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Gbemi Saraki attacks Kwara governor for demolishing father’s house

Gbemi Saraki attacks Kwara governor for demolishing father’s house

The Minister of State for Transportation, Senator Gbemisola Ruqayyah Saraki, on Friday, berated the governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, for demolishing her father’s property.

She accused the governor of rushing into an attempt to settle perceived old generational family political scores.

She said, “revenge cannot be a policy thrust of governance.”

She said the use of force and violence that the governor chose to adopt was totally unwarranted.

She said if her father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, were to be alive, he would have been saddened by the demolition of ‘Ile Arugbo’.

She also said the demolition of her father’s political base was “disrespectful” to her.

She warned that APC’s victory in the state at the poll in the last general elections might be “short-lived or diminished” if care is not taken.

She said the likes of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, who joined APC a few months to the last elections, should not be allowed to mess up the party’s fortunes in the state.

She asked the Inspector-General of Police to call the Commissioner of Police in Kwara State to order.

The minister, who made her position known in a statement she personally signed, said the art of vengeance is not what President Muhammadu Buhari or the All Progressives Congress (APC) represents.

She said it was unfortunate that there are some elements in APC who wanted to change the O to ge narrative of the 2019 elections to be about the Sarakis instead of the failed administration of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State.

But she pleaded with the people of the state, especially her father’s teeming supporters, to be calm and peaceful in the face of provocation by the governor.

The statement said: “At 3:00am Thursday 2nd of January 2020, the Governor of Kwara State, AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq, gave orders to the police to open fire on aged women at the contested welfare home, popularly known as ‘Ile Arugbo’ (home for the aged), owned by my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki.

“As a staunch and loyal member of APC, I have kept quiet to date on the happenings in my state, Kwara State. I had done this for a number of reasons, including trying to “keep my head when all about me are losing theirs.”

“But all in all, I had kept quiet, as being a loyal member and supporter of the party, I did not want to get into any squabble with the Governor despite so many provocations.

Again, as a loyal and dedicated daughter of my father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, who I hold in very high esteem, I did not want to express my opinion on the propriety of the Governor’s recent political actions as it would be seen as biased because the late Waziri is my father.

“However, given the turn of events and the violent nature of the Governor’s position, it is only right for me to speak now.”

The Minister cautioned Kwara APC against allowing some elements to turn governance into a personal vendetta.

She said: “There might have been some elements within my party, APC, who wanted to change the O to ge narrative of the 2019 elections to be about the Sarakis and not about what it was – the removal of a failing PDP administration.

“But clearly, by some recent steps taken, especially with Thursday’s actions, Kwara State APC must be careful to not allow a few elements with their own agenda other than governance to turn their personal vendetta into the official position of APC in the state.

“They must not be allowed to hijack the narrative of what our party stands for.

“The APC has, since its inception, preached and worked earnestly for genuine good governance, security, increased welfare, progress and development of the people, as exemplified by President Muhammadu Buhari, who in the face of direct provocation and deep personal attacks, remains true to the oath he took to govern all Nigerians in spite of allegiances.

“That is why it is important that my silence is not misconstrued as tacit approval or support for the actions taken by the Governor.

“As stated earlier, I chose to refrain from commenting on the onset of this land saga and did so for three reasons:

(1) I believed that this was a matter that would go through the rightful forum and due process to ascertain and establish my father’s legal rights or otherwise.

(2) My family individually and/or collectively has never derived and continues not to derive any commercial benefit from that piece of land. At the end of the day, what is on that land is nothing – no block of flats that the family is getting rent from, no office building, no factory or any other commercial venture; just a bungalow where the old women gather and get their basic needs attended to.

(3) Nonetheless, were my father alive today, surely, he would have been saddened to see bulldozers in Ile Arugbo.

The Minister said the governor cannot erase her father’s legacies.

She said: “However, I am comforted by the knowledge that my father’s good work and his respect, support and love for the aged, which was sadly lacking in the Governor’s activities of Thursday, simply cannot be erased by demolishing a bungalow.

“When it comes down to it, Ile Arugbo is a piece of bare land that holds the symbolic value of what my father stood for – humanitarianism, and that doesn’t start nor end with a building.

“But after the events of Thursday when the aged women were tear-gassed and shot at in the wee hours of the morning (3:00 am), I do not want my silence to be misconstrued, as mischief-makers have used that silence to attribute false statements allegedly made by me.”

She condemned the violence against Sarakites and others who protested against the moves to demolish the bungalow.

She said it was disrespectful of the governor to have used the police to shell her personal home.

She said the likes of Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, who joined APC a few months to the last elections, should not be allowed to mess up the party’s fortunes in the state.

She said: “The level of force and violence that the Governor chose to adopt was totally unwarranted. What resistance to protest justifies firing live ammunition and tear-gassing old women?

“Even my own personal home was not left out of the attack as numerous empty bullet shell casings and dispersed tear gas canisters were found inside my home.

“I feel that at this point, not only as a child of the late Waziri but as a member of the APC, I need to speak.

“I do so not only as a daughter but as a member of the party, to ensure that those thousands of members of APC who are Sarakites that supported the O to ge movement are not alienated.

“In addition, I do so to ensure that the resounding victory that APC enjoyed in Kwara is not short-lived or diminished.

“Governments acquire properties, even compulsorily without necessarily resorting to unprovoked violent attacks in the dead of night.

“It is especially disrespectful to me personally as a member of the APC since 2015, who welcomed and supported those who only joined us a couple of months to the elections, which includes the Governor himself, that my position as a member of the party was not given any consideration and/or regard when approaching this issue.”


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