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Is the 8th Senate about Saraki?

Ever since he used the enormous resources at his disposal to install himself as the Senate President in June 2015, Abubakar Bukola Saraki has become…

Ever since he used the enormous resources at his disposal to install himself as the Senate President in June 2015, Abubakar Bukola Saraki has become such a big issue in our national politics, particularly the uneasy relations between the Senate and the Presidency. Even after his ascendancy, he made sure that his acolytes emerged as principal officers of the Senate. It took a lot of cajoling and compromise gestures for Saraki to agree to some of the demands of the All Progressives Congress (APC). 

Nowadays, it is becoming increasingly clear that Saraki’s desperation to become Senate President was, among others, intended to accord him the necessary clout to stave off or negotiate his way out of the many scandals trailing him. Beginning with the untidy manner he became the Senate President, even disdaining his party by facilitating the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) as his deputy, and his outright refusal to adopt APC’s list of other principal officers for the Senate, Saraki is bound to fight on many fronts to sustain his lust for power. Recall that the state has let go its previous challenge of the methodology of his emergence as Senate President.

However, the single important case that the state has refused to drop is the one regarding his alleged false and anticipatory declaration of assets originating from his tenure as the governor of Kwara state which clearly indicated a pattern of outright theft of public funds; nor do I see any reason why the federal government should not appeal his acquittal by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).  The proceedings from Saraki’s trial at the CCT revealed unprecedented skulduggery perpetrated on Kwara’s public treasury to enrich a particular person. If the war against corruption is to remain a key part of this administration‘s governance philosophy, then justice must be seen to be fully done in the Saraki matter. Since the Senate President had said his hands were clean as far as the issue of assets declaration was concerned when he served as governor of Kwara, he should let the case run its full course in the courts. The no case submission by Saraki is therefore outlandish and he should be made to open his defence. Tell, Sulayman Buhari, the Kwara state APC spokesman that his one-page newspaper congratulatory message to Saraki on his CCT acquittal is premature!

Remember that in March this year, Senator Bukola Saraki was also at the centre of a scandal surrounding his alleged importation of a Range Rover Sports Utility Vehicle. Predictably, the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions, chaired by Senator Sam Anyanwu, exonerated him from any liability regarding the purchase of the vehicle and for good effect, he added: “This story was cooked up with intent to embarrass the Senate President, the Senate and by extension, the National Assembly.” The same committee had also cleared Dino Joshua Melaye of allegations of non-graduation from Ahmadu Bello University (ABU). Suffice it to say that Joshua Melaye continues to be doubtful, in character and in learning, of having obtained a degree from anywhere. But what about his seven degrees, two of which were acquired, respectively, from Harvard University and London School of Economics!

On the heels of his mendacious claims and infantile conduct, Senator Joshua Melaye is now facing recall from his constituency which says that he has not been representing them well in and out of the Senate. On this matter, the Senate has already sat in judgement after its leadership said the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) was wasting its time, in the same way I believe that it (INEC) wasted its time by counting the votes and declaring Melaye the winner of the contest in 2015!

Lately, the Senate is also flexing muscle with the Minister of Works, Power and Housing, Mr Babatunde Fashola over what he called the insertion of constituency projects in the budget of the ministry. The Senators have accused Fashola of sectionalism, alleging that whereas projects in other parts of the country have been abandoned, those in the South West are up and running. On the other hand, the minister has blamed the Senators for slashing the amount of money required to complete such national assignments as Abuja-Lokoja, Kano-Maiduguri, Enugu-Port Harcourt roads as well as the construction of the Zungeru and Mambilla Hydro-Electric Dams and the 2nd Niger Bridge, among others. 

Just last week, the Senators were heard hankering for executive power for Bukola Saraki. During a debate, Senators Enyinnaya Abaribe and Kabiru Marafa suggested, rather cheekily, that Senator Bukola Saraki should step in as Acting President because both President Muhammadu Buhari and Acting President Yemi Osinbajo were outside the country!

Saraki has enjoyed executive power as two-term governor of Kwara state before now; he cannot even wait till 2019 – after all Yemi Osinbajo was just a former commissioner but now Acting President – so, he’s determined to press all buttons to supplant the current occupant of Aso Villa. 

This Senate is obviously about Bukola Saraki. Everything that is being done is to strengthen his capacity and advance his quest for the Nigerian Presidency. If the Senate is not exonerating him of scandals, it is preparing him for something he’s not elected to do. This Senate is so obsessed with fighting this Presidency. 

The presidency’s refusal to sack Ibrahim Magu as the Acting Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission as well as its appeal of the assets declaration case are, clearly, a red flag for Saraki’s bull! And so Saraki’s bellicose Senate will not confirm any new nominees from the executive, Fashola must be silenced, Dino must be spared, Magu must be sacked and Osinbajo himself must apologise for his statements, otherwise he will be impeached and Bukola Saraki will be “legislated” into power as President of Nigeria!

Very good 8th Senate, you understand your job very well! Go on, ga fili, ga doki!

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