Offa Bank Robbery: Bukola Saraki, S.T. Oredein Comparison and How Kwara Survived Evil Politics

By Dare Babatunde

It was April 5th, 2018; not fewer than 33 people were killed with the ring leader Adiku; a dismissed police officer personally killing about 22 persons in the bank robbery that took place in the ancient town of Offa, Kwara State. Five years after, no justice has been served and like always, the world has moved on but not without its lessons. Five suspects were arrested, yet everyone kept quiet with the process of inquiry and closure of the case.

Yet, the ruling party in the State goes on air to continue to politicise the issue rather than seeking justice – as the ring leader of the robbery was killed in custody, and the prosecuting officer; Abba Kyari is now in prison for numerous crimes spanning across being accomplice to robbery, drugs and other arranged crimes. Offa people should beware of the present Commissioner of Information under Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq who despite having privilege of the state through his principal didn’t pursue the case till the last end. Offa people are the biggest victims. The ruling party politicises the issue more and more forgetting there is the business of justice left undone, four solid years spent in government and the present administration didn’t make Offa Bank robbery trial a priority. Yet, we lost 33 of us to the hands of evil people.

It has been five years, what an unfortunate and unforgettable day in Kwara. On 6th June, 2018, the media was flooded with Dr. Bukola Saraki’s link with the armed robbers by the police. The Police Force released a very long press release alleging that the arrested suspects were linked to the Senate President of Nigeria at the time, while disclosing that he was given 48 hours to respond in writing his role in the robbery. What a very sad day! What a terrible day in Kwara.

Then comes the S.T. Oderein story of his role in a robbery that took place in Ilorin in the 80s, which sent fears down the spine of lovers and admirers of the former Senate President. They asked in their rooms “could Saraki have done it?” Their faith was tested! Many ran away, many stayed while hiding their bias. It was gathered that S.T. Oredein cap was said to have thudded the ground when he was sentenced to life imprisonment for his role in the robbery.

Oredein was a top Action Group politician who even authored a book. Honestly, you must weep for Bukola Saraki, and if you can’t, you must applaud how he managed to remain sane for those times were terrible times in his life and I don’t think any trial has been greater than that for him. How did he survive that brutal politics, how is he still standing and even embracing talks of Kwara State around him? S.T. Oredein went into political retirement, his words to his children after spending ten years in prison were “politics is dirty and evil, don’t go near it.” S.T. Oredein’s children have spent decades promoting their father and alleging that it was a political plot to dismiss him from politics.

If Saraki had become a victim, decades would have been dedicated to promoting that he wasn’t who he was painted to be. So, why did you try to forget that those people who shake hands with you today propagated such evil politics?

He was deserted, rejected, hated and no phrase from his mouth made sense to the people, they were spinned, remodelled to suit that specific agenda. Smiles, what a life! Even his donation to the Offa people was regarded as paying for the lives of the victims, his comment on the donation was subjected to “scrutiny” and redesigned. How quick did we forget the evils in this state, the evils that preceded 2019 elections. How are you maintaining moral conduct in dealing with those who brought such evils via propaganda to the state? For they are even bold till date to speak in the media without being bullied. Why are you calm, did you forget?

How is Bukola Saraki able to open his arms to those people who so watched how the Saraki they need today was slaughtered? They superintended, watched and nicely retraced their steps back and want us to believe they are only guilty by “association”. Sarakites are really nice people, I must admit for no other moments should make you more violent than the Offa Bank robbery case that was slammed on your face. You were all dismissed along with Saraki as enemies of the state and perpetrators of the crime. Yet, you embraced them.

Five years after, how did you forget and moved on like nothing happened and you didn’t see the evil that almost erased you in entirety from the surface of the earth? Why are you not angry?

Smiles, it feels just like yesterday, just like yesterday. Kwara survived the height of evil politics, nothing else can bring it down. The perpetrators and conductors of such narrative are now scattered across political parties in the state, posturing like nothing happened. Yet, none has tendered any form of apology to that family, which would have been massacred if not for God!

Bukola Saraki survived plots by the APC to exile him to the bad page of history. If not for God, where would your eyes be? Hmmmm, Bukola Saraki has since that time continued to love Kwara, play active roles in state and national politics, many say the PDP national convention that produced party officials wouldn’t have held if not for his crucial leadership in advocating for peace and reconciliation. Five years after, Saraki summoned courage to contest for president through his party and came third. In national politics today, Saraki remains a necessity and rushed commodity.

It has been five solid years, and the breeze is still as beautiful as days that preceded the days of such evil politics in Kwara State. Welcome to Kwara State, Omo Olusola, welcome to Ilorin, the Jack Bauer of politics!

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