JUST WONDERING: Lai is unusually quiet…

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The relative quietness of Alhaji Lai Mohammed in the face of raging political agitations within and outside his native Kwara State is not for nothing.

Lai, who led the O‘to‘ge revolution, apparently has gulped a Tilapia bone that is now stuck in his throat!
Unlike the baby faced immediate past commander in chief, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who did not wear shoes until he went to school, Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq was not born into lack. Hence, Lai must adopt a different strategy.

Governor Abdulrazaq’s father was the first northern Senior Advocate of Nigeria, SAN; his sister was the first female Senator from Northern Nigeria, and another brother was until recently, the chief financial officer of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

Remarkably, the family has not been out of sight, politically. Only they had been shadowed by another political family—the Sarakis.
In 1979, the governor’s father was the governorship candidate of the Great Nigeria Peoples Party, GNPP, in the old Kwara State.
His bid failed against the candidate sponsored by the late Senator Olusola Saraki, that is Adamu Attah.

In 1999, the bid by a son of the family, Dr. Alimi Abdulrazaq on the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP failed against the candidate sponsored by Senator Olusola Saraki, that is Mohammed Lawal.

Even more, the Sarakis have also tended to dominate in the cultural setting. Though Alhaji Abdulrazaq was senior to Oloye, it apparently did not go down well that Saraki was made Waziri by the emir of Ilorin.

The same title has also been taken by Oloye’s son, Bukola.
Apparently, even if the Abdulrazaqs do not say or show it, some are bound to have the feeling of a family rivalry as the reason for the New Year demolition of the elder Saraki’s property.

So, given the historic rivalry between the two families, it is understandable that Lai Mohammed has quietly refrained himself from the melee.
But how quiet can he be given his leading role in the enthronement of the present regime in the state?
Indeed, when Lai led the popular O‘to‘ge revolution to oust the Saraki, he apparently did not bargain foisting another family hegemony in the place of another.

But that is apparently what has happened, and Alhaji Lai whose life story was from grass to grace, is now wedged in a war between scions of two of the most prominent families in Kwara State.

Before descending on the Sarakis with a vengeance just before dawn on New Year, the governor’s position in the APC hierarchy had been consolidated with the reduction of his perceived rivals.

The first was apparently Lai.
When last August, the governor honoured a reception in Abuja after Lai was again nominated as minister on merit, associates of the governor were pissed off after the chairman of the state chapter of the APC, Bashir Bolarinwa referred to the minister as leader of the party in the state.

Bolarinwa’s reference was apparently due to Lai’s yeoman role in dethroning Bukola Saraki as the political leader of the state.
Hours after the reception, groups inclined to the governor initiated a tumult with a campaign to force the chairman out of office. The chairman has since learnt to bridle his tongue.

At another time, allies of the government initiated a campaign to enthrone the deputy governor of the state, Kayode Alabi as the political leader of Kwara South as a way of diminishing the profile of the Honourable Minister.

In all these direct and indirect attacks, Lai has kept a dignified silence. Unlike when he had the Otueke man without shoes in his sight, the honourable minister has seemingly retreated, but certainly not out of sight.

That is because the governor seemed to have overlooked the fact that the second minister from the state, Senator Gbemi Saraki who also belongs to the APC would not be unamused by the development.

After all, her father’s last political outing was his failed attempt to project her as governor against the will of her brother, Bukola.
The bitterness from that 2010/11 fight has kept them away from one another and in opposite political camps.
Abdulrazaq may now have inadvertently brought them closer to reconciliation.

Governor Abdulrazaq’s move against the Sarakis is bound to upset the political permutations in the state in several ways.
One, Gbemi is aligned to the Lai camp that has been severally deprecated by the governor’s camp. Lai and his followers are again bound to see the governor’s action as unnecessary.

Bukola has, despite his political losses, sustained the stomach infrastructure and empowerment programmes carried out at the demolished complex. So when the governor’s bulldozers came around the complex in the wee hours of Thursday, they were stoutly resisted by several women who had benefited from the empowerment packages of the Sarakis.

Those women like several others do not just have a voice; they have votes which the governor had better court than crush!.

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