This story of betrayal, family distrust, political schemes and dramatic happenings begins in the north central city of Ilorin, Kwara state. The late strongman of Kwara politics, Oloye Olusola Saraki together with two of his children, Gbemisola Saraki and Bukola Saraki happen to be the main characters in this plot.
The Story Of Olusola Saraki
Olusola Saraki used to be the main man in Kwara State when it came to political control and influence as he was more or less the man who handpicked those who were going to govern the affairs of the state. This went on right from when the state was still merged with Kogi state as he once worked against his natural party, the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) to produce Adebayo Cornelius as the State governor who was with the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN). Cornelius defeated the incumbent Adamu Attah, whom interestingly, Saraki had as well propped up for his first term but who later rebelled against Saraki. In that same election, NPN won as the majority in the State House of Assembly, while UPN produced the governor, such was the kind of influence that the senior Saraki had in the state.
Fast forward to 1999, when the country attained democratic rule once again, the power of Olusola Saraki was once again shown as he backed the late Mohammed Lawal of the defunct, All Peoples Party (APP) to become the state governor. However, somewhere along the line this governor again fell out with Saraki. The strongman of Kwara politics had finally had enough and decided to switch parties and support his son Bukola Saraki for the governorship of Kwara state who ended up winning the election.
Bukola and Gbemisola Saraki
Saraki was not yet done, as during the next election period, he propped his daughter Gbemisola Saraki for the Kwara Central Senatorial seat while his son Bukola Saraki was propped to contest for governor at the same time in 2003, with both eventually serving two terms. The story however began to change after they were both done with their respective tenures. The senior Saraki wanted his senator daughter Gbemisola to succeed her brother, Bukola as the governor of the state, while he replaces her as senator for Kwara Central, but the younger Saraki would have non of that.
Bukola Saraki disagreed with his father and supported one of his men, Ahmed Abdul-Fatah, for the governorship position while spiting his father and sister. He outsmarted both as his candidate became the candidate produced at the primaries of their party, the PDP, thereby inheriting the political machinery of his father and betraying his family members, disgracing his sister and father to become the number one man in Kwara State politics.
Oloye Olusola Saraki, moved along with his daughter Gbemi Saraki to another party (ACPN) as she contested for the governorship polls, but then she lost out woefully to Ahmed Abdul-Fatah, her brother’s anointed candidate from the Peoples Democratic Party. It did not stop there as Bukola Saraki went on to succeed her as the Senator for Kwara Central in the National Assembly.
Thus the ball was set rolling for a monstrous family feud that has lasted up till this day. It was even reported in some quarters that the senior Saraki had placed a curse on his son Bukola Saraki for usurping his political machinery in the state and humiliating him and his sister, as he was deeply hurt by the betrayal of his son. According to the reports, the elder Saraki had sworn that his son was going to meet his own political end in the near future for his treachery.
Fast forward to some years later, Olusola Saraki finally passed away, and his son Bukola Saraki was fully recognized as the powerhouse of Kwara state politics, just as his father once was. But the issue of the “curse” still lingered.
Bukola Saraki went against all odds to become the Senate President, in fashionable manner defying his then political party, the APC, and from there his travails began.
Not too long after he became the Senate President, he was taken to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for allegedly failing to properly declare his asset. This was a first in the history of the country as no other Senate President had been charged for corruption. He eventually won the case but was subjected to more troubles, as there was even an occasion were he was reportedly being set up for impeachment, but he again escaped.
Due to the issues he had with the party, he later defected back to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). The struggle against the Senate President continued as he was accused along with Yakubu Dogara the Speaker of the House of Reps of padding the national budget.
He however continued to forge ahead despite the many troubles which were thrown at him as it seemed the “curse” of his late father continued to haunt him. Then came the big one, what eventually shocked everyone, the 2019 general elections. Bukola Saraki again contested for the Senate after losing out in his bid to become the Presidential candidate of his party. This “curse” finally seemed to have caught up with mesujamba as he is called by many, as he lost out in his bid to return to the senate. Not only that, all his foot men lost out as well in virtually every single elective positions to the All Progressives Congress (APC).
And that was how the elaborate Saraki political dynasty which have held sway in Kwara state for decades came down crashing in just one fell swoop, and not only that, his party lost out in the race for the Presidency which means the Senate President may just be watching from the audience for the next four years until the next election comes up. It’s a sad end to our story as the curtain falls for now.
While the potency of his father’s “curse”, may seem to be a hot topic of dispute by many, in this case, it is actually looking like the “curse” actually caught up with the Senate President, well at least for now.
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