by Ayobami Olopade
At the first anniversary prayer of late strongman of Kwara politics, Dr. Olusola Saraki, in Ilorin on Friday, 14th November, 2013, one thing was conspicuous, the absence of three of his childen: Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Laolu Saraki and Tope Saraki. It seemed like an all Bukola Saraki affair.
The prayer, which was organised by former governor of Kwara state, Senator Bukola Saraki at the Ilorin Grand Mosque, to honour the memory of his late father, had in attendance, notable personalities like Kano state governor (Rabiu Kwankwaso) and his Sokoto state counterpart (Aliyu Wamakko), Chairman of New PDP, Alhaji Abubakar Baraje, former Osun state governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Mr Femi Fani Kayode, Alhaji Aliko Dangote and numerous Islamic clerics who converged on the state capital to honour the late Saraki.
Ordinarily, one would have expected all the children of the late Dr. Olusola Saraki to be present at the event, it was to the amazement of many that only Senator Bukola Saraki attended the prayer while Senator Gbemisola Saraki, Laolu Saraki and Tope Saraki failed to show up at the occasion although it was reported that they were in Ilorin on Friday; the day of the prayer.
According to reports, the three siblings arrived in Ilorin early on Friday, around 8am and headed straight to their father’s tomb where they prayed with some Islamic clerics and left around 10am which coincidentally was the same time scheduled for the commencement of the prayers at the Ilorin mosque.
The reason for this failure to turn up is not clear, however, some sources claim that the action could be attributed to Senator Gbemi’s opinion that the gathering at the mosque was ‘more political’ than ‘religious’.
The source further stated that she did not want to “be party to a gathering meant more to obliterate my dad’s enduring legacies than nurture it.” Senator Gbemi Saraki is reportedly against her brother’s involvement in the new PDP.
Laolu, on his part, is not happy with Senator Bukola Saraki’s claim as the heir apparent to their late father’s political throne as he believes their father’s political empire “is not hereditary but more about the relationship he had with the people of Kwara, which was unique and cannot be transferred to any child.”