By Basambo Abudlakeem (White Hat)
Kwara State was created by General Yakub Gowan on the 27th of May 1967. The state has produced 7 Democratically elected Governors, namely: Adamu Attah 1979-1983, Cornelius Olatunji Adebayo October 1983- December 1983, Shaaba Lafiagi 1992-1993, Muhammed Alabi Lawal 1999-2003, Bukola Saraki 2003-2011, Adbulfatah Ahmed 2011-2019, Adbulrasaq Abdulrahman 2019- date.
Out of all these Governors, Senator Bukola Saraki is outstanding, this is because he was the first Governor to spent two terms in office, he was also the first former Governor of the state to be a senator, and the Senate President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He was the only Governor of the state to occupied the position of Chairman of Nigeria Governors’ Forum.
Senator Bukola Saraki was elected as the Executive Governor of Kwara state in 2003 and was reelected in 2007, which means he spent 8 years as a Governor of the state.
Sen. Bukola Saraki’s Achievements
During his administration in the state, Senator Bukola Saraki performed excellently well, to the extent that he was elected as the chairman of the Governors’ forum in the Country. I will list few of his achievement below:
Ilorin International Airport & International Aviation College
He brought Kwara state to limelight by upgrading Ilorin Airport to International Airport and he went further to established International Aviation College, Ilorin, where pilots and other space experts are made. This School today, has produced numbers of Aircraft experts.
Post Office Overhead Bridge
Before the administration of Senator Bukola Saraki, the traffic situation at Post Office, Ilorin was unbearable, especially at the close of work and early morning rush hours. The Administration of Senator Bukola Saraki took a giant stride by constructing an overhead bridge at Post Office Ilorin, to reduce the traffic congestion at the area.
Asa- Dam Offa Garage Bypass Road
The Administration of Senator Bukola Saraki, in a bid to ensure easy transportation and good road networks in the state, constructed the Asa- Dam Offa Garage bypass road, this is the shortest root from Airport to Kwara South for those who are going towards the southern part of the state instead of going through the long root of challenge.
Ilorin Metropolitan Square
Prior to the Administration of Senator Bukola Saraki, all major political and religious programmes were carried out at the Kwara State Stadium, this often affected the sporting activities in the stadium, his administration then constructed the metropolitan Square to be used for those political and religious programmes in the state. That was where President Buhari used for his campaign in the state.
Tsonga Commercial Farm
The Administration of Senator Bukola Saraki, revived the Agricultural sector in the state, he did this by inviting the Zimbabwean Farmers to the State, the state farm which was established in Tsonga boosted the economy of the state as the farm was producing milk, rice, and Maize at low cost for the state.
Ganmo Independent Power Plant( stepdown)
To ensure a stable power supply in the state, Senator Bukola Saraki embarked on building of Independent power plant at Ganmo, he was one of the first set of Governors to do so in the Country. Today, the entire Ganmo, Amoyo, GRA , and many parts of Ilorin are enjoying uninterrupted power supply.
Senator Bukola Saraki’s administration prioritized sports by renovating Ilorin Stadium to best standard, Kwara United Football Club was promoted to the Nigerian Premiere League. It was during his administration that he established Bukola Saraki Football Club ABS and Kwara Football Academy which has produced many football stars today.
Youth Employment & Empowerment
Senator Bukola Saraki was a youth Friendly Governor, his administration employed many Kwara Youths and empowered them as well. Even after his tenure as a Governor, as a Senate President he positioned many Kwara Youths at the Federal levels, especially people from Ilorin. He facilitated many political and professional appointment for Kwara, at Federal Character Commission (FCC) Department of State Services (DSS) Nigerian Immigration Service, (NIS) Nigerian Police Force (NPF), Nigerian Army, Air Force, Navy, NNPC, National Assembly and so on, these are verifiable facts.
Social Welfare Package
The welfare of the people was so Paramount to Senator Bukola Saraki while in office, hence he had a special location where he usually meet with the aged in the society, just like his father, (Ile Arugbo) to give them food items, money and clothes, this is the place the present Governor has pulled down for political reason.
Apart from the aged, he also had package for party members, all members of his party were respectfully cared for. You can’t work for Bukola Party and then be abandoned as it is in the state today, Bukola will definitely reward hard work for the party. Senator Bukola Saraki was never an ingrate.
Decorum in the Ruling Party
Senator Bukola Saraki maintained good leadership quality while in Government, unity of the party was Paramount, there was no caucus in his party, no leadership crisis as can be seen in the ruling APC in the state today.
Even Distribution of Positions
This is his area of Concentration, he knew very well how political position should be distributed without bias or favoritism. He will never give position to allies and cronies who do not deserve the position or someone who did not either participate in political campaign or involved in activities that brought the government into power as it done today, where those that worked for the ruling party were abandoned and those who did not do anything for the success of the party were appointed as commissioners and so on. Even someone who was not in Nigeria throughout the electioneering period was appointed as commissioner.
Bukola would make sure all local governments and towns are adequately represented in position distribution.
Appointment of Qualified Personalities
Bukola Saraki would never appoint a mediocre into his cabinet, lahi lahi, all his appointees were qualified professionals who have excelled in their various professions before joining politics. I cannot forget one of his commissioners for Information, Prince Tunji Moronfoye, he was an expert in that office, he carried the people of the state along in the governance. Compare to the present one, i have never heard him on radio or Television before, i don’t even know his name, if you asked Primary school students who was commissioner for information during that time, they will tell you is Tunji Moronfoye. (Even those he nominated for Ahmed)
Kwara state as a whole witnessed many infrastructural development during Saraki time, Road, Water, Transportation, Housing and many more that are too numerous to mention.
However, kwaran decided to part way from Senator Bukola Saraki, because his godson, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed performed woefully during his 8 years tenure as the governor of the state. Some people believe Saraki was responsible for his failure, coupled with the fact that kwarans wanted to test another leader as they have been under the leadership of Senator Bukola Saraki for the past 16 years.
In fact, the people of Kwara South believe that he wasted their slot for the state Governor, as no part of the Kwara South benefited as such from Megida Administration, even Share his own Town lamented about his tenure.
The people of Kwara State have seen what they wanted, why they shouted O to ge, which is change of leader, but i believe what they eventually see is not what they bargained for as over 80% of the people that shouted O to ge are now regretting it, including myself, i could remember i had to fight with a close friend because of Mallam Abdulrasaq Abdulrahman during the 2019 General Election, but nothing to show for it.
I also remember how people were using their money to build bill boards for him, campaigned for him on the social media and everywhere, but today everyone is abandoned.
The civil servants thought their minimum wage would be Automatic if he gets there, the students thought KWASU School fees would be slashed, that right people would be appointed into power, in fact, i was thinking that Femi Yusuf would be made Commissioner for works and Transport, considering his wide knowledge of Kwara Roads and their state, coupled with the immeasurable work he did for the emergence of this administration.
The SUBEB and Local Government Staff thought that their outstanding salary would be paid, behold, everyone was disappointed as the Governor was doing a one man show, telling them the same story of Ahmed Megida. All the Party Faithful are tired as no reward for their unrelenting efforts. Even Devil rewards those that work for him.
By the end of the tenure of this present Government, about 90% of kwarans would have seen why we must all beg Senator Bukola Saraki for Forgiveness and pray that he should come back to rescue us from someone who is ruling us like a business factory.
Finally, Senator Bukola Saraki did not deserve the way he was treated by Kwarans, considering the above listed achievements and many more unlisted. Where we all thought we would find refuge, nothing is found therein. Even the big wig in the party are currently regretting they supported him.
SARAKI WE ARE SORRY
DISCLAIMER: All views expressed on our opinion page are those of the writer and do not represent the position of NEWS DIARY NG or any of its reporters/editors.