Open Letter to Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki
By Abdulhameed Olalekan
I write as one of your ardent supporters who joined multitude to welcome you to Ilorin last Saturday. I am confident that even you will be surprised at such a joyous crowd of people who trooped out to give you a rousing reception, thus silencing those who had hitherto think that the people of Kwara have turned their backs at you.
To discredit the euphoria that greeted your arrival to Ilorin, opposition elements have tried unsuccessfully to label those of us who, out of genuine affection for your person, came out to give you a befitting welcome as hired crowd. But I’m certain that even those who promoted such fallacies do not believe their own lies, for it was obvious that such a crowd of people who showed you genuine affection from the point of arrival at the Ilorin International airport couldn’t have been paid to pretend that they love you.
Sir, I am not an emergency admirer. I have always loved your charisma and your genuineness since fate brought you into the politics of our dear State, Kwara. But I’m also one of those who think the pretenders amongst those of us who claimed to love you have lied to you for so long. And it’s in order that they do not push a wrong narrative and further misrepresented what happened on Saturday that I have decided to write you this open letter.
I should point out, sir, that there is nothing strange about the undisguised love the people showed you on Saturday in Ilorin. You have always been a man of the people and that is not about to change any time soon. If you recall, sir, there were always a huge turn out at almost every single campaign rally you addressed ahead of the 2019 elections. The huge crowd of supporters and admirers that turned out to receive you everywhere you went before the elections of 2019 in Kwara were a clear antithesis to the final outcome of that election. Was is it that those who showered you love on campaign grounds suddenly decided to turn their backs at you on election day?
Sir, you have the people on your side, there is no doubt about that. However, those who orchestrated your downfall in the last election were not the people but the elites. And as I write, those elites in Ilorin, Abuja, Kano and elsewhere who worked against you in 2019 have not been appeased. They believe you have not gotten their message, which is that you consider changing your style of politics to something more inclusive.
Before writing this, I spoke to a couple of people in both Ilorin and Abuja. They cited some clear examples to justify their subsisting anger. They asked me to go check the social media and see how your fanatical followers have consistently promoted you as an individual and not your party, the PDP. They told me that before an average PDP member in Kwara mention the party once, they would have mentioned your name a thousand times. This absolute control is what they hate. They want participation. They crave an open political party, still under your leadership, where everyone is free to speak his mind and follow the dictate of his conscience without any form of untoward consequence. I believe, sir, that they are not asking for too much.
I must add, sir, that as long as people are made to believe that the party is a mere appendage to your name, there will always be people even within your own ranks who will secretly desire change. You must, therefore, draw back and allow other people to have a say in the affairs of the party. This way, you will take credits for success, but the burden of failure will be shared equally.
With due respect sir, I believe you stand to lose nothing if today you decide to deflect attention from yourself and ask your supporters to focus on promoting the party. No one needs to be told that you are the leader of PDP in Kwara, and I do not, in all honesty, think you require validation of your unquestioned supremacy over the party. You need to build a truly democratic party where every single member is confident that fairness and internal democracy are two critical and non-negotiable items in your manual of leadership. Doing this will immediately secure for you the confidence and the support of the Kwara elites who hated your overbearing disposition and turned their backs at you as a result.
Sir, I know that you are still very much a busy man, despite not occupying any public office presently. So I will like to conclude by appealing to you to reflect on my submissions. The words of courtiers and hangers-on can be misleading, and I’m sure you can relate to this when you consider that those who went about in 2019, boasting that even if you field a goat we would win, were part of those who inspire our defeat.
The crowd that welcomed you were genuine crowd. That I know for sure. But, like I said earlier, if we had this same set of admirers and supporters cheering you at every point in 2019 and we still got the kind of result we got; then you may have to reflect more deeply to know where and how the rain is beating us. I have already reported what I heard, and it’s my genuine prayers that what I have written here would not be misconstrued as disloyalty.
Thank you, most sincerely, Your Excellency for finding the time to read this letter. I pledge my absolute loyalty, while believing that you will do all that is necessary to lead us back to winning ways soonest.