From Adedeji Joseph, Ilorin.
Kwara State remains a house sharply divided over the face-off between the headquarters of the Police and homeboy, Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The deep divisions continue as the Police itself is not slowing in parading suspects and revealing the media with information that seek to implicate Saraki as a benefactor to hardened criminals.
It is instructive that the National Assembly Saraki chairs has been at daggers-drawn with Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris. Just Tuesday, the Assembly in a joint session reiterated its vote of no confidence on the country’s Police chief.
For days running since Saraki first raised an alarm that the Police was planning to set him and his successor in Kwara, Governor AbdulFatah Ahmed, the State has been agog with accusations and counter-accusations. Weeks ago, he alleged that the Police had moved suspects in cult activities to Abuja from Ilorin with a view to getting them to finger him and Ahmed as their sponsors.
And when suspects in the dastardly Offa Banks robbery that claimed over 33 lives began to sing on their relationship with Saraki and Ahmed, the crescendo of noisy disagreements in Kwar rose as political rivals in the State lined up behind their principals to either extol or condemn the role of both public officers. Five of the suspects claimed they have been political thugs to both men from when Saraki was Governor of the State. Saraki was Governor between 2003 and 2011.
The Saraki political family has had a vice grip on the state for decades since the senior Saraki, Late Chief Olusola Saraki, was Senate Leader about 40 years ago.
EXPECTEDLY, this has engendered bitter political rivalry playing out here.
A group, Action For Good Governance has pleaded with both the National Assembly and the Federal Government not play politics with the April 5, bloody armed robbery attack in Offa, Kwara State.
Speaking with newsmen in Ilorin, the group called on the police to thoroughly carry out its legitimate investigations on the robbery particularly the aspect where the arrested suspects were alleging a link with the Senate President.
The Oloffa of Offa, Oba Gbadamosi Esuwoye, had earlier in a statement signed by his media assistant, Tajuden Oloyede, urged the police not to unnecessarily intimidate the Senate President in their investigations into the robbery case.
The monarch had described Saraki, who had been a good friend of Offa and contributor to the development efforts of the town.
Also, the Action For Good Governance (AFGG) at the press briefing said while it did not oppose to the police handling the case appropriately, it did not like what it described as a media trial being meted on the Senate President because the confessions of some arrested suspects.
Mallam Walli Olajide who spoke for the group said they expect that Saraki should have been given the opportunity to defend the purported allegations against him before the police first before going to the media to castigate him.
“What we are saying is not about the person of Dr. Bukola Saraki alone but the office that he presently occupies which is the Senate Presidency. Any unguarded ridicule of that office is not only to the National Assembly, but to the nation at large.
“The global media wash given to the Senate President is not good enough for all of us because the whole world is watching and the trend is capable of rubbing off on Nigerians even in the Diaspora”, Walli added.
For days now in Kwara State, diverse groups have been expressing their views through protests, processions, statements and press briefings against and in support of the tango between the police and the Senate President.