GAA: THE GENERALISSIMO OF KWARA (III)
By Abdullateef Ishowo
In this third part of the tripartite, I shall explain how GAA has successfully transformed himself to a generalissimo like the popular Bashorun Gaa in the old Oyo Empire.
As the acronym GAA strikingly synonymous with Gaa in Basorun Gaa of the old Oyo Empire, so are their characters; even though one came about three centuries earlier, the striking similarities are unmistakable.
The notoriously powerful Gaa, intoxicated by power, became unwieldy both in character and action but was eventually demystified and shamed. That’s what his reincarnated being is wittingly strategising to become. Gaa coveted all the powers and responsibilities of Oyo to himself; all the tributes were paid to him, and he appointed his kindreds as Ajeles to administer the provinces.
In similar vein, the current generalissimo assumed office on 29th May 2019 and about the first major assignment he would carryout was the unpopular suspension of duely elected 16 LG chairmen and 193 councillors in the state on June 18, 2019. He would on December 18, 2019 extended the suspension for another six months and on June 18, 2020 extended it for another six months. As at the time of writing this piece (February 2023), the 16 LGs are still being headed by the Ajeles he appointed illegally so that funds belonging to the LGs shall continued to be handed over at the mercy of the generalissimo. This position was advanced by PMB himself when he, on December 2, 2022, accused state governors of misappropriating LG funds (Kwara State Governor not excluded). See THISDAYLIVE, December 2, 2022. More annoying is the fact that some of these Ajeles will find it difficult to confidently use the edge of a bottle to write zero. They’re dumb! Not surprised anyway, an uneducated generalissimo couldn’t have been wise enough to appointment more knowledgeable lieutenants. “Nemo dat quad non habet”; you can’t give what you lack.
The second major project of our own Bashorun GAA was the appointment of kid-commissioners into his cabinet in November 2019. Of course, there is nothing bad in appointing young ones to positions of authority, as leadership has nothing to do with age, but the trackrecords of such youth must speak for them. Not appointing kids who have no pedigree, brilliance or even the required confidence to challenge the generalissimo when necessary. They were rather grateful to him for considering them for appointments they didn’t deserve in the first place. Our fears would eventually be justified when he abruptly relieved them of their positions barely a year later. Where are some of those kid- commissioners today? They’ve been unintelligently turned to liquid and pee into the largon.
His third major project was the demolition of Ile Arugbo on 2nd January 2020. The buildings belonged to the late Olusola Saraki, father of the President of the 8th NASS, Dr. Bukola Saraki and the current minister of state for Mines and Steel Development, Sen. Ruqayyah Gbemisola Saraki. Our own GAA was so determined to show the family that he is now in charge of Kwara that he moved frantically to take possession of the house that it took the court to stop him on 31st March 2021 from taking over the house.
On December 26, 2020, he shocked Kwara workers and indeed the entire world by dismissing 2,414 teachers employed by his predecessor, former governor AAbdulfatah Ahmed, about six months to the expiration of his tenure. This marked his fourth show of strength. How a government that had an experienced lawyer like Bar. Jawondo, SAN as Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, would come up with the sole reason of being employed to frustrate GAA’s government beats me. First, as at November 2018 when the employment exercise commenced, GAA hadn’t even won the ticket of his party. Second, election had not been conducted and third, no law or act says a governor cannot employ about six months to the expiration of his administration. GAA would however eventually justified this when in January 2023 he started employing another set of teachers about five months to the end of his tenure. The government though called it replacement, not “sun set” this time around. What a confused set of people!
The education sector wasn’t left behind in the generalissimo’s uncharacteristic high-handedness, as the then Provost of the Kwara State College of Education, Ilorin, Prof. Yusuf Abdulraheem was, on 21st May 2021, suspended without any reason other than the Bashorun Gaa simply exercising his powers as the visitor to the college (see The Nation Newspaper, May 22, 2021. When the government was taken to court by the embattled provost, the argument of the tyrant became ‘kwaruption’; alleging that the removed provost was corrupt. The provost would eventually win the case but the generalissimo of our time flagrantly disregarded court order to reinstate the performing provost. His sixth show of strength. This followed same pattern with the suspended Auditor-General of the state who was suspended for exposing the financial recklessness of the generalissimo. His seventh show of strength.
So, by implication, the government cannot appoint substantive heads to COED, Ilorin and Auditor-General’s office because their cases are still in court. He has to keep renewing their ‘actingship’. Add these to the fact that local government elections cannot be held because the case of the suspended KWASEC board still lingers in court. Hence, the generalissimo becomes the enemy of himself as he has successfully turned Kwara to the state of Acting CEOs.
Our own Bashorun Gaa crowned his totalitarian activities with the arrest and detention of the two Akogun brothers (both journalists) on 14th October 2022 over a WhatsApp altercations between the Chief Press Secretary to the generalissimo and the two Akogun brothers. They were both later freed but not before series of protests in the state capital.
On Wednesday 22nd February 2023, many Kwarans woke up to receiving varying alerts on their cellphone, ranging from the sum of N10,000 and N20,000 as part of vote buying activities the state government panickingly resolved to, having realised their looming failures in the coming elections in the state. This is in spite of the stern warnings from President Muhammadu Buhari, INEC, security agencies in the country and the unambiguous provisions of the Electoral Act, 2022 which prohibits this practice.
Isn’t it quite unfortunate that GAA would find himself in these predicaments in spite of the quantum opportunities the 2019 O toge ‘revolution’ bestowed on him on a platter of gold?
Abdullateef Ishowo is the Director Media and Communications, PDP Presidential Campaign Management Council, Kwara State.