By Victor Ojelabi
The news coming out of Kwara may not be shocking, but the underlining factors and the probable trajectories is a cause for concern for many.
It was recently reported how the organisation of the 2019 Annual Durbar has become chaotic, because the governor is bent on obliterating Bukola Saraki’s name and influence from the festival. The report alleged that the invitation cards had gone to press thrice tending towards making a final copy without the ex-governor’s name on it. It is also of the Governor’s bidding that the seating arrangement should copiously omit Senator Bukola Saraki, who is the Waziri of Ilorin. Here goes the problem, which caliphate holds a Durbar without the prominent participation and honour of her Waziri(s)?
The organisers of the event, who have never dealt with power plan in planning of this yearly festival are bewildered by the directive from the state government. His position is said to have been a bump on the part to hosting another successful event this year. It is mostly perceived has scent marking by political analyst, a coverture way to iterate that there is “a new sheriff in town”.
Admittedly, change in power connotes switch in the order, prerogatives and protocol, which comes with new ascendancy, but it berates reasoning that a state’s chief executive will be involved in trivial activity of invitation card design and sitting arrangement at a festival. It is not new to our clime, when power changes hands, for opposition to get repeated boot-offs, sidelining and complete obscuring, but this comes to a shameful market fight and a show of littleness on the part of the governor.
Abdulrazaq before now, was a long ally of Senator Bukola Saraki. He had a major part of his banking career at the Saraki-owned Societe Generale Bank. He also served under his administration (as state governor) as a two-term commissioner. He was head of key strategic programs of the Bukola Saraki government. How the boat rocked recently is still puzzling to many, despite the fact the Abdulrazaq even followed his former boss to ditch the APC for PDP as recently as 2018 (before his eventual return and victory at the polls).
It is believed that Ahmed joined the federal-backed conspiracy to scuttle Bukola Saraki’s rising political career with the ‘Otoge’ movement. In fairness to him, all loyalty at home buckled under the tremendous political force from the highest cadre of the APC, which was marshaled to Kwara politics in the build up to the elections. What comes to mind and calls for reasoning is the extent to which Governor Abdulrazaq would go to make Saraki irrelevant and dishonoured.
The worry of concerned citizens of the state goes beyond the possible drama at this year’s Durbar. The actual concern is that the administration of Governor Abdulrahaman Abdulrazaq may be coloured by adversary-hunting, party-groveling and unhealthy power tussle. Bukola Saraki on his part has continued to show that he has a life beyond partisan politics. After the rigorous and spiteful election campaigns, his loss at the polls, the Waziri Ilorin, has not been seen on the political turf of the opposition. He seems to have taken everything in its stride and moved on. With Abdulrazaq’s constant poking, how long can the lion within hibernate?
Finally, the Durbar is largely the Emir’s party. The state governor is merely a ceremonious host, because it is funded with state resources. The festival has a cultural background and rich history, which has become the highlight of Ramadan for many years. The beauty has always been the honour of the Emir riding along his caliphate in company of his Waziri(s). The hallmark of the festival as envisioned by the British colonial rulers and displayed in over hundred years of its existence, is to showcase the glory and power of the ruling class, the king, his officials ride through his subjects. The Durbar honours the Emir and his Waziri(s) and one without that goal is an aberration.
Is it then safe to opine that the administration of AbdulRahman AbdulRasaq in Kwara State would rather engage in cheap popularity contest at stamping his power to govern the state for expiring four years than provide better governance for the people of Kwara State?
The coming days would judge.
-Victor Ojelabi, journalist and social commentator, writes in from Lagos