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