By Steve Oni, Ilorin
Leaders of Ajikobi/Agbaji ward in Ilorin, the Kwara state capital, have dismissed claims by one of their sons that the community had purportedly rejected the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki.
Addressing journalists on Saturday in Ilorin, the community leaders said not only do they recognise and accept Saraki’s leadership, but they are also in support of his presidential aspiration.
A member of the community, Alhaji Omar Ayelabegan, a recalcitrant critic of the Senate President had on Thursday in a statement claimed that the community was no longer comfortable with Saraki, alleging that his leadership had not brought tangible developments to his community.
But at Saturday’s briefing which took place at the frontage of the Ayelabegan family house in Agbaji quarters, Ilorin, Kwara state, the spokesman for the Ajikobi/Agbaji ward, Alhaji AbdulMuhmeen Tayo Moyosore said Omar Aiyelabegan was not a significant voice in the politics of the area but was merely being used by those who have been trying in vain to remove Saraki as Senate President.
The community leader said contrary to the picture painted by Ayelabegan, the Senate President had instituted developmental projects that have very positive effects on the socio-economic development of the state as well as the wellbeing of the people of the state.
He said: “To start with, Omar Yusuf Ayelabegan is not a force to be reckoned with, either as a politician or community leader in Agbaji/ Ajikobi ward of Ilorin West local government area in Kwara Central senatorial district. Therefore, he lacks the pedigree to speak for or on behalf of the learned and well respected people of Agbaji/ Ajikobi ward. He was at best doing the bidding of his paymasters who have tried in vain to unseat the best Senate President Nigeria had ever produced.
“While we, the authentic representatives of Agbaji/ Ajikobi ward want to put a lie to all the claims of Ayelabegan in his statement, we make bold to say that Saraki’s leadership of our state had brought relief to the greatest number of the people of Kwara state.
“We want to unequivocally declare that the entire people of Agbaji/ Ajikobi ward are solidly behind our great son, the Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki, CON and we shall never cease supporting him. We are indeed very proud of Dr Bukola Saraki’s achievements both as a former governor of Kwara state and as the President of the performing 8th Senate.
“We also received the news of his declaration to run for the presidential election next year with great excitement. We have no doubt in our minds that given the chance to rule Nigeria, Saraki will deliver the good because he has all it takes to provide good leadership for the country at the presidency level.
“We, therefore, urge Nigerians, irrespective of religion, ethnic and political affiliations to support our son, Saraki, to clinch the presidency come February next year so that we can achieve the country of our dream. Our experience in the past three years had shown that Nigeria really needs a brilliant, energetic and youthful political leader like Saraki to move the nation forward.
“Saraki’s records of achievements as two-term governor of the state are too physical on the ground even for a blind to see or feel. And as the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, as a true son of the soil and purposeful leader, has used his good offices to attract monumental infrastructure’s projects to the state.
“The ongoing construction of the Federal Medical Centre at Foma/ Okoolowo axis of Ilorin suffice here as a good example. Not only this, our God send leader has also executed numerous constituency projects in education and health sectors as well road construction and erosion control. He has also used his vintage position to secure federal job opportunities for numerous youths in the state.
“This is aside from his scholarship schemes for students across secondary and tertiary education levels as well as training of the youths in skills acquisition. Currently 700 Kwara youths are undergoing training programme on installation and maintenance of solar energy at the instance of the Senate President. He has also promised to equip the trainees after the completion of their training.
“We, therefore, want to use this forum to urge members of the public to disregard the incoherent rantings of Omar Yusuf Ayelabegan. He’s not the spokesman of our community and nobody mandated him to speak on behalf of the Agbaji/ Ajikobi ward.”
Also speaking at the event, Alhaji Yunus Abolakale, Youth Leader of Ajikobi Ward Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) equally dismissed the claims by Ayelabegan saying on the contrary youths and other groups in the community have accepted the leadership of Saraki and would continue to back him.
He enumerated several projects undertaken by Saraki at Agbaji /Ajikobi ward saying the Senate President remains a true and committed indigene of the community.