Chief Gbenga Awoyale – How Saraki’s Arrogance Led To His Political Failure


Chief Gbenga Awoyale, the President-General of Orisun Igbomina,  a socio-cultural association for the people of Kwara State, is a Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress, (APC). In this interview with journalists, he spoke on sundry issues of national importance as well as the outcome of the 2019 general elections.

 Sir, how would you describe the outcome of the 2019 general election?

Although, I am not in any way surprised with the outcome of the general elections because the situation has actually sent signals to Nigerian even before we went to the poll. As per the presidential election, President Muhammadu Buhari has won the heart of the majority of Nigerians due to his laudable performances across the nation.

He stood out and tall as a disciplined leader with zero tolerance for corruption and misappropriation of government funds. He face reconstruction and rehabilitation of bad federal road such; Ilorin-Jebba-Mokwa road, Ilorin-Ajasse Ipo road, Lagos-Ibadan approval and second Niger bridge in the Eastern part, improvement on the railway system, recognition of June 12 in honour of the acclaimed winner of the 1993 presidential election, Bashorun Moshood Abiola among other heartwarming policies capable of driving the nation’s economy to fruition. This is the first in the history of Nigeria that two former Governors would be convicted over corrupt acts while in office. In fact, the  PDP presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar. had during his campaign told Nigerians that he would sell some of the nation’s treasures. How then do you expect him to win with such an irrational proposition?

Also, this is the first that a serving Chief Justice of Nigeria was suspended and later removed over several misconducts among others. So Nigerians don’t have any better alternative for Baba Buhari for now.

He has demonstrated that he has the love and interest of Nigerians at heart. With the emergence of Senator Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila; who can really regard as party men, as the leaders of the National Assembly, there is no doubt that there would be harmonious working synergy with the executive arm and Mr President will also find it easy to get some of his lofty programmes and policies done with the support of lawmakers.

That is national, but what of in Kwara?

When you look at the entire scenario, you will discover that the leadership style of Senator Bukola Saraki is nothing to write home about. People were already tired of him, so I am not surprised about the result.

The local government election in the state was the starting point for the roadmap to the exit of Bukola Saraki in Kwara politics. Kwarans have demonstrated that the key government house is in their hands and they are the one to determine who occupies it. Therefore with the outcome of the last general elections in Kwara, it is crystal clear that government belongs to the people through the ballot box.

Any you will remember vividly that we have on several occasions try our best to ensure that we guide the immediate past administration by bringing to their notice the plights of the people but since their interest was to build a political empire and not political institution where men and women of goodwill would contribute lofty ideas that will precipitate the desired growth and development of the state.

Unfortunately, they showed a high level of insensitivity to the demands of the good people of Kwara State. All they wanted was to be imposing governors on us in Kwara whose loyalty and accountability will be to kingmakers/political godfathers alone at the detriment of the masses. The People Democratic Party, (PDP), was totally demystified without any stress and to the glory of God; no life was lost during the exercise. I hereby congratulate Kwarans for the show of courage and liberation.

Sir, why are you so silent for some times in the media especially on issues affecting Kwara State?

Ha! thank you for that beautiful question. As beautiful as it is, it will also surprise you to hear that it is heart touching. Despite my series of interventions in making sure that the immediate past administration succeeds by challenging them on sundry issues of humanitarian concern, unfortunately, they tend to misinterpret and misunderstood my moves and summoned the traditional ruler of my town, His Royal Majesty Kabiyesi Alaran of Arandun to government house in Ilorin and begin to threaten him. They ordered him to go and talk to me to stop complaining about them.  They believe there is no other way to silence me because I’m not a government employee neither was I on their payroll for any monetary benefit. When the matter became obvious that they were humiliating him up to the point of asking him to sign an undertaking, I, therefore, decided to stop my agitations. Since all my concerns were for good governance for the good people of Kwara State and not anything personal, I ensured that the stool of Alaran of Arandun is not affected by my constant guidance of the administration although, some people term it as criticism. Some of the areas where I advised them then was on the Sure-P programme. It was working well in Ekiti, Osun state, Niger state among other states of the federation. We saw how the programme was successful, creating jobs and empowerment platforms for the people. This now made Kwarans to tidy up for liberation in 2015 but as God will have it, Bukola Saraki went to align his interest with that of Baba Buhari by joining the APC and he eventually escaped during the elections. But as you all know that build up to the 2019 general elections, it was not business as usual, he was totally sacked from political relevance at all levels but I want to categorically tell you that the journey to the victory we had now started and took a  very strong dimension in 2015 and eventually  came to fruition in 2019 with the support of the entire masses.

Was there any move to settle with you then? 

Yes, Senator Saraki made several attempts to settle with me. He sent emissaries to me and invited me. I turned down his invitations on several occasions and he later sent the chairman of Irepodun Local government to me because he was aware of our closeness then. When the chairman came to me, he pleaded with me that I should honour him by responding to Saraki’s invitation. On getting to him Saraki, he explained to me at length and tried all his efforts to convince me but I made him understand that no going back because he cannot change. I told him that I had made up my mind not on the personal ground but for the collective interest of the people of the state whose mandate they are enjoying.

Did former Abdulfatah Ahmed make any peace move with you?

Of course, he did. He sent the former Commissioner for Information and Communications, Alhaji Raheem Adedoyin. Since I cut-off my relationship with them, I always ensure that I don’t go to them alone because of posterity. I told former Governor Ahmed clear and loud that I can’t keep any relationship although, there is every possibility that we may not win the election but that my conscience would be clear at least, for the sake of posterity. I told him that with the style of their governance, they cannot end well.

There was gang up against you by some indigene of Igbomina, what was the reason?

I don’t have any issue with any of them other than the fact that I supported Bukola Saraki to run for the second term as the Kwara State Governor in 2007. Our people believe that it was the turn of Kwara South stressing that late governor Mohammed Lawal had ruled for four years between 1999 and 2003. I tried to explained to them that Lawal ruled under All Peoples Party, (APP) while Bukola Saraki came to power on the platform of PDP. I told them to allow him to complete his second term. Saraki also promised to hand over to an Igbomina after his tenure and to the glory of God, he brought Abdulfatah Ahmed who had served him as Commissioner for eight years. Unfortunately, Saraki didn’t allow Ahmed to perform, he gave him close marking understanding the fact that all the members of the State House of Assembly were loyal to him (Saraki) as well as all the political structures in the State. It was very easy to checkmate former Governor Ahmed. Kwarans would ha e enjoyed Ahmed if not for Saraki’s factor.

The money used to prosecute the Code of Conduct Tribunal’s case is enough to transform Kwara state cutting across the three Senatorial Districts.

 How would you describe Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq of Kwara and what is your advice to him?

Well, as for me, I know him to be a business and politician. His father is a renown lawyer in Nigeria with a high level of respect and honour globally because of his uniqueness.

Governor Abdulrahman is a successful business magnate and he has been participating in the election process for a very long time. His victory is destined by God because of the massive support he garnered from the entire people of Kwara State. He is a God-chosen governor and I want to use this medium to congratulate him and wish him a successful tenure in office.

However, I will quickly want to tell our dear governor to learn from the mistakes of the past government and warm himself into the heart of the innocent people of Kwara State. He should ensure that the spirit of inclusiveness is upheld always and give them a sense of belonging. He should always patronize indigenous contractors in the scheme of construction, rehabilitation and purchase in the state. That doesn’t mean that he should compromise quality, meritocracy should always be considered above mediocrity.

This is an extension of politicking because it is a way of providing empowerment for indigenes. We said this repeatedly to the past government but they never heeded to our advice. I need to also commend Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq appointments made so far. It spread all over the three senatorial districts of the state.

This is a clear reflection of equity, fairness and justice in the appointment and I wish to restate here that he should endeavour to carry all structures along in the scheme of governance so that the dividends of democracy can get to the grassroots effectively. He should allow himself to be dragged to the political mud of unnecessary criticism by either the opposition party or any member of the public.

In addition, he should know that the level of political awareness now is so high that there is a high expectation. People are expecting him to perform magic but what he needs is proper guidance from God as well as elders and stakeholders in the state.

Social media has also made monitoring of government programmes easy and there is a need for transparency and accountability to the electorates.  Now that APC is in total control of the state with three senators, six members of the federal House of Representatives, 24 members of the State House of Assembly among others, it is indeed “Iseya” meaning; it is time to work.