These were the thoughts on my mind as I read through the article written by one Soyonga Umar on how his father and some of his friends lost their hard-earned savings to Societe Generale Bank’s bankruptcy in 1989.
He made many damning allegations with certainty and poise only an insider could do. And just as I thought it would be fine to hear from the Saraki family on this perennial issue, I just saw a rather drab and empty article, apparently a rejoinder to his claims, being shared by Sarakites in Bukola Saraki’s defence. That cannot stand.
For the Sarakis it has been 33 long years, but Shoyonga remembered it like it happened yesterday. Like many who were direct and indirect victims of the incident, it has remained anguish that has failed to vanish.
So, if he is to be engaged on these issues, only factual and logical explanations about the legendary scandal is appreciable. I feel this provides an opportunity for them and the people to know the truth of this story of pain, blood, and tears.
Olusola Saraki had set up a branch of the Societe Generale Bank in Nigeria sometime in the early 80s alongside his friend Chief Kutoye. He reportedly sourced funds from his friends in the National Party of Nigeria (UPN) who deposited their monies in his bank out of loyalty to their friendship and in support of his dream.
Soyonga Snr who was a retiree of NTA had also put his retirement savings in the bank. Other eminent fellows like Dantata and Sons also reportedly put in pension funds.
Many of these people especially the poor, powerless people could not receive their money after the bank went under for strange reasons.
The issue here is that Bukola was the (de facto MD) detained in Alagbon he was the ED Managing Director of the bank.
Soyonga holds strongly that the intention of the father and son was suspect and alleged that, with the manners of its investigation, Bukola and father had set up the unsuspecting friends and family to dupe them. I think these are really outrageous claims but they are not impossible.
For instance, why did the Sarakis allegedly remove $200m (Two Hundred Million Dollars) from the bank just before declaring bankruptcy?
Why did EFCC leave the MD and was chasing after the bank director for the fraud?
How did two European investigators of Societe Generale Bank die in their hotel rooms?.
Is it true that thousands of people have gone to early grave over this matter without their money being refunded?
From business to career and politics, Soyonga asked many questions. The disaster is that Sarakites have refused to answer them and instead went after Governor AbdulRazaq.
I found that very funny. It is unwise to leave the issues raised by the author and resort to attacking the Governor on the account of his friendship with the author without restraint.
That Soyonga had ever filed for bankruptcy is not a crime anywhere in the world. (even President trump filed for bankruptcy and went on to become American number 1 citizen) So, if the only reason they are calling the writer a convict is because he once filed for bankruptcy, then their education is open to question.
I’d advise them to face the issues raised by the author and the author himself, rather than taking the Governor as their punching bag.
Now, I am getting curious, what is Saraki’s source of enormous wealth? What businesses or career is he into? Where are his companies located and how many people does he employ?
Bukola Saraki used 8 years in the senate 4 of those as Senate president, what legacy projects
If truly he did, why did Bukola sell the Kwara Public Park, a huge expanse of public recreation land to Shoprite, more so at a giveaway price?
The article ‘Olusola, Bukola, my father and me’ is timely. Soyonga said these issues are personal for him. He was wrong. These are state matters.
It could not have been direr now that Saraki is gunning for the presidency. A serious explanation of his past stewardship in the public and private sectors is important to people in the interest of probity and justice.
That’s the hallmark of democracy. Now instead of the previous drab article released by the Sarakites, they are expected to come up with a detailed response to these allegations and questions if they truly want to help him. We can’t leave these issues for the tissues of the matter!
They should kindly leave AbdulRazaq out of it and take this thorny thing off their master’s troubled neck first! If Saraki feels about this strongly, soyonga should be sued.. for defamation of character.
Imam Abdullahi, a public affairs analyst writes from Ilorin.