Politics: Is history about to repeat itself in Kwara Central? Daily Parrot

Kwara Central

If the record of past holders of Turaki title in Ilorin Emirate has proved anything, it is that their advancement in politics often begins just when they acquire the prestigious traditional honour. It has always been the situation that the Turaki title has, more often than not, been a boon to the politicians who have been fortunate to be conferred with it.

Beginning with the first Turaki of Ilorin, Alhaji Sanni Olanrewaju Buraimo Okin,  who was turbaned in 1963, although already well established as an entrepreneur of note, Alhaji Sani Okin’s rise politically was blossomed brighter by his historic appointment as the first Turaki by the 9th Emir of Ilorin, Shaykh Sulu Gambari. He became first the representative of Ilorin Native Authority in the Northern House of Assembly on the platform of Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), and a Senator respectively.

When he eventually bagged the Turaki title, Alhaji Okin had sufficiently displayed the force of character and individual achievements necessary to carry the title.

Similarly, the political evolution of late Dr.  Abubakar Olusola Saraki was fast-tracked by his appointment on April 12, 1974 as the second Turaki of Ilorin. In fact, many believed that his conferment with the title gave his political career a stronger push and made him into the enigma he became in his lifetime.

Upon his elevation in 2006 to the rank of Waziri, late Dr. Saraki was succeeded by his son, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, as the third Turaki of Ilorin. Like his father before him, his political career also got a boost and his national influence expanded after he bagged the Turaki title, becoming the Chairman of the influential Nigeria Governors Forum just a year after, and also later became the Senator representing Kwara Central Senatorial District.

The current Turaki, and the 4th, Mallam Saliu Mustapha, with his generosity and large-heartedness, appears to be walking in the shoes of all the previous Turakis before him.

Saliu Mustapha, a development consultant, business mogul, philanthropist and politician, hails from Ilorin, Kwara State,  North-Central Nigeria. With a portfolio of business cutting across diverse sectors of the Nigerian economy, he is undoubtedly one of the most outstanding and successful business personalities of his generation.

Born in Kaduna, Nigeria, Mustapha attended St. Bartholomew Primary School, Zaria and Command Secondary School, Kaduna. He then proceeded to Kaduna Polytechnics where he earned a qualification in Mineral Resources Engineering.

A consummate politician of over 2 decades, he ventured into politics at an early age, becoming the National Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Liberation Party (PLP). He also served as the first National Publicity Secretary of the Progressive Action Congress (PAC).

From 2005 to 2008, Mustapha served as the National Organizing Secretary of the Conference of Nigerian Political Parties (CNPP). In 2011, he was elected as the Deputy National Chairman of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR.

Similarly, in his quest to ensure the party is well managed to deliver the much needed reforms in Nigeria, he joined the contest for the National Chairman of the APC in the 2022 convention. Beyond politics and business, Mustapha is a passionate humanitarian who caters to the welfare and wellbeing of his people. Through his NGO, the Saliu Mustapha Foundation, he continues to impact lives and improve the living conditions of young people, the aged, women and children in several communities across Kwara State and beyond.

In 2021, in recognition of his contributions to the development of the state, and especially his interventions against poverty and deprivation, he emerged the new Turaki of Ilorin Emirate, a traditional title conferred on the most eminent sons of the Emirate by the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Dr. Ibrahim Sulu Gambari, CFR.

In evaluating the political trajectories of all the previous Turakis, it must be observed that there is a shared sentiment that often works in their favour. Having acquired the Turaki title and effectively integrate into the traditional political system of the Emirate, the people often have a special affinity towards them, and this is exactly what is playing out in the instance of Saliu Mustapha via-a-vis his senatorial run in 2023.

The Turaki title, which in traditional politics of Nigeria’s northern Emirate, is usually described as “the face of the kingdom,” has placed bigger responsibilities on Mustapha who must, more than before, feel the pulse of the people and represent them at different levels.

This may therefore informed why, in a bid to effectively discharge the responsibility of his traditional office better, he is currently standing as the APC Kwara Central senatorial candidate in the 2023 General Elections.

As Turaki, Mustapha is generally seen as the face of Ilorin Emirate, one renowned for his generous deeds and philanthropy. It is the same way the people perceived the late Olushola Saraki who had a reputation of freely sharing his wealth with the needy. Therefore, with Kwara Central people rallying round Saliu Mustapha, as they did other Turakis before him, in his political aspiration in deference to his uncanny ability to effectively integrate and provide succor to a great number of people within the Emirate, it is doubtless that history may well repeat itself.


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