Saraki says From hero to villain - Timothy Enietan-Matthews
Tiamiyu Saheed Oluwatosin
On Tuesday, June 9, Ex-Kwara State governor, Senator Bukola Saraki, a second term Senator, became the President of Nigeria’ s 8th Senate. He was nominated and elected unopposed in what will go down in history as a major upset for the deeply entrenched powerful interests in Nigeria’s new ruling party, the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Since the emergence of Saraki as Senate President, the ruling party has been at a loss over what transpired, licking its wounds rather unethically, in a manner that has exposed the true intents of the powers that be in APC.
Naturally, the party and its entrenched powers have reasons to be angry, incensed and paranoid because what happened can conveniently pass for a major defeat of its supposed and much passed around invincibility and the larger than life image of its leaders. For the party and its leaders, Saraki’s emergence is an insult taken too far and a practical demystification of certain of its leaders and a message that truly, Nigeria is nobody’s personal Fiefdom.
In the run up to the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, Saraki was not given a chance; the party and its leaders saw him as an outsider, whose ambition must be checked at all cost. For his sake, the party jettisoned its initial attempt at zoning National Assembly offices, insisting that the Senators and its Members of the House of Representatives should feel free to choose their leaders, a pronouncement many applauded as truly democratic.
However, the hypocritic tendencies and the doublespeak nature of the party came violently to the fore, when the Chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, informed journalists at the defence house that the party will not interfere with the election of the leadership of the National Assembly but that the party’s National Working Committee, NWC had decided that the next Senate President must meet three conditions.
Chief among the conditions was that the next Senate President must come from the zone that gave the party the second largest number of votes at the March 28 presidential election. Another was that the person must not have corruption charges against him and thirdly, must be matured.
Of the three conditions, Saraki can only be said to meet the third, as he is not only matured age wise, but politically, he most definitely is a matured politician, having stayed in the Senate for four years and governed Kwara State for eight years. He also comes with a political background and must have learnt all the political tricks that make for survival in Nigeria’s murky political waters from his late father and strongman of Kwara politics, Chief Olusola Saraki.
However, that is where it stops, as the other two conditions exclusively gave the Senate Presidency to Senator Ahmed Lawan from the North East. To scrub in enough salt into the injury, the party conducted what it called straw poll, where Lawan was announced the candidate of the party.
The reaction of the party and its leaders to Saraki’s election has however showed the deep rooted resentment his party has for him, confirming the long held opinion by several analysts that the APC is nothing but a marriage of convenience, solely contracted for the purpose of grabbing power at the centre. A contraction that is fast giving way and falling like a pack of cards, as reality has started dawning on Nigerian People who were hoodwinked by the well-oiled propaganda machinery of the APC to believe the party is truly capable of effecting the change they bandied around and promised millions of gullible Nigerian People.
One does not need to be a great student of history to recollect how beautiful a bride Saraki and his co-travellers in the now rested New PDP were, when the leaders of the legacy parties that initially formed the APC absorbed and brandished them to the country as change agents, as they junketed across all zones, wooing the nPDP elements.
They were described as progressives that had come home, people who were patriotic enough to see the danger the PDP posed to the country and had decided to come home to help salvage the fatherland from the rampaging wolves that Ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and other PDP leaders were.
These glorious and definitely grandiose adjectives used in describing Saraki and his cohorts have now given way to the stinging mouthing of Lai Mohammed, a man who has in his verbal arsenal, a wide range of destructive weapons capable of doing incomprehensible harm as the PDP were to discover a little too late. Mohammed, against the norm, has described Saraki, putting it mildly, in the several unkind ways; calling him an undisciplined party man that has exhibited the highest level of disloyalty and a potential clog in the wheel of the anti-corruption campaign of Buhari.
The question, in spite of that, is, what did Saraki and his nPDP folks exhibit when they walked out of the PDP National Convention in Abuja, while Ex-President, Jonathan was seated? If they were patriotic then, why not now especially as Saraki is a qualified Senator who was elected by his colleagues as their leader? Why is the APC crying over a constitutional duty carried out by the senators which is entirely the business of the Senate? Or are there other things the ordinary Nigerian does not know? Questions and questions!
According to those in the know, the supposed harsh reaction of the party’s national leadership through its spokesman, Lai Mohammed, may just be the personal reaction of the National Leader of the party, Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu, a man whose big over bloated ego seems to have been affected by the emergence of Saraki!
Informed sources say Tinubu is still at a loss as to how his sprawling empire seems to be crashing even before the government he has variously taken credit for installing has fully taken off. They say, Tinubu had nursed the ambition of replicating his stranglehold on four Southwest states at the centre but did not bargain for the stiff opposition he is now getting from the younger, sturdier horses who had been taking lessons at bigger Derby meets in the centre for years!
This seeming crumbling empire has now become the subject of cruel jokes and commentaries, with Chief Bode George, Tinubu’s arch enemy in Lagos politics, describing him as a ‘local champion’. Others have also cruelly tagged him the ‘tamed cat of Bourdillion’, as against the lion and Asiwaju that he had been variously called!
Whatever happens says a Nigerian political analyst: “Saraki is the Senate President and true democrats are the happier for it. Nigeria’s democracy is better and this is a clear signal, As stated by Governor Ayodele Fayose, that Nigeria does not belong to anybody!”
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