Before Senate President Bukola Saraki was accused of having a hand in the dastardly Offa robberries of April 5, 2018 in Offa, Kwara State, which claimed over 30 lives of innocent Nigerians, vocal lawmakers in the National Assembly had also suffered the same fate in the past. While Senator Shehu Sani was lucky that he was not tagged a murderer, Senator Dino Melaye, was accused of gunrunning, and even when his teleguided accusers had openly exonerated him in court, he is still being tried. Nobody knows when the melo-drama will end.
On Monday, July 23, 2018, a grand plot was hatched to unseat Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu. The Senate president was invited at night by the Force headquarters over the Offa Robbery saga. He was asked to show up at the Guzape SARS office the next morning in Abuja.
“This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalised without just cause, where injustice is perpetrated at the highest level and where there is no respect for constitutionalism is an exercise in futility and it will fail,” Saraki had stated that same night.
Given his political sagacity, Saraki recongises a trap whenever he sees one. He beat the police and their co-collaborators to their game on Tuesday, July 24, 2018 and the rest is history. They couldn’t achieve their plans to impeach Saraki and his deputy as well as to forestall mass defection of 14 Senators and 37 House of Representatives members from the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other parties.
The presidency reacted to the development in a most bizarre manner, and analysts said it is a pointer to the source of Saraki’s travails. That same day, the presidency issued a statement quoting President Buhari as wishing the defectors well and in another breath it issued another statement few hours later justifying the failed attempt to block Saraki from the Senate plenary of that day and the simultaneous siege on Ekweremadu’s residence by EFCC operatives, who brought a letter of invitation and wanted arrest the deputy Senate president same day.
How would one explain the scenarios? The Police wanted Saraki and he was on his way but was blocked by the same Police. For his part, Ekweremadu was wanted by the EFCC and they came but refused to take him away only to lay siege on his residence. The two-legged plan was to prevent them from the day’s plenary and have them impeached conveniently.
Their travails, which were certainly not a coincidence, are methods that do not justify how to fight crime and graft. It was a political vendetta taken too far. History is repeating itself and apparently no lesson has been learnt. Former President Jonathan did a similar thing against the then Speaker of the House, Aminu Tambuwal, and here is the Buhari administration using the same failed method.
Now, the campaign of calumny against the number 3 man has taken a different dimension – from the conventional to the most unthinkable – in order to undo him for possessing the right and courage to become the Senate president on June 9, 2015 against undemocratic wishes of the APC leaders.
Saraki is calm, suave and patient but still does not suffer fools gladly, especially when humility and love for peace are being taken for cowardice. He has defected back to the PDP where he started his political journey and he stated his reasons.
The people calling him and others names for exercising their right of association as enshrined in the 1999 Constitution (as amended) are curiously poaching high ranking PDP members to their own fold, forgetting that what is good for the goose is also good for the gander.
For now, the APC controls 22 states, PDP has 13 states in its kitty and APGA is left with one state. At the National Assembly in the Senate, APC has 53 Senators, PDP 49, APGA 2, ADC 3, with two vacant seats, while in the House of Reps, APC has 191 members, PDP 156, with other parties left with 13 members.
This seems to be bad market for proponents of the Saraki-must-go campaign because the issue of whether the APC has majority in the Senate or not is not relevant. The point is it does not have the required 2/3 majority to impeach Saraki as the Senate president and such possibility is not foreseeable in this dispensation.
It is important they let Saraki be because he has not violated any section of the nation’s constitution. What he has done is to ensure the independence of the legislature and his antagonists are not happy about it.