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Kwara’s Intriguing Politics: Flopped ‘Otoge’ And When Bukola Saraki Came Home

The Oasis Reporters

May 15, 2024









Former president Jonathan receives smiling northern politicians. Watch Jonathan’s unsmiling face while with visiting former Senate President, Bukola Saraki (right) who was one of the politicians in the PDP that orchestrated  the exit of Jonathan, leading to his humiliating loss. Yet he exhibited grace and class in defeat . Former minister of sports, Alhaji Abdullahi is with him on the left.

With all the hype about turning the challenging situations in Nigeria’s Kwara State by utilizing the enormous agricultural potentials in the fertile state, it is time to once again reminisce on that enormously rich state with a poverty ridden outlook due to poor finishing in it’s leadership class.


The state used to have a political godfather, Oloye Olusola  Saraki, a medical doctor who was so beloved by the vast number of citizens of the state to the extent that the Oloye who once became Nigeria’s third most important political leader as Senate president under President Shehu Shagari (1979-1983), was so powerful that he would then single handedly install the governor of the state and change them at will.


At a point, whoever wanted to play politics at the national level would of necessity pay obeisance to the grandmaster in Ilorin.


Olusegun Obasanjo visited him in 1999 and that was one of the factors behind his success. At a point the grandmaster decided to install his own son as governor.


Yes his son, Dr. Bukola Saraki who came with brimming hope and hype on how he was going to turn the dour look of Kwara State into the bright hope of an agriculturally progressive state.


He had a formula.


He would bring in South African Boers to establish modern farming by revolutionising the agro- business economy in the state through the novel Tsonga farms.


But Boers have an apartheid mindset, he was reminded and Bukola Saraki quipped, “how many are they? They cannot overwhelm us”.


At Tsonga farms the Boers came and they farmed, but so much happened without noise, and no one can say that they saw Tsonga milk in the markets of Ilorin as people continued to drink the local Fulani milk, Nono. And they would add Fura (a local gruel).



After Bukola Saraki’s eight years in power, he assumed the position of godfather in Kwara politics by displacing his father, the Oloye. So he gave the state a successor and as the people failed to see the badly needed change in their circumstances, they stormed the streets in chants of ‘otoge’ (meaning it is enough) and displaced the Saraki political dynasty after the tenure of the successor. At a point Saraki got into conflict with President Goodluck Jonathan who was asking him questions about some improprieties about running his father’s bank, Societé Generale Bank that was completely run aground, leading to its collapse.

And many more questions about the economy of Kwara and how it was run.


This was one of the reasons that possibly  led to his teeming up with some other politicians to make Jonathan lose his presidential reelection contest.


Bukola Saraki came back into power through the APC and back to the PDP, still the fortunes of Kwara continued to deteriorate, leading to the mass Otoge movement.


It’s the luck of Kwara and leadership that the mass outpouring of revolt brought political change, yet the condition of the people got even worse, such that a disillusioned people had no choice other than to embrace the Saraki dynasty when he declared in 2022 that he was back!



So Kwara, choose your leadership, from the not so drab, to the not so bright, meanwhile the conditions remain the same, even when politico-religous feathers are ruffled because all Christian mission schools go to Muslim leadership and street fights become common place in front of the mission schools. Meanwhile check out all the leaders in the state from Olusola Saraki to Bukola Saraki and Abdulrazak his successor, these are staunch Muslims with Christian wives or Christian mothers.


Kwara, such an intriguing place.





Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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