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15.02.2013 Nigeria

WHY THE 'GIFT' OF A 32-SEATER BUS BY DR BUKOLA SARAKI SHOULD NOT UNDERMINE THE IEDPU'S PATH OF TRUTH AND UPRIGHTNESS

By Alhaji Suleiman Buhari
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We the undersigned, being executive members of the Congress for Progressive Change (Kwara State chapter) and by virtue of which we write, wish to humbly alert the leadership of the Ilorin Emirate Descendants Progressive Union to the danger inherent in the 32-seater bus 'gift', donated by Dr. Bukola Saraki, and what we have observed to be the natural public perception of the strange 'donation'.

It will interest you to know that our Party has observed with delight the sterling performance of the IEDPU in recent times. The IEDPU under your inspirational leadership, unlike never before, has built for itself an image of a communal group that is capable of inspiring, mobilizing and motivating the ordinary people to do some worthwhile things that symbolize its bond of brotherhood , without going cap in hand to politicians who are only interested in festering their nest and perpetuating themselves. Extra care should therefore be made not to draw back this modest achievement by enthroning a culture of dependency or self-denigrating helplessness that is capable of hoodwinking the group from standing up to the apparent complicity of the state in an unholy bid to mortgage the cultural and religious heritages of the people of the great city of Ilorin emirate and its environs.

As a Party which ideology centers prominently on probity, anti-corruption and discipline, we do not begrudge the IEDPU from accepting the bus gift, believing that like every other eligible members of the IEDPU, Dr. Saraki too has a moral obligation to lend his hand to the giant strides of the IEDPU. What is however a little bit discomforting is the timing of the said 'donation'.

If Dr. Bukola Saraki truly has the interest of the IEDPU at heart, why delay the promised donation till now, that the group is fiercely challenging Dr. Saraki's godson policy misstep? At what time in the past, either before or after his tenure as the Governor of the state, did he ever give credence to the IEDPU, of which he is a natural member?

Whatever the motivation for this sudden benevolence on the part of Dr. Bukola Saraki, we find it extremely disturbing that giving the timing of the 'gift' and the kind of 'gift' involved, the act may amount to a disguised bribe that is capable of undermining the institution of the IEDPU that its founding fathers labored so hard to free from the shackles of government and its agencies. We equally fear that it might distract the IEDPU from its ethical values of justice, preservation of cultural heritage, the rule of law, equity and prosperity, thereby jeopardizing sustainable development.

It is equally a little bit beyond comprehension that IEDPU will accept a gift from a man whose wife is currently being prosecuted by a few respected members of the IEDPU for allegedly corruptly diverting public property to a private concern. We wonder how IEDPU would not suspect this overnight act of benevolence as a Greek Gift, owing to the fact that its donor had in recent past constantly treated IEDPU with contempt and derided it as a non-factor in the reckoning of the state polity. The century question that thereby fervently begs for an answer is; would IEDPU still retain the moral high ground to further challenge all these mindless acts of impunity from the stable of the Sarakis and their pet governor now that it has accepted a bus 'gift'?

Our Party therefore considers it morally inappropriate for Dr. Bukola Saraki under whatever guise, to have donated a bus at this inauspicious time to a pressure group that is justifiably up in arms against the state government's thoughtless land grab policy. We reasonably expect Dr. Bukola Saraki of all people to know that the public will naturally read meaning of an attempt to silence and trick the IEDPU into submission, thereby tarnishing the good image that the IEDPU has built over the years. Even if the intention is clean and pure, it does give the impression of a surreptitious attempt to create a political cover for a governor that has deliberately incurred the wrath of the people of the state for desecrating their ancestral homes and heritages.

At the CPC, we believe that leadership comes with a price. All leaders must not just be above board but also seen to be. The IEDPU therefore has a moral duty to publicly assure the people that despite this Greek Gift of a bus from Dr. Saraki, it will not be cowed or silenced from protecting the interest of the people whenever the need arises and that rather, it will step up its effort geared towards ameliorating the suffering of the people of the emirate and its environs. We equally pray the leadership of the IEDPU to holistically draw the line between donations genuinely made by public spirited individuals and those packaged with obvious political undertones. This gift from Dr. Bukola Saraki no doubt falls in the latter category because it naturally has the propensity of compromising the IEDPU's watchdog role, thereby putting its love of the people in jeopardy.

It is against this backdrop that our Party humbly urges the leadership of the IEDPU under the able guidance of respected Justice Saka Yusuf (RTD), who we are convinced beyond doubt knows the danger inherent in accepting unsolicited gift from government or any of its functionaries to a watchdog like the IEDPU, to urgently take steps aimed at insulating the IEDPU from the remote control of politicians in the state. This we sincerely believe, will not only foster unity among IEDPU's diverse members but also engender hope from among the general Ilorin Emirate populace at home and in Diaspora.

Yours faithfully,
.......... ...........
Alhaji Suleiman Buhari
State Chairman G
08038584443

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