what the leader has done by injecting new blood into the field that will reflect in all strata of the party from House of Assembly members to Reps. Now we have 10 new chairmen that emerged in the party and this is instructive. Most of us have been in government before and we have to come and rebuild the party with our experience in government to let the people know that the party is the parent of the government”, he noted.

Expressing her take on the issue, the lawmaker representing Odo-Ogun constituency in the Kwara State House of Assembly, Hon Sikirat Anako described the present political situation in the Saraki dynasty as a new phase in the politics of the state.

Anako, while speaking with Pilot Politics after her meeting with members of her ward in Erin-Ile, Oyun Local Government, advised the youth, particularly, to take advantage of the dynamic of the political situation in the state.

“This will make them very focus and not even have the time to listen to politicians who will come to deceive them with ten thousand naira and false promises in a clandestine move to turn them to thugs. The women should continue to have affection for the party and demonstrate their political prowess on the field to continue to secure victory for APC at the poll”, she noted.

In his contribution, the Speaker, Kwara State House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad, called on the youth in the state to take advantage of the not-too-young-to-run bill to prove they have the capacity to provide good governance and move the country to greater height.

Ali Ahmad, who disclosed this in his key note address during a Public Lecture/Inter Varsity Debate organised by the National Association of Political Science Students, University of Ilorin Chapter, noted that Youth in Nigeria had demonstrated to the world that they were hard working, innovative and full of intellect, going by the significant impacts they had made in all human endeavours across the globe.

Represented by the House Leader, Hon Hassan Oyeleke, the Speaker expressed confidence that Nigerian Youths can do more if government provides necessary framework and conducive environment.

He stressed that with the signing of the bill into law, the nation’s chances of attaining greatness in all human endeavour was high.

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