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KWARA: Gbemisola Saraki chooses family over party, attacks Gov Abdulrazaq over demolition of property

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Hate speech bill unnecessary - Saraki

The Minister of State for Transportation, Mrs Gbemisola Saraki, on Friday attacked the Governor of Kwara State, Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq, accusing him of using security agencies to settle family political disagreements.

The minister was reacting to the demolition on Thursday of a property belonging to her late father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, popularly called ‘Ile Arugbo’

The state government had claimed that the land upon which the house was built was illegally acquired by the last senior Saraki, adding that it was originally meant for a government secretariat and parking space for the Civil Service Clinic.

Gbemisola, a younger sister to the immediate past Senate President, Bukola, in a statement on Friday, said she was especially saddened by the state government’s unleashing of terror and mayhem on innocent and defenceless aged women, who were protesting against Ile Arugbo’s demolition.

Gbemisola, who is also of the same party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) with Governor AbdulRazaq, said “I call upon the Inspector-General of Police to caution the state Commissioner of Police. Using security agencies and live ammunition to settle political and personal scores is not what the Buhari administration is about. We must stand up against vindictive politics, driven by envy, motivated by jealousy and practiced without integrity.”

Gbemisola also used the medium to refute the perception held in some quarters that she was in support of AbdulRazaq’s action because they belonged to the same political party.

“Again, as a loyal and dedicated daughter of my father, Dr Abubakar Olusola Saraki, whom 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.

“There might have been some elements within my party, the APC, who wanted to change the ‘Otoge’ (It is enough!) 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, the 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 the APC in the state. They must not be allowed to hijack the narrative of what our party stands for.”

Read also: How South-East can make their farmlands less attractive to herdsmen

Continuing, Gbemi said although Ile Arugbo was demolished, her father’s legacy lived on, saying her family, whether individually and/or collectively, had never derived any commercial benefit from the 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.

“Nonetheless, were my father alive today, surely, he would have been saddened to see bulldozers in Ile Arugbo. 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 on Thursday, simply cannot be erased by demolishing a bungalow.

“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.

“Furthermore, given how well and how long I have personally known the governor beyond Kwara State, so much so that I have always regarded him as one of my older brothers. Even in the political arena, over the years, we have known each other as political opponents and allies and I have always accorded him the respect which he has not accorded me”, she declared.

The minister also disclosed that she had consulted widely and sent messages appealing to party members not to be provoked by the unwarranted assault on her late father.

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