By Abdulganiyu Abdulqadir
I read with interest an article with the above title, written by one Yahya Habib and published by some online blogs. Ordinarily, one would have ignored his piece as rantings of a confused and embittered soul, but the need to set the records straight and point out the patent lies and subjective conclusions contained in his fallacious article necessitated this rejoinder.
For those who do not know, Yahaya Habib is an apologist of the APC who has deep hatred for Saraki, evidenced by several of his canard and scathing remarks against the former Senate President. So, when he writes about Saraki, his commentaries are mostly products of sentiments and hatred.
He also has a stake with Governor Abdulrazaq and seen that the Governor is failing and steadily falling out of favour with Kwarans. And he feels the only way to veil the governor’s obvious failures is by consistently attacking Saraki.
In the article, the writer laboured in vain to paint Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki as a leader who doesn’t care about his people because he’s no longer in power. He argued that Saraki had since after the election in 2019 stayed away from Kwara and abandoned his people, without lending them a helping hand whenever the need arises. This claim is ridiculous and unfounded.
To be clear, Saraki didn’t stay away from Kwara because he lost the 2019 election. As pointed out in one of his previous statements, Saraki deliberately stayed away from the State to avoid creating any distraction for the present administration. According to him, his decision is borne out of a genuine restraint to enable the administration settle down and fulfill its numerous promises to the people of Kwara.
It is therefore patently false and foolhardy of anyone to say that Saraki embarked on a self-imposed exile and had abandoned his people to suffer. Habib must be the only Kwaran who isn’t aware that Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki though his initiative, the ABS Foundation provided relief materials to many less privileged Kwarans during the Covid-19 lockdown period to cushion the impacts of the lockdown on them. We all can still remember how the State Government attempted to frustrate effort of the Foundation to distribute the relief materials.
In addition, Saraki doled out N10, 000 stipend each to no fewer than 2500 economically vulnerable persons across the State during the COVID-19 lockdown. Also during this same period, the former Senate President gave N10, 000 stipend to about 500 Kwara youth whose livelihoods were affected by the pandemic.
Kwarans and the general public are aware that the Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq led administration had on New Year Day, demolished the well-known Ile-Arugbo, where aged persons, mostly women used to converge on to receive support and care. But in spite of the demolition of the building, Saraki has not ceased to reach out to these women.
He, at different occasions during the lockdown period and even during festivities, distributed relief items and cash gifts to the women.
Apart from all these interventions, Saraki had at different times lend support to individuals who sought his assistance. One of such persons was a young man, Muhammad Lawal Bello whose fish farm was washed away by flood in Ilorin. Bello reached out to Saraki for assistance and he was supported with cash and mentorship.
The latest of Saraki’s philanthropic gestures was the footing of the medical expenses of an Ilorin- based veteran photo-journalist, Alhaji Ibrahim Salami, who is billed to have a leg surgery at the University of Ilorin Teaching Hospital (UITH). The sum of N250,000 has been released by Saraki to cater for the surgery.
How can anyone now claim that a man who has done this much and continue to do, has lost touch with its people? No attempt to paint Saraki in bad light through trading of untruths and propaganda will succeed. With or without power, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki will continue to display his gesture of goodwill to Kwarans.