Nigeria: Saraki Talks Tough, Vows to Tackle Governor Abdulrazaq Over Revocation of Late Father's Property

Then-Kwara Governor, Dr. Bukola Saraki, in his Ilorin office in 2009.
29 December 2019

A former senate president, Bukola Saraki, has vowed to contest the revocation of his late father's property by the Kwara State Government.

He described the act as a deliberate effort of the state governor, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, to erase the legacies of his (Saraki's) late father, Olusola Saraki.

The chief press secretary to the governor, Rafiu Ajakaiye, had on Friday announced the take over of a piece of land occupied by the Saraki family in Ilorin, the state capital. He said a new secretariat would be built on the land.

Mr Ajakaiye said the land was originally meant for government secretariat and parking space of the Civil Service Clinic, but was unlawfully allocated to a private firm, Asa Investments Limited, without any record of payment to the state government.

No certificate of occupancy was issued in favour of the firm, he said.

In his reaction, Mr Saraki, who also governed the state for eight years, accused the governor of waging a war against him and his late father.

The plots; Plots 1, 3 and 5 Ilofa Road, GRA, Ilorin popularly known as Ile Arugbo, (Old People's home), has always been used to host the weekly gathering of a multitude of aged people in the society who are provided food, money and health services, as part of the social welfare programme sponsored by his father, he said.

The ex-lawmaker added that the said property had been rightfully allocated to his late father under the name of one of his companies, Asa Investment Limited, since the 1980s and contrary to the claim of the governor, the land was properly allocated and a Right of Occupancy title issued on it.

"It should be noted that the excuse given by Abdulrazaq in his revocation order holds no water since it is clear that this is the height of his vengeance against my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki and I.

"It is surprising that of all vacant plots of land in strategic places across Ilorin township, the one that Abdulrahman found useful for his vengeful plan is the one owned by late Dr. Saraki. It is beyond comprehension why a Governor would set as his main agenda the objective of undermining and waging a war of attrition against a man who is no longer around," he said.

This action, he said, is clearly a manifestation of vengeance and it shows that Mr Abdulrazaq is not out to serve any public purpose or pursue any development agenda.

Mr Saraki also wondered why they governor "has shown that his cardinal programme is to wage war against him and his late father."

Enough is enough

While he warned that the governor is no match for him, Mr Saraki urged him to use his position to serve the people - as he did during his tenure. This is even as he vowed to contest the revocation of his late father's property.

"It is well known to the governor that I fear nobody, except Almighty Allah... with all his subterranean and open moves against my family, person and property, I remain unmoved. However, his open antagonism against my late father and his legacies is unwarranted and will not be tolerated. He has definitely gone beyond bounds as he cannot be allowed to ride roughshod on the deceased. In this war against my late father, he will not win.

"This Governor has shown that he is not a man who wants peace, co-operation and development. He believes that a constant attack on my family and I is all that he needs to win the hearts of Kwara people. The need to provide good governance is secondary to him.

"However, it should be made clear to Abdulrazaq and his administration that their attack on my late father cannot erase the legacies of Oloye. No evil design, negative plot or propaganda can successfully rewrite the history of Kwara State. This plot against my late father will not stand.

"And I will like to make it clear that we will contest this petty, malicious, dubious and bias action of a parochial, vicious and vindictive administration through all legal means. We are sure this is not an action taken in public interest. Rather, it is done in pursuit of a selfish and devious objective," he said.

Court Order

Mr Saraki's comments comes weeks after a Federal High Court in Ikoyi, Lagos State, ordered the interim forfeiture of the Ilorin residence of the immediate past Senate President.

According to a statement issued by the EFCC, the judge, Rilwan Aikawa, gave the order, after an ex-parte application by the commission

The property located at 1, Abdulkadir Street, GRA, Ilorin, Kwara State, was 'seized' on the grounds that it was acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity.

The judge who gave the order also directed the applicant to cause the order to be published in a national newspaper and invite anyone "with an interest in the property to show cause, why the mansion valued at over a billion naira, should not be forfeited to the Federal Government."

Mr Saraki's family have largely controlled Kwara since 1999 when Nigeria became democratic after years of military rule.

First, it was Mr Saraki's father who determined the person to be the governor of the state. His son later took over that role after serving as governor for two terms.

Mr Saraki was, however, humbled in the 2019 elections as he and his party, PDP, lost all elections in Kwara State.

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