Across the ages in human history, significant chapters are devoted to narrate the mind-bending ordeals, rough paths and persecution suffered by independent –minded individuals who stood against the excesses of tiny creatures of God proclaiming overlord status with excessive powers. The privileged possession of instruments of state meant for application of justice are, instead, unleashed to constrain freedom and citizens rights, making life hellish for those who stoutly resist plunging the state into the abyss of despotism
The nation’s political space is currently bedeviled with suffocating flurry of political brinkmanship wrapped in unwholesome fury of determined, multifaceted onslaught against an individual deemed –wrongly or rightly- to be the arrow head of a creeping awareness in the rank of the APC. That person is no other than, the senate president –Bukola saraki. The nature of the sustained onslaught ranks high in unnatural malevolent cruelty all in the bid to sink, subdue and eradicate his influence in all critical and relevant areas of the nation’s democratic space. State actors in critical and strategic areas of the nation’s security architecture, judiciary and anti-corruption agencies were recruited for this purpose. Under high level supervision and directive subpoena, they invented and deployed unconventional crude artifices and demonstrated rarely seen dedication and effectiveness in their primary assignment of securing the state just to ensure that the anti – Saraki agenda is pursued to emphatic conclusion.
For close to three years, a reign of unrelenting orgy of persecution, slander and demonization, media trial became a hobby and celebrated pastime in pursuit of vendetta to the neglect of the very purpose for which the government came into power. The more urgent task of fulfilling the promises made to the people, consolidating the gains of its historic victory, ensuring cohesion and loyalty of party members were all lost to running down a political opponent. Burdened and afflicted by the vacuum of focused , attentive and proactive leadership in the affairs of the party during these period of relentless war , disorderliness, indiscipline and lawlessness became the dominant norm and before long, the party yielded and morphed into an unwieldy, shaky and unstable behemoth-terribly depleted in its rank.
One may well ask what is Saraki’s offence-so grievous and monumental, the like of which the nation has not been seen in recent times that explains the fiendish deployment of state apparatus to obliterate his influence in the polity. Spurious allegations of non- asset deceleration and other clumsy accusations which only existed in their imagination were brought before the courts. The courts saw through the chicanery of the allegations and the highest court in the land –Supreme Court, threw the case out through the window for lack of merit. While celebrating his victory, Saraki said, “As I said in my first appearance at the CCT, this is a politically-motivated case. The case was trumped up in the first instance because of my emergence as the President of the Senate, against the wishes of certain forces. Ordinarily, I doubt if anyone would be interested in the asset declaration form I filled over 15 years ago. As many have rightly observed, it is plain to see that the anti-corruption fight is being prosecuted with vindictiveness, to target perceived political opponents. I believe in the need to fight corruption, but I will never be party to the selective application of the law or the rhetoric of an insincere anti-corruption fight”-
The victory reverberated across the nation and even President Muhammadu Buhari issued a statement: “I have seen many instances where individuals and groups seek the destruction of the judicial institution in the foolish thinking of saving their skin, instead of going through the painstaking process of establishing their innocence. In the case of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, I have seen him take the tortuous path of using the judicial process. He persevered, and in the end, the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, says he is not guilty as charged.”
The colossal failure of this high-wire conspiracy engineered by some clever opportunists under the Buhari presidency, exposed the dubious veneer of anti –corruption war as mere cosmetic window dressing , packaged to intimidate and silence political opponents with different political philosophy. The authors of this clandestine reign of unmitigated vindictiveness have simply refused to accept that there should be a limit to their usurious appetite for grabbing key and sensitive positions in government- a grab-all-mentality wrapped around greed and opportunism. Their huge ego and pride were busted when Saraki, having supported Buhari in the preferential primaries by galvanizing his huge support base , friends and colleagues and personally withdrew from the race to ensure Buhari’s victory , settled down to pursue his inalienable right to contest for the position of the senate president . Saraki’s interest for the senate presidency was never shrouded in secrecy. The hidden actors behind his travail had their eyes on all key positions in the new government – they wanted the Senate President,the Speaker, House of Representative , the SGF –. a move that made nonsense and questions the stake of other critical component of the coalition represented by the new PDP. Unknown to most people, had they achieved their self desire, the Buhari presidency would have been rendered lame under severe capricious pressure in their rudderless selfish drive to control all areas of influence to the exclusion of other critical stakeholders.
Undeterred by sworn compulsive drive to keep Saraki out of circulation –a fresh round of conspiracy was dug in a far way Offa –shortly after the Supreme Court – linking him with some robbery suspects. Conflicting statements that emanated from the investigating agency only portrayed untidiness. Clumsiness defined the method and approach and before long even the manner of inviting him to make clarification on the allegation proved too difficult. At one time, the police wanted him to appear in person, at another time, he was only required to respond in writing.
There is little doubt that Saraki would come out of this fresh round of conspiracy unscathed like in the previous case, thereon consolidating the fact that he is far beyond the narrow space that his traducers would wish to confine him as he appears to command superior strategy, better understanding of politics and enjoys immense support across wide spectrum of the nation’s political landscape.
While reacting to the allegation he said “The police have obviously corrupted and politicised their investigations into the Offa robbery incident. They have turned it into an instrument for the party in power to suppress perceived opponents, witch hunt issue for blackmailing people from freely choosing which platform on which they want to pursue their ambitions and a matter for harassing the people whose exit from APC would harm the chances of the party in the forthcoming elections. This plot aimed at compelling me and my associates to stay in a party where members are criminalized 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.”
The nation should spare some moment to dig into the genesis of the entire saga and contemplate the scale and magnitude of fury and frustration of those who felt offended by Saraki’s spiral progression in the nation’s political space in comparison to the harassment and intimidation he had to endure –albeit undeservedly . Only then can we uncover the thick veil of pretence to national course and dubious patriotism bandied around as justification of their claim to the Nigeria state over which no one else has any legitimate right to pursue, contest and uphold any mandate.
On his part, Saraki left everybody bewildered in his matured response during the entire drama -from the hurriedly arranged CCT trial of false asset declaration to the Offa robbery saga, the police siege to and attempted legislative coup and the unfolding component of post –mass defection. He evolved an uncanny moral spirit that absorbed each phase of the high-end conspiracy with characteristic unruffled comportment, resilience and perseverance.
By not allowing the sponsored distraction to impede his official duties underscored the huge support that Saraki commands among his colleagues in the National Assembly – a pointer to his exceptional leadership capacity which served as the impregnable fortress for his adversaries who had intended to use the distraction created by his court case to push for his impeachment
Saraki has demonstrated remarkable calm and comportment under constraining circumstance as a mark of his mastery of superior attitude and political savvy, making him one of the most successful Senate Presidents in Nigeria’s recent history. He withstood the persecution and conspiracy engineered from corridors of power without losing his balance, trust and support of his colleagues nor compromising his oath of office – posting spectacular achievements in that sensitive institution of the nation/s democratic structure .
“At some point in the political history of this country, there will be the need for a dedicated study of the current president of the senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, not just in terms of his political wisdom or native intelligence, but the nature of his demeanour, which allows him to remain extremely calm and calculated in the face of crisis, no matter the extent of provocation” – This day newspaper
The APC had accused Saraki of being the grand mastermind of the revolt against the party –to the extent to which this allegation is true, it lends credence to his far- reaching influence in the polity – a dependable ally with proven organizing and coordinating abilities trusted to provide the strong rallying platform for a new realization. He offers the best example of dynamic youthful leadership as currently obtained in Liberia, Sierra Leon, Gambia. Nigeria is ripe for dynamic youthful leadership drive to inspire her into the global mix of purposeful leadership needed to size up with the challenges of governance in digital age
– Alhaji Yakubu is S.A. Political to the President of the Senate