Former Kwara State governor and president of the 8th Senate, Bukola Saraki, has revealed the lessons he learnt from a political movement that swept his proteges out of power and threatened his political prestige in the state.
‘Otoge’, which translates to “enough is enough”, was used by the then opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state to campaign against decades of domination of Kwara politics by Saraki’s family during the 2019 governorship election.
Prior to that election, loyalists of Saraki had won most elective offices in the state.
The former senate president appeared on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ on Tuesday, where he gave his view on why the political movement was successful and the alleged reasons why the people of Kwara fell for it.
Saraki said the Otoge movement taught him that “elections have to do sometimes with sentiments or propaganda.”
He said, “if you come to Kwara today and talk to people, you’ll find that a lot of them will tell you that ‘we were sold lies and propaganda…we have made certain mistakes in following up the issues’ and that at the end of the day, they were better of then than now.”
Saraki’s prior domination of Kwara politics could be traced to his late father, Olusola Saraki, who had transferred the baton of leadership to his son.
The younger Saraki and his siblings had at some point held different elective positions at the same time.
The ‘Otoge’ movement was seen as Kwara people’s way of protesting against the political hegemony of the Saraki family by voting massively against its loyalists during the 2019 general elections.
But Bukola Saraki argued that the Kwara APC deceived the people of the state by using propaganda to grab power.
“So, one of the things you also learn in politics is that you must also accept that sometimes the electorates will go. The electorates are always right, they will go with their emotions at times and later the electorates too can come back and say “I think we got it wrong here”.
“Because at the end of the day in Kwara, there was no substance. It was raw propaganda and that’s what they are saying.
“Since we lost the election, I immediately congratulated the other party and I told my supporters to give them support.
“Our gubernatorial candidate who wanted to (challenge the outcome), went to the elections tribunal and wanted to go the Supreme Court [but] we called him and said ‘look, let’s cooperate, don’t go beyond election tribunal” and now it is the party themselves and the people that are saying ‘we made a mistake here’. So, what is learnt from that is that the electorates sometimes, maybe after there is fatigue or a party has been in government for so long, the people will say I want to try something else. Sometimes those decisions are made on sentiments as opposed to what is actually on ground.”
The Minister of Information, Lai Mohammed, who is one of the Kwara APC leaders, had few month ago said that he regrets supporting Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq as the party’s governorship candidate in the 2019 election.
“It was immediately after the governor emerged as the party’s candidate for the election that it dawned on us that we had entered one chance.
“Despite all the warnings from concerned party leaders and others who had reservations about his choice, our reaction then was that no matter what, his choice was better than where we were coming from. But we were wrong,” Mohammed had said in July.