BY AHURAKA ISAH, Abuja
Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC Zamfara Central) said the senators including himself that form the Unity Forum simply obeyed the directives from President Muhammadu Buhari and that of the leadership of the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), and stopped fighting against the leadership of the 8th Senate headed by the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and not chairmanship of a “juicy committee” offered to them.
While reacting to an advertorial in some dailies last Wednesday credited to the Coalition of Northern Youth Organization, Senator Marafa said it is not true that he stopped opposing the senate leadership since July 21, 2016 when he was made the Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream) by the Senate President as against that of National Identity and National Population earlier assigned him in November 2015.
In an interview with journalists at the weekend, Senator Marafa disclosed further that both the beginning and the end of the fight between his group then, the Senate Unity Forum (SUF) and the like minds supporting the Saraki led Senate leadership were determined by the stance of the party at every given time.
He said: “I did not fight Bukola Saraki because he is Saraki, I fought because my party said I should fight and when my party said I should stop, I stopped. The decision to end all these hostilities and bring the two sides together was taken by APC and President Buhari himself. It was not me or anybody.
‘The party said my children come together, this one has won the senate President, you this side give them the Senate Leader and Deputy Senate Leader, and it was done, was that not what happened? Now you have formed committees, give them some committees, is that not what happened, I don’t know why Nigerians forget things easily. It was the party and President Buhari that intervened.
“So the assertion that I was given a juicy committee to stop fighting the Senate President is rubbish, am I not entitled to committee?, I am even more qualified to head committees by our rules, I am a ranking senator, I was the vice chairman of the Petroleum Upstream Committee in the 7th Senate for four years, it is my turn to become the chairman now.
“It is only about thirty senators that made it back to the senate in the 8th assembly and I am one of them. So by the senate rules, I am entitled to any committee, I am not saying my colleagues are not qualified, but by the rules, I am qualified to head any committee.
“So I fought because my party said this is the direction and when the party said stop I stopped. A letter was written by the party saying give unity forum this and that, and that was how Ahmed Lawan became the Senate Leader, and that was how my own committee was changed and besides, do people want me to remain irrelevant in the senate because I am defending APC?”
It would be recalled that Senator Marafa refused to accept the Chairmanship position of the earlier committee given to him by the Senate President in 2015 and in fact, refused to recognize any of the 65 standing committees of the Senate constituted then, on account of antagonism of the Senate Unity Forum (SUF) to which he belonged against the leadership of the 8th Senate under Saraki .
But he dramatically changed his disposition to the Senate leadership headed by Saraki from that of negativism to that of positivism on Thursday, July 21, 2016 when he was made Chairman, Senate Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream).
A sudden paradigm shift that made the Coalition of Northern Youths in an advertorial in some of the national dailies last week Wednesday to describe him, as an enemy within the northern political hemisphere and a turncoat who allegedly after being settled by the Senate President, can stab President Buhari in the back going by his alleged support for a motion on the floor of the Senate on July 4 this year to make Saraki Acting President, an allegation he has however tore into pieces.