Sequel to requests by friends on social media asking my view about the ongoing crisis between Dr. Bukola Saraki, the son of late Kwara strong man Dr. Olusola Saraki, and the boss of Federal Character Commission (FCC), Professor Abdulraheem Oba, I deem it quite proper at this point to air my view on the saga.
Worthy to note is the fact that, I hardly comment on personal political issues, especially between erstwhile partners. However, several calls and unfolding events in the state challenged me into breaking my silence to put this piece together.
Since the commencement of the crisis, several reports emanating from both camps have littered the airwaves, but what caught my attention mostly was a report credited to professor Abdulraheem Oba, where the federal character boss said and I quote, ‘’if he (Bukola) made you, he didn’t make me because I was already at the peak of my career when he (Bukola) was nobody.’’
According to the report, the ex- Unilorin VC was reported to have dropped the bombshell when the current secretary to the state government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold allegedly warned Professor Oba to mind the way he speaks to Saraki in a meeting.
This statement according to the report angered Oba who flared up and told the meeting that, if Bukola Saraki didn’t accord needed respect to the elders, he will stop coming to the meeting.
Prof Oba further boasted at the meeting that, ‘’I became a professor in 1995 and a Vice Chancellor subsequently without the input of neither you (Bukola) nor your late father (Olusola Saraki). I only got introduced to your late father after I became the VC. When I was appointed a professor in 1995, you (Bukola) was nobody, Professor Oba was quoted to have said.
Truthfully, Professor Oba was right as the record shows, he was already a Vice Chancellor while Bukola was nothing than the son of his father.
However, some concerned observers of the unfolding crisis are wondering how Professor Oba suddenly realized this now.
Many are asking, did Bukola Saraki suddenly start disrespecting elders out of the blues? Others are equally asking, what was the professor thinking when he was crawling before the son of the late Kwara strong man?
From my interaction with people following the saga, many are wondering why Oba is suddenly complaining about what he described as disrespect from Bukola, asking that, isn’t disrespect what all the loyalists of Saraki’s dynasty had all learnt to swim in, live with and continue to praise?
A Yoruba adage says, ‘’Ti aba ta ara wa ni opo, a ko le ri ra ni owon’’, meaning that, if we sell ourselves cheaply, we can’t buy it costly’’.
The popular believe is that, Professor Oba had sold himself cheaply due to lack of self worth, contentment, greed and selfish interest and no matter what he does today, he can’t be bought expensively. You can’t eat your cake and still have it.
While discussing the issue on my face book page, a friend noted that, Professor Oba’s lust for power turned him to Bukola’s errand boy and at the same time turned him to his enemy. He further added that, let’s wait and see where his unholy romance with President Goodluck Jonathan for achieving his greedy ambition for power would lead him. Though, another friend noted that, Oba applied what he described as ‘false pretence’ to gain the trust of Saraki. Quoting a popular saying to support his stance that, if you wan kach monkey, you go do like monki.
However, when I first heard about the two’s relationship back then, that was when our super professor was said to be kneeling and crawling to greet Bukola Saraki, I do feel ashamed and infuriated. This is a boy that could easily be Oba’s son, his student or his colleague, but since the professor doesn’t know what it means to have self respect and worth despite attaining such a high standard, he sold himself cheap and be-littled his status/age.
It is my believe that, Professor Oba got the several appointments he got from Bukola Saraki due to his yes sir stand until his appointment at the federal Characters commission.
It was the FCC’s position that exposed Professor Oba to the world and opened his eyes and brain which to me is a good thing.
Federal characters commission is an agency that linked Nigeria together, an agency were the several ethnic groups in country meet to balance political appointments sharing.
FCC chairmanship, which Oba got courtesy of Saraki exposed the professor to all sort of people who accord him due respect, not for his position as the chairman of federal character alone, but for his pedigree and status as a professor and his age.
Having tested the milk of honour and regained the sense of human dignity which as long been lost to the kwara young overlord, Oba felt it is time to claim some self respect even from Bukola who emerged out of sheer inheritance of a dying dynasty, hence the source of the ripple.
It is true, that Professor Oba is generously empowering Kwarans through his capacity as Federal Character Chairman. Rumour also has it that, the philanthropic professor does go outside his domain to source for other federal jobs, sometimes paying for them to ensure he assists as many people as he could. This explains the seeming popularity Oba is now enjoying in kwara state, especially in ilorin, the state capital.
It is worth noting that, unlike others that usually limit their job offers to political affiliates. Oba is doing what he could to help everyone that came his way with or without political affiliation, this have gained him some level of public support.
But a popular Yoruba adage says, ‘’a ko le pe maalu ni boda, ni to ripe afe je eran’’, which means that, we can’t refer to a cow a brother, simply because we are in need of meat’’.
Crawling or kneeling down before Bukola Saraki as professor Oba was reported to have been doing before the fall out with Saraki is not a sign of respect for Bukola’s person, it is not a sign of honour to his office, neither was it an honour for his status, it was simply a sycophantic trait known with all sycophants across the world to gain favour, which is not born out of sincere conviction, but a plot to be in position of relevance at all cost.
It is my believe that, for no reason should Oba defy himself of dignity to gain favour after attaining a height of honour, but his desperation for relevance sold him out which is now hunting him.
To further demonstrate his stoogeship to Saraki, Oba was told to resign his position as the FCC chairman by Bukola to pave way for him to become the kwara state governor in 2011 and the professor did, only to be prevented from contesting the PDP primary election by the young overload. This made me refer back to the words of the super professor which says, ‘’When I was appointed a professor in 1995, you (Bukola) was nobody’’. How does the professor’s action justify this statement?
Again, after Professor Oba had been prevented from contesting the primary election by Bukky as Saraki is popularly called, he was appointed the Kwara central Campaign coordinator of the incumbent governor, Abdulfatai Ahmed. That again put a question mark on the state of mind of the professor and his conviction about his true status.
Thanks to the good people of Ilorin whom were rumoured to have lobbied the FCC position back for Oba, only for the credit to be showered on Bukky once again.
However, since getting the FCC position back, Oba and Bukola have been at loggerhead with each other, fighting over status and claim to honor. The FCC boss is said to be ready to acquire his lost independence and possibly position himself to take over the government house as governor come 2015, while Bukky on the other hand is struggling to cripple the financial source and relevance of the professor.
In my opinion, this is a fight between 2 misguided partners that merely seek power to advance their dominion, though, one is better than the other.
On a personal note, I have no problem with either of the two. As for Bukola, I am yet to see what he has achieved to deserve this undeserved sycophantic praises. And for Oba, I am convinced the Professor is a good man who deserves to be free from the bondage of cluelessness he got himself into. But can he be trusted with power?
Based on my guiding philosophy, I believe people should judge me with my past, hold me accountable to my present and possibly lead me to my future.
In applying this philosophy to assess our super professor, let us look at the facts together to be vindicated by history.
Professor Abdulraheem Oba was a former vice Chancellor at the better by far university (University of Ilorin), this position as far as i am concerned is the major position of power the professor held prior to his present appointment as FCC chairman.
As the most powerful man in the university, how did Abdulraheem Oba made use of his privilege as Vice Chancellor against the weak? As far as we could recall, it wasn’t pleasant.
Two major events occurred which can be used as a measure to judge the ex-Vice chancellor.
1. The sacking of striking lecturers
2. Encounter with Unilorin student union
1. The sacking of striking lecturer: This issue had been addressed over and over again, and one simple truth about the whole saga that has been established is that, the lecturers were sacked by Oba for no crime, other than the fact that they legitimately participated in the activities of their union. This in my opinion is the height of abuse of power and violation of constitutional rights of fellow citizens.
In redressing this abuse of power by Oba, the Supreme Court of Nigeria ruled after 8 years that the 44 Unilorin lecturers unjustly sacked under controversial circumstances be reinstated with immediate effect. It also ruled that, the lecturers should also receive their salaries and bonuses with arrears.
Sadly, four of the lecturers died while waiting for this judgement after years of illness courtesy of Oba’s unjust abuse of power.
In addition, It was expected that after this ugly incident, Professor Oba was expected to tender an apologize to the victims of abuse by him, especially to the family of those who had lost their lives, but till date, no apology was offered even after the declaration of the Supreme Court.
2. Encounter with unilorin student union: This is another major incident which put Professor Oba’s ability to respect people’s right into question.
While Oba was Unilorin VC, he not only victimized the Student Union Government (SUG), but had many unionists unduly remanded in prison and later charged to court for concocted charges. In the process of this abuse, one Comrade Idowu while on his way to ilorin from Ire in Osun state to attend the second sitting of the court had an accident which claimed his life.
Another unionist, Comrade Lanre while on his way back to his base in Ilaro after a court sitting in ilorin also had an encountered with armed robbers, which also cost him his sight. According to reports from Lanre’s friend, he is completely blind now.
If Oba can abuse power to this extent while serving as a mere Vice Chancellor, what would he do as Governor?
Bukola Saraki on the other hand is nothing, but a beneficiary of a dynasty. Though served as a Governor for 8 years, but hardly define what he wants him life beyond the inherited dying dynasty.
Let me conclude by asking that, who is to be blamed if Oba Abdulraheem, a misguided professor subject himself to be used for selfish gains?
Watch out for the part 2.
Written By Abdulrazaq O Hamzat