Senate president and key opposition figure, Bukola Saraki’s visit to the ancient town of Offa, Kwara State yesterday and has been getting a mixed reaction; jubilation and resentment.
Following Bukola Saraki’s entry into Offa town, where 32 people were killed last year in one of the bloodiest armed robbery incidents in Nigerian history, Saraki and his supporters have posted images and videos of jubilant people hailing the former governor, who is the de-facto political godfather of the state.
However, there is another scenario relating to Saraki’s presence in Offa; one of anger and resentment, and intensifying protests against a political figure many see as having an unfair stranglehold on the destiny of Kwara state. Moreover, he was implicated by one of the suspects in the gruesome Offa robbery. Although the allegation against him was never substantiated, it is another reason for those who hate his controlling grip of power in the State.
Images and videos of a horde of people trooping out and screaming ‘Ole Ole’, which means ‘Thief’ in Yoruba, have also been circulating on social media.
The Saraki family is used to political power in Kwara. Bukola Saraki’s father, Olusola Saraki, was Senate President in the Second Republic and a long-time godfather in Kwara-State politics. As a governor, Bukola usurped his father in 2011, and succeeded in installing his replacement. He later defected to the APC in 2014 and became Senate president in an intriguing drama that finally drove him back to the PDP and now pitted him against his former friends in the APC.