We in­vest lump sums saved from Ile Arugbo thrift col­lec­tions –Suleiman, 78

The Punch - - INTERVIEW -

WHat is your name?

I’m al­haja abibatu Suleiman and I’m 78 years old.

How long have you been com­ing to Ile arugbo?

I’ve been com­ing to Ile arugbo for over forty years; I’ve been com­ing for as long as I’ve been with Olu­sola Saraki po­lit­i­cally. We were with Saraki in the Sec­ond re­pub­lic and even when he was ar­rested and put in de­ten­tion by sol­diers, we stood by him. I was among the women that stood by him when it was rough and when it was good. I’m a petty trader and I’m also in­volved in pol­i­tics.

What have you ben­e­fited from Ile arugbo?

Baba Olu­sola Saraki was a gen­er­ous per­son. Even dur­ing mil­i­tary regimes, there was no time that he did not at­tend to us and give us money and clothes. He lis­tened to us when we had per­sonal prob­lems and he solved them for us. Bukola has also be­ing a god­send in terms of how he takes care of old women, even be­yond what the late Oloye (Olu­sola Saraki) did. May the almighty al­lah help us spare his life and pro­tect him and his fam­ily! all my chil­dren are ed­u­cated and it was from Saraki that I got the money used to fund their ed­u­ca­tion.

Many peo­ple who are not com­ing to Ile arugbo do not know that we make weekly con­tri­bu­tions among our­selves from the money given to us and some of us would take the lump sum home to use it to do some­thing or in­vest it in our petty busi­nesses. That is what we do at Ile arugbo. We do thrift con­tri­bu­tion (ajo in yoruba)

What is your re­ac­tion to the de­mo­li­tion of Ile arugbo?

I was at Ile arugbo when bull­doz­ers were brought to demolish the build­ing. I was part of those tear-gassed by se­cu­rity agen­cies when we con­fronted them and said we would not al­low them to demolish our house. We do not like what Gov­er­nor ab­dul­rah­man did to Ile arugbo and he should re­trace his steps and re­build the place for us.

We are not say­ing that the gov­ern­ment should not pro­vide of­fices for work­ers, but it should not be built on the land where a build­ing had been erected. We view the de­mo­li­tion of Ile arugbo as an act of wicked­ness. We don’t know what of­fence Saraki has com­mit­ted to war­rant the de­struc­tion of his prop­erty. The gov­er­nor is plant­ing a bad seed that will di­vide the peo­ple, es­pe­cially in Ilorin and such an act is not good for us.

Have your chil­dren ever told you not to go to Saraki’s house?

no. They can­not say so be­cause they know that the money spent on their ed­u­ca­tion was got from Ile arugbo and some of them are in gov­ern­ment ser­vice, ap­point­ments which we got through the Sarakis.

Can you stop go­ing to Ile arugbo?

no, no­body can stop me from go­ing there if I am phys­i­cally okay. I will con­tinue to go there for as long as I am alive and Saraki re­mains in pol­i­tics.

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