Saraki has not retired from politics – Allies

The recent move by the people of Kwara State, which ousted former Senate President, Bukola Saraki from the National Assembly and broke his stranglehold on the soul of Kwara, may not have sounded the death knell on his political career.

This is because amid the news making the rounds that Saraki may have secretly called it quit with active politics, sources told The Guardian in Ilorin, that the erstwhile governor was covertly planning a return to the political scene.

Sources said, ‘The leader’ as Saraki is fondly called by his cronies, recently held a closed-door meeting at his ‘Ileloke’ White House Ilorin residence with representatives of his followers across the existing 16 councils in the state.

An Ilorin-based political aide of Saraki, who pleaded anonymity, said, “the meeting x-rayed our past relationships with the people of Kwara. We believed that where the people had been wronged by our policies should be urgently redressed. Besides, we told ourselves the plain truth that we should move around the state to beg the people for forgiveness if they must reconsider us for a return to power. But please all I am telling you now will not be carried out until the next six months. We are studying the political terrain to enable us know the best methods to adopt in this regard.”

He added that the meeting was down to earth as many political office holders as at the time of the fall from power were scolded. “Many of them failed to release the democratic dividends to the grassroots as instructed by the leader. These and many other issues came up. It was indeed a frank meeting,” he said.

Another source, who is close to Saraki, blamed the immediate past governor of the State, Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, for allegedly running a frugal government for a period of eight years.

“The way he treated the issues of the Councils workers was also not too good. This does not mean that the ex-Governor did not try his best. I only brought this out as a typical example of what was discussed at the meeting,” the source said.

Saraki, who though has been living quietly since his defeat at the polls, may pull resources to launch back his career through wining the next ticket of Kwara Central Senatorial District. The ticket, occupied by Dr Yahaya Oloriegbe, may be easier for the former Senate President to wrestle.

He is not resting and has put machinery in motion. Some team of conciliators constituted by the former Senate President now move under cover to assuage the feelings of the people.

At 56, Saraki has some age advantages in his favour and according to his aide, Suleiman Yusuf, “nobody can send him on any early retirement. He was born into politics and what do you want him to do outside politics?”

Like a proverbial cat with nine lives, can Saraki rebuild the ruined empire? The attitude of the people to ‘forgiveness’ and his ability to sustain the tempo of his welfare programmes will be key determining factors.