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Opinion

2019 Elections: Saraki’s loss a lesson in power

The 2019 general election was not only dramatic but full of surprises for the electorate and those who contested for one political office or the other. While one cannot shy away from the irregularities that attended the polls, one should not throw away the lessons the polls brought to Nigerian politicians and Nigerians. The election did not only see the emergence of new leaders but it altered the nation’s political landscape. Many politicians who thought Nigeria and Nigerians were their personal estates were greatly disappointed and taught a lesson of a lifetime in the polls.
 
The Sarakis have been in Kwara politics since the Nigeria Second Republic. Olusola Abubakar Saraki the father to both Gbemisola Rugayyah Saraki and Bukola Saraki was a Senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria under the National Party of Nigeria (NPN)  from 1979-1983 before the Second Republic was aborted by Gen. Ibrahim Badmosi Babaginda in 1983.
 
Mrs Gbemisola Rugayyah Saraki, the daughter of the Senior Saraki, was a member of the Nigerian House of Representative in 1999 when Nigeria became the fourth Republic. She was elected to represent Asa/Ilorin West Federal Constituency, Kwara State under the People’s Democratic Party. In 2003, she became a Nigerian Senator under the PDP to represent the people of Kwara Centre Senatorial District. She resigned from the house in 2011 to contest for Kwara State governorship election.
 
Bukola Saraki, the first son to Olusola Saraki, was the governor of Kwara State from 2003-2011 under the platform of the PDP. In April 2011, Saraki was elected into the red chamber as a Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District. He was reelected back into the Senate in 2015 under the platform of the All Progressives Congress, from where he emerged as the 13th Nigerian Senate President.
 
In 2019, in a political showdown that was well calculated on the selfishness and ineffectiveness of Saraki to the people of Kwara tagged as ‘O tege’ Saraki lost to the opposition candidate, Mr Rafiu Ibrahim the candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) ending the long reign of the Sarakis and their stooges in Kwara State.
 
The first lesson Bukola Saraki’s defeat should bring to all present Nigerians, Nigerian politicians and would-be politicians is that ultimate power in a democracy rests with the people. It is the people who choose them and can also send them packing when they abuse the privilege of an office.
 
The people, who are the electorate, wield enough power to demand accountability from the people representing them anytime they feel they are not being represented well. Instead of shielding bad leaders in an office with our voting power, let us replace them with the same power we have. Our voting right is our power to direct the course of our lives. Let us use them to remake our destinies, rather than selling and giving them out to gullible politicians who will not advance our lives.
 
The second lesson that should be learnt from Saraki’s defeat is that political power is transient and fragile. Every politician and people in place of authority should remember that political office is not a place you can go and spend all of your life. It is your turn today and tomorrow it can be someone else’s turn. This is why power should be used soberly, compassionately and with wisdom. The only thing that will be left when you are out of the office will be your deeds when you were in office. The lives you helped to change and touched when you were in office and not the wealth you acquired at the expense of the people you were called to serve. Politicians should use power when in office for posterity. No one is going to remember you for the wealth you amassed but the lives you built, touched and changed.
 
Finally, Politicians should also know when to hand over the baton to the next generation. Do not be so engrossed with the romance and the pleasure of a political office to the point where you lose your relevance on account of not allowing the people under you to rise. It would have been more honourable for Senator Bukola Saraki to have left the office quietly than to be disgraced the way he was disgraced. Unlike his counterpart, Senator David Mark of Benue who resigned to his country home when he lost in the PDP Presidential Primaries, Bukola Saraki went straight to pick the Senatorial ticket after he lost the same Presidential primaries as Mark.

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