By Soliu Woru Muhammed
The curtain came down on the Roman Empire, the Mughai Empire crumbled in 1858, the Mongol Empire crashed in 1368; the Russian Empire followed a similar shameful way in 1917. The list is endless due to discontinued unity. The reason was also not farfetched as citizens of those empires mounted the rostrum of individualism and selfish interests rather than collective goals and ambitions.
The Ilorin Emirate cannot be allowed to journey this same disdainful path. Our pride in Ilorin Emirate and Kwara State generally is ‘Harmony’, that is, peace plus unity and progress, devoid of rancor, chaos, crisis and disjointedness.
It is however frightening that this, in the recent political evolution in the Emirate, is being seriously threatened and prone to expose us to nakedness and sell us out to external attack and victimisation.
It is also feared that if the unity, consciously entrenched and engraved by our forefathers in the Emirate is lost to political sentiment, it may spell doom for our present and future. In other words, the gains of unity would be a better option than the pains of disunity and disintegration.
Our forefathers, Alfa Alimi, the successive Emirs of Ilorin Emirate, the religious leaders and Ulamas labored to build what we now pride as the Emirate legacy of speaking with one voice which has been the source of our power in the country.
This legacy that we should all cherished and nurture, is now unfortunately being dismantled by diverse political interests which if not reversed, could bring suffering to our now vulnerable Ilorin Emirate community and erode the welfare and living comfort of thousands of our people. Worst still, our conflicting political interests cannot be the solution to the debilitating poverty ravaging the citizens.
Amidst these diversities, we need to carefully plan to defend our unity and hence our social security. We need to defend our cultural heritage, never to allow ourselves to be vulnerable to external political influence, manipulation and slavery.
We must not allow the “Berlin Wall” to crumble as being canvassed and planned by enemies of the Emirate, we must not allow ourselves to be ruled by proxy from Lagos. We are the head and must protect our crown and not trade this age long legacy and honour for political divisiveness and fragmentations.
As is of old, we must defend and stand firmly by our leaders, our Governor, our political leaders, we must protect what is ours and settle our misunderstandings within ourselves and not expose ourselves to public ridicule. We cannot confront more challenging period than this in the history of our existence as a united and progressive people.
This, however, means that IEDPU must stand up stronger, the Emirate chiefs, the Council of Ulamas must rise up to the task, the intellectuals and all eggheads as well as women and youth groups must not adopt lackadaisical attitude to the problem.
These challenges confront us head long and we must all brace up to redress the trend. We must fight to reinstate the threatened status quo. We must fight for the indivisibility and indissolubility of our unity. We must promote those things, indigenous ethos and values that project our worth and protect our heritage and legacy that make us distinct as a people.
We must not customise this struggle to mean an individual, as it is beyond time, personality and religious affiliations. Ilorin Emirate, let’s speak as one again and throw all sentiments away. This is particularly very necessary as we advance close to the 2019 general elections, we must protect our unity, harmony and cohesion.
Recently we visited some prominent citizens of the emirate targeted at achieving and fostering sound political relationship between them and the Senate President, His Excellency Dr. Bukola Saraki, the result was fruitful and encouraging. It was a worthwhile endeavour. Those visited included Prof AbdulRaheem Shuaib Oba, Moshood Mustapha, Lukman Mustapha, Ayinla Folorunsho, Ambassador Yahaya Seriki, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, Prof Suleiman Abubakar, Dr Amuda Aluko and Yinka Aluko who was contacted on phone. I have no apology to tender for embarking on such a peace mission which was a true display of act of patriotism and was done devoid of any political sponsorship by anybody in order for them to support the indivisibility of the emirate in the current political dispensation in the state.
I therefore wish to appeal to those concerns to embrace dialogue in the interest of the general wellbeing of our people. I have no doubt that such peace move will no doubt only unite our people but strengthening their relationship. It is therefore up to me and you, young and old to resolve than ever before to disappoint the cynics and the alarmist now championing dismemberment of veritable political arrangement on ground put in place by our heroes past.
Finally, let us continue to live in peace and harmony which Kwara State is known for. Youths of today are the leaders of tomorrow. Hence our youths should not make themselves available as a ready tool for disintegration of our state and indeed the Nigeria nation. We must learn from the mistakes and misfortunes of other countries and communities so as to avoid the fate that befell places like Libya and Iraq to befall the Emirate and Kwara State. They were the architect of their own misfortune when their citizens allowed external forces to divide them. Today, they are yearning for political and economic peace and have fallen from their enviable height as hitherto one of best counties in the world with the citizens enjoying free wealth in all ramifications.
Also, my advise to our security agencies is to ensure the safety of lives and property of our citizen. They should maintain the peace and harmony of Ilorin and Kwara State to ensure smooth electioneering.
I enjoin INEC to provide adequate materials for the electorate to make the elected acceptable by all; INEC should not be partial and should discharge their civic responsibility without favour to any political party or group of people in order to have successful exercise.
Lastly, I called on my good people of Ilorin Emirate not to allow themselves to be use by outside politicians for the interest of themselves. The political “Berlin Wall” of the Ilorin Emirate should not be allowed to be destroyed by the disgruntled politicians.
For the records, Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has been an illustrations son of the Emirate who has greatly impacted the community and its citizens. In all the positions of authorities he has held, he has ensured that Kwara State and Ilorin community are held high in the comity of nations.
As a two-time Governor of Kwara State from 2003–11, Saraki made the state the cynosure of all eyes with far reaching reforms that positively impacted the various sectors in the state. From construction and expansion of township roads to provision of infrastructure and basic amenities in primary and secondary schools, Saraki made the state a mini construction site. The high point of his impact on education was the establishment of the Kwara State University, Malete which is one of the fastest growing citadel of learning in the country. The project has changed the educational status of the state. During his time as governor, Kwara State has it so good with prompt payments of salaries and far reaching policies and reforms that birthed the Aviation College, Diagnostic Centre and completion of the Stadium complex to boost sport in the state, among others.
His emergence as the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria during his second term at the National Assembly has attracted a lot of projects to the state with a lot of empowerment programmes and assistance from his constituency office in Ilorin.
These include construction of roads, renovations of class rooms and massive provision of boreholes across Kwara Central and the state in general. He also provided scholarships to over 71 first class graduates of Kwara indigenes in universities across the country. If he continues as the next Senate President, the State will never remain the same again.