United States-based Nigerian social critic, Prof Farooq Kperogi says former Senate President, Bukola Saraki won’t pay Nigerian workers if elected as President.
In a lengthy article via his social media page on Sunday, Kperogi, a professor of Journalism and Emerging Media at Kennesaw State University in Georgia accused the former Senate President of being “arrogant, corrupt, unfeeling wretch who as a governor and later a governor general hardly paid workers’ salaries.”
Saraki was governor of Kwara State from 2007 till 2011.
According to Kperogi, the only thing the PDP presidential aspirant is good at is paying people to “propagandize for him”.
He said, “Bukola Saraki is one of the strongest contenders for PDP’s presidential nomination. On paper, his identity agnosticism (i.e., his capacity to be simultaneously a northerner and a southerner) is a great selling point, but he is, in reality, the most treacherous reprobate the party would have the misfortune to present.
“As a Kwaran I feel a moral obligation to warn the nation about what kind of person Saraki is outside his cunningly packaged media image. Saraki is an arrogant, corrupt, unfeeling wretch who, as a governor (and later a “governor general”), hardly paid workers’ salaries but who expended enormous resources to unleash sponsored media fury on workers who dared to tell the world that they were owed salaries.
“People who have followed me on Facebook since 2015 will remember that in October 2015, I publicized the plight of the lecturers in Kwara State’s colleges of education who hadn’t been paid salaries for months and who, before the complete stoppage of their salaries, had endured making do with only 70 percent of their salaries for several months.
“I followed up the status update with a full-length column in the Daily Trust titled “Who Will Save Kwara COE Lecturers from Saraki’s Deadly Grip?”. In the column, I wrote: “Senate President Bukola Saraki is called Kwara State’s ‘Governor- General’ for a reason: He is, for all practical purposes, the state’s de facto governor, and Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed is merely his impotent, obsequious caretaker. Ahmed must dutifully take orders from Saraki or risk losing his cushy surrogate governorship. This isn’t a flippant, ill-natured putdown of Governor Ahmed, who seems like a nice person; it’s an uncomfortable truth that many Kwarans know only too well.
“While Saraki and Ahmed sponsored infantile media attacks against me because of this, I did a Facebook fundraiser for the lecturers. One Dr. Nura Alkali kickstarted the fundraiser with a N200,000 donation. Several others followed. The money I helped raise gave the lecturers some reprieve, and the publicity the gesture generated at the time shamed Saraki and his flunkey into paying the lecturers’ salaries.
“But that was after many lecturers had died from starvation, after some of them had lost their children during childbirth because they couldn’t pay hospital bills, and after many of them had suffered the humiliation of not being able to send their children to school. This was also the story of Saraki’s tenure as a two-term governor. Salaries and pensions were never guaranteed.
“Memories of Saraki’s 16-year reign of terror for workers are still so enduringly traumatizing that when I wrote a critical article against Governor Abdulrahman Abdulrazaq sometime ago (I called him a “third-rate governor”), my paternal uncle, who’s a retiree, called to tell me that my critical opinions of the governor won’t resonate with workers or retirees because the governor had never owed salaries or pensions since he has been in power, which he said was a comforting departure from Saraki’s and Ahmed’s tenures.
“Imagine the depth of despair and misery people must have experienced in the past for them to celebrate a governor just because he pays salaries, which is their just and legal entitlement.
“In Nigeria, federal civil servants have historically been insulated from the terror of unpaid salaries. A President Saraki would ensure that even that little luxury disappears. He is unfathomably greedy and callous. He is also insufferably egotistical and condescending to people and groups that his sterile mind tells him are beneath him. In my March 9, 2019, column titled “Why the Saraki Political Dynasty Collapsed,” I shared an anecdote that illustrates this attitude.
“The only thing he is good at is paying people to propagandize for him, to manage the minds of people through artful traditional and social media manipulation to see him as someone he is not. Of course, he’s also good at paying headless troll farms to attack his opponents and critics. After Buhari, is that the kind of person you want as president?”