The Senate President, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki was yesterday accorded a heroic reception by mammoth crowd of supporters and admirers that gathered at Ilorin International Airport to welcome him to Ilorin, his hometown, some ten days after the Supreme Court discharged and acquitted him of allegations of false assets declaration.
The supporters of the Senate President patiently waited for the arrival of their leader for about eight hours, having assembled at the airport as early as 8.00am.
Motorists and other road users had a hectic time on the Ilorin-Ogbomosho road, as Saraki’s supporters lined both sides of the road with vehicles stretching for about five kilometers.
Although Saraki’s flight didn’t arrive until about 4.17pm, the supporters kept themselves alive with dance and music from various live bands.
He was accompanied on the flight by the Speaker of the state’s House of Assembly, Dr Ali Ahmad, Senator Rafiu Ibrahim, former Speaker of the Assembly and chairman House Committee on Judiciary, Barr. Razak Atunwa as well as former presidential spokesman, Dr Doyin Okupe.
While taking questions from newsmen, Saraki described his three-year trial as tough but expressed satisfaction that his followers never doubted his innocence as he had told them on many occasions.
But he declined comment on what he will do over pressure by some of his followers to lead them out of the All Progressives Congress (APC). He only asked newsmen not to ‘worry’ or ‘push’ him over the matter.
“As I said, don’t worry, don’t push me, I will call at a time and I will tell Nigerians”, he said.
On his trial and the visit he said: “It has been a long journey for all my own people in the state, and today we thank the Almighty God for this. I want to thank all of them who did not at any time waver. They believe in my innocence and supported me throughout those three very tough years and it was a great feeling for all of us.
“It is my first homecoming to thank them for all the support they have given me and the victory and for the fact that the truth prevailed and justice was done. Today is a day for me to visit and more importantly thank the people for the support they have given for years.
“As I always say time will come for everything, a time will come I will tell people where I am, what I’m doing. For now it is just to thank the people of the state because the last three years have been tough and they are still committed and remain and I have to appreciate that. I appreciate that.”
The Senate President and his entourage drove directly from the airport to the Emir’s palace to pay a thank you visit to the Emir, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu- Gambari.
It was cheers all the way for Saraki by residents who lined the streets to show their love for their hero.