Gov. AbdulRahman Needs to Grow Up

By Wahab Oba



Looking back at what happened at the Eid prayer ground during this Sallah, an essayist would be commended to describe Senator Bukola Saraki as having stolen the show. Indeed, by all parametres, the former governor and President, 8th Senate, did steal the show, for it was he, and not the incumbent governor, that became the centre of attraction as he mingled with the crowd of distinguished sons of Ilorin, exchanging banters even with his political enemies.

And when the time came for his exit, it was with the loudest of ovation.

That must have irked some people. Let’s be more specific, that irked AbdulRazaq AbdulRahman and his kitchen cabinet who, since 2019, have been doing their very best to erase everything and anything that has to do with the Saraki political dynasty. They still can’t fathom how the man they believe they had destroyed is still the toast of the people.

Anyway, for those familiar with the reality of Kwara politics today, they understand the plain truth that Saraki didn’t steal any show at the latest Eid celebration in Ilorin. No, the Waziri Ngeri couldn’t have stolen what is now evidently his. There was every evidence to show that from the way things turned out at the Eid on Sunday, the multitude of worshippers were excited the former governor was at the ground fully, and as they say on the streets, “No Shaking”.

We must understand what this means, given the backdrop of events at the 2023 edition of this religious ceremony that is meant to unite all of us irrespective of our political leanings but which those at the centre of leadership in the state today turned into a platform for desecrating even the official protocols of our traditional institution.

For those who might have forgotten, last year, the senior brother to Governor Abdulraza Abdulrhaman allegedly took over the seat traditionally reserved for the Waziri Ngeri. As the traditional Prime Minister of the Emir, the Waziri should sit at the immediate right hand of the Emir while the governor seats to his left. But the governor and his aides, who were expected to be well schooled in the noble tradition of Ilorin, upstaged the Waziri and put the governor’s brother next to the Emir. It was a demonstration of maturity that Saraki devolved to a request by the palace to stay away from the Eid. He accepted and called his followers to obey the palace.

But this year, we thought some senses had prevailed on the governor’s men as they obeyed the traditional protocol. And that was where the people, apparently both his supporters and others, recognized Saraki’s maturity and openly applauded him. This again must have angered our maximum ruler. Visibly angered that the people hailed Saraki at the Eid ground. But can anyone cover the moon?

Last year, Saraki could have insisted on his right as the Waziri Ngeri to sit with his appointor. He could have insisted on his right as a bonafide son of Ilorin to attend the Eid prayer. He could have insisted on his rightful protocol as a former number three man in the country to sit where he rightly belongs. But he did none of these. Instead, he stayed away. After all, “Omo onilu, onife otu”.

But is Ramoni not aware that the tides are turning very fast against him? Is he not aware of the collateral damage done to his image by the N17.8b Kwara Hotel saga? Does he think that the people have forgotten the over N17.9b balance of the N27.9b bond he said is in an unnamed bank? Will the people ever forgive him for recklessly demolishing their means of livelihood within a very short notice and without commensurate compensation?

In five years, the citizens of Ilorin, nay Kwara in its entirety, have seen the reality of lies that is the life of the AA government. They have seen the insensitivity of the administration. They have seen the executive rascality that has become the hallmark of this governor. They have come to know that their governor spends the best part of his official days in Abuja attending to issues that have no bearing on Kwara. They have seen that Kwara is the only state where there is no substantive project to commission in about five years. They have seen the problem with the local government system, which they are only now hurriedly struggling to correct while they are already legally caught up as law breakers with several court judgments against the stand of the government, but they turned deaf ears.

The people have seen the law breaker they elected as their governor twice over. They have seen many and more. And they are tired. That was their message to AA at the Eid ground. The wind has blown, and the ass of the chicken has been exposed. It was also a message to Saraki. The Yoruba saying that until a woman has tried two homes, he rarely understands which is the best husband, is apt in this regard. The people have tried two husbands. Good enough, the two husbands came together to a public function on Sallah Day. And the people gave their verdict about who they trust between the two.

But AA and his kitchen cabinet won’t give up easily, hence the decision to muscle Saraki out of the Durbar that held on Tuesday to round off the Sallah festivities. Saraki was forced to explain why he would not attend and it was not beyond the fact that the governor and his handlers may have been very uncomfortable; they can’t bear the shame of having their enemy receiving public accolade while they receive insults. Since 2019, when they came into power, they have ensured that Saraki does not attend this public event that is meant to honor the Emir and his throne.

The statement issued by the governor’s media handler reels of pure mischief, although it was Saraki he accused of that offense. First , let’s consider the reality of Saraki’s position in the traditional hierarchy of Ilorin emirate. He is the Emir’s Prime Minister, the Emir’s right-hand man. The Waziri Ngeri title is not an honourary one; it is a traditional one. By muscling out the holder of such a title, and even any other title, from an event meant to honour their appointer, the governor and government of Kwara state have actually insulted the stool of the Emir. They have again insulted the sons and daughters of the emirate. They have expressed a lack of confidence in the ability of the Emir to appoint people into office, because if not, they should be able to live with whoever the Maimartaba seems fit for any office.

The governor and his advisers are also exhibiting a gross lack of understanding of how to handle the admixture of politics and the traditional institution in the state. It is the prerogative of the Emir to seek out suitable sons and daughters of Ilorin and appoint them into offices, and most times it is not a coincidence that such men are often also active in the arena of politics. It is incumbent on whoever is holding political power to understand this reality and learn to live with it without bringing the larger traditional institution into disrepute. Instead of insisting on not having Saraki at the event, the governor could easily have extracted from the Emirate leadership a commitment to ensure there are no references to political associations in the course of the Durbar.

What message would the governor have sent to the global community if he had filed behind Saraki at the Durbar, since Saraki is a senior title holder. A day before the Ilorin Durbar, former President Olusegun Obasanjo met the president’s wife. We all know the two don’t sing the same tune when it comes to politics but they chose an occasion to send a message to the world that it is possible to appear on the same platform irrespective of our differences. AA needs to grow up to this level of political maturity. He needs to grow up from politics of vindictiveness and vengeance. He needs to give peace a chance. He must be more tolerant and refined. He must also face the consequences of his bad policies and bad politics.

This is another clarion call on senior citizens of the Emirate, respected scholars and non-partisan mallams to call the governor to order before any further damage and desecration of our revered traditional institutions. What else does he want! He’s already the governor. IEDPU, especially, must play a prominent role in this regard, less they be culpable.

“Ase ibaje sebi toun lanwi, ase buburu eku arafu”.


Wahab Oba is the former Chief Press Secretary to ex Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed. 

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