Saraki vs Oyedepo: When a dog refuses to serve as treasurer to the lion

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Uba Group

Interesting times are really here for observers of Nigerian politics and the unfolding development is a true manifestation of the popular saying that; ‘there is no permanent friend nor permanent enemy in politics’. The recent development in Kwara State could be said to be the real manifestation of this popular saying. Interestingly, the case of the Nigerian Senate President Bukola Saraki and the immediate past chairman of Peoples Democratic Party in Kwara State, Iyiola Oyedepo, is a pointer to the fact that, in exceptional cases, there could be permanent foes in politics, especially in Nigeria.

It is better not to be in politics again. Instead of a dog being the treasurer to the lion, it is better for both to part ways and go on their separate hunting game

Saraki and Oyedepo are real political bigwigs from Kwara State, though the duo were known to be working along two parallel lines when it comes to political ideology in the state, but no one could ever envisage that their differences will, some day, grow wings beyond tolerance.

The long-awaited political calculation of the Senate president came to pass a few days ago when he, against all odds, returned from the All Progressives Congress, to his former party, the Peoples Democratic Party.

The decision, though, was not a big surprise to keen political followers of events in the state, the decision of the then PDP chairman in the state, Iyiola Oyedepo, who  defected to APC the following day, was the oddity.

We should cooperate with PDP people who we are joining. There is no cause for alarm. We should forget about personal ambition as we move to a new party

Sources in the state disclosed that Saraki never discussed his decision to return to PDP with Oyedepo, the party chairman, as would have been expected. Instead, the matter was said to have been discussed with other chieftains in the party who are loyal to Saraki.

Apparently telling whoever cares that Oyedepo and his camp do not matter in his political calculations, Saraki, in his statement, explaining reasons for his defection, had said: “I have met with great stakeholders in PDP such as Prof. Sulaiman, Ajibola Simon, Yekini Alabi, and we have all agreed to work together. We should cooperate with PDP people who we are joining. There is no cause for alarm. We should forget about personal ambitions as we move to a new party.”

But in what looked like a response to Saraki’s move to PDP without consulting them, members of the party in Kwara, led by the state Chairman, Oyedepo, immediately fired back by announcing their defection to  APC, with the former PDP Publicity Secretary in the state, Chief  Rex Olawoye , saying: “I hereby officially announce the exit of our members from PDP to APC.”

Olawoye, who described Saraki as an ‘anathema’, said PDP members in the state cannot work with him.

Olawoye said with the defection, all political structures of the PDP at the ward, local government and state levels had moved to the APC.

He said Oyedepo had met with the leadership of the PDP in Abuja and explained the resolve of party members not to work with Saraki.

Olawoye also said the chairman had met with the national leadership of APC, including the National Chairman, Adams Oshiomhole; Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, as well as other chieftains of the APC.

Oyedepo, on his part, said he prefers to leave politics instead of working with Saraki.

“It is better not to be in politics again. Instead of a dog being the treasurer for the lion, it is better for both to part ways and go on their separate hunting game,” Oyedepo said, as he also blamed the PDP national leadership for compromising on the matter.

“The blame is not from the Saraki camp; the blame is from our national leaders in the PDP. Leadership in Nigeria is the conspiracy of the elite to punish the downtrodden.
When they gave us the party, we inherited nothing and so whatever you see in the PDP today is the product of our efforts.
For this alone, we should not be interested in defecting from our own house, but it is better we do so now and look forward to better future for our dear state,” he explained.

On whether he had earlier met with Saraki on his (Saraki) defection to
PDP, Oyedepo said:
“We have not been opportuned to sit down with the Senate president and the state Governor, Alhaji AbdulFattah Ahmed, even though I’m hearing several rumours that I met with them and that they have offered me juicy positions.

“These are all lies, the Senate president, despite his humongous wealth, does not have what it takes to buy me.
He cannot ever buy me because he cannot buy my integrity. If my bank account is not fat, my integrity account is very fat,” Oyedepo
said.