FOR Saraki, What Goes Around Comes Around
By Koko Afam, ONNLive
FOR those who knew him in his days at Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN) before he became a political colossus now, he was better known as ‘obe‘, a pet name they said his late father, Oloye, Dr. Olusola Saraki, gave him.
Trained as a medical doctor in the United Kingdom, Bukola Saraki, left his exalted office as an executive director in his father’s SGBN bank to become one of the aides of the then President Olusegun Obasanjo. From there, he aspired and became the governor of Kwara State, defeating the likes of Mohammed Lawal, among others in the process.
For eight years, he called the shorts at the Government House, Ilorin. Amassed wealth and made so much name that his father who helped in installing him as governor and his sister, Gbemi, were the first to feel the political ruthlessness in him. In an attempt to show the world that he hated his father’s style of politicking by placing his kids in political vantage positions, he made sure that Gbemi did not succeed him as the governor of Kwara State.
Instead, he assisted one of his commissioners, Abdulfatai Ahmed, to become the governor while he opted for a seat (Kwara Central) in the Senate, incidentally the seat that Gemi occupied while he was governor.
That was the first signal he sent out that showed him as a sel-centred politician, who is only interested in what he can grab for himself – self interest. That also was contrary to the believe by a section of Kwarans, that he is a sincere politician that loathes his father’s attempt at making Gbemi his successor.
At the red chambers, Saraki became one of those who made the tenure of the immediate past Senate President, David Mark, hellish. And naturally the masses urged him on; unaware that he was on a mission. He teamed up with the likes of Aminu Tambuwal, Yakubu Dogara, Rotimi Amaechi and the then nPDP seven governors to defect to APC; a move that drove the last six inches nail into the coffin of the party which was finally lowered into its grave by the electorate at the 2015 general elections.
Having achieved the first leg of his ambition, Saraki proceeded with the second and perhaps, the final leg of his desire, the Senate Presidency. And with the harmless statement of President Buhari that he is, “for everybody and for nobody,” he became more emboldened to actualise his dream of becoming the number three citizen of Nigeria.
The president and APC further played into his hands with the letter transmitted to the Senate authorizing it to go on with or without his (President’s) presence at the appointed time of 10am for its inauguration and the emergency meeting of all APC elected NASS members which was summoned by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo (whom Saraki had earlier reportedly described as a mere commissioner when he was a governor) also coincided at the same 10am respectively; crafty Saraki seized the opportunity, especially with the declaration of the 8th assembly opened, to lobby PDP members and a few of his APC supporters, who in solidarity with him, stayed away from the meeting, to cast their votes for him and dealt a deadly on APC and its anointed candidate for the position; similar thing played out at the House of Reps where his co-traveller in ‘conspiracy’ against Jonathan and PDP, Dogara, emerged as speaker, against the wishes of the party.
Since then, Saraki, whom reports say was one of the biggest spenders for APC before and during the 2015 elections, became a marked man, a leprous finger that must be severed from the rest, a Jezebel, who has rebelled against his party and must be thrown down from his exalted position. He was seen as a party member who is bigger than the party and must be checked.
That was the beginning of his travail and to cut him to size, the powers that be at the party level instigated a heavy social and traditional media attacks on him. When it became clear that all that will not undo what has been done, they suddenly remembered that he did not declare his assets when he was the governor of Kwara State. So, ‘let’s take him to the Conduct of Conduct Tribunal (CCT)’, they said to themselves. That they did with so much media trial and fanfare that an onlooker would have thought that by now, he would have been cooling off his heels in one of the jailhouses in the country, instead, he has ‘jumped and pass all the traps.’
Rather than rot in jail, Saraki who is still feeding fat on taxpayers bill, also fought back in many ways including the delayed passage of 2018 Appropriation Bills of Mr. President, the celebrated invitation of the Comptroller of the Nigerian Custom Exercise, Hameed Ali, Inspector General of PolicemIbrahim Idris among other things by NASS, is on trial again. He is been accused by the police of having a robust relationship with the ringleader of the deadly Offa bank armed robbery incident at which 33 innocent souls were wasted. The police are alleging that the young man (the robber) was one of the thugs Saraki used in Kwara State during the 2015 election which APC and even Spartan Mr. President benefited bountifully from.
Like a tortoise which is never scarce in tales by moonlight, Saraki is in the news again. This time, the yanking off of moneys for critical infrastructure projrcts spread across the country as contained in the budget estimate sent to the House by the president. The projects, some of which were initiated by the previous governments of the PDP, were supposed to offer the masses the dividends of democracy. However, in the midst of the noise that the action has generated, some are still adamantly defending him and his co-travellers on the grounds that it is part of their constitutional right to thinker with the bill while the president’s sympathizers believes that Saraki has presided over a NASS that is out to frustrate the executive and prevent it from fulfilling its promise of CHANGE. Whatever side you may belong in all this shenanigans been displayed by a house which has members of the ruling party in the majority, Saraki’s name has become a recurring decimal for all the bad reasons and that does not portray him as a man of the masses.
While some of us have no tears or shoulder for Saraki to lean upon in his current tribulations, we can also say that what APC and its leadership have been experiencing in the hands of the likes of Senators Dino Melaye, Shehu Sani, Governor Rochas Okorocha and of course, Saraki and others, is good for it. APC is a party founded on the platform of intrigues and conspiracy and must swim or sink in the conspiracy. It clapped and aided Saraki, Melaye, Sani and Okorocha when they used all sorts of printable and unprintable words against PDP and its members and now wants them to change their character at old age. Let APC bear their vituperations with so much pride and learn to live with it because it is a character they cannot change.
When Melaye fought a female member of the house and got suspended by the then speaker, Dimeji Bankole, he was a courageous reps; when no word was too heavy for Sani to use against the PDP governments at all levels, he was an outspoken civil rights crusader. When Saraki, as a PDP senator, was hobnobbing with the likes of Amaechi, Tambuwal in Sokoto plotting the fall of Jonathan and PDP, there was nothing wrong in that; the leadership of APC should also see nothing wrong in Melaye’s refusal to honour police invitation, or Sani’s attack on Governor Nasir el-Rufai, Okorocha’s onslaught on Oyegun or Saraki’s alleged misbehavours.
However, Saraki must be made to prove his innocence as per his relationship with a robber and if it is established that the thug turned armed robber is his political thug, then, let the law punish him accordingly. He should be made to explain why NASS drastically reduced the estimates for critical projects like the Lagos/Ibadan Expressway; Second Niger Bridge, the Maritime University’s take-off grant, among other projects aimed at bringing the greatest good to the greatest number of people and replaced it with mere constituency projects of NASS members. Unless that is done, Saraki, for now, deserves what is happening to him. He did same to PDP, Jonathan and Mark and if he is made to drink the same ‘poison’ he served others in the past, nothing bad. After all they say, do unto others what you expect them to do onto you. So, for Saraki, what goes around comes around.
EDITO’S NOTE: This is strictly the opinion of the writer and not in any that of the paper and its management or the governor or his aides.