Continued from Part 3
Am I not destroying my enemies when I make friends of them? (Abraham Lincoln)
The world is not fair, and often fools, cowards, liars and the selfish hide in high places (Bryant H. McGill)
A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor's (Richard Whately)
If you want to make peace with your enemy, you have to work with your enemy. Then he becomes your partner (Nelson Mandela)
he senate president, Bukola Saraki, is an extremely eccentric person; he's selfish to the core as long as achieving his goal is concerned. Anything blocking Bukola Saraki from his goal must be bulldozed, if he can do that, in order to get what he wants. When it comes to his goal, Bukola Saraki is ready to betray his father, his mother, his sister, his brother, his friends or colleagues, and for him, the end justifies the means. Bukola Saraki wanted to be the senate president by all means, that he even went against his Party's wish. Saraki used the PDP senators to get the post of the senate president, and now that he wants to make amends to his Party, he has dumped the PDP senators in order to satisfy the wishes of his Party.
Bukola Saraki decided to satisfy President Buhari and his APC, thinking that that will offer him a reprieve at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. He might be rewarded for making sure that his senate confirmed all the ministerial nominees, but, that may not remove his legal woes. Prior to the confirmation hearings, the senate was talking tough about how it will deal with any nominee having corrupt allegation hanging on his or her neck, and how it will not use the "bow and go" tactic of the preceding senate in confirming any nominee. But, Saraki, in order to impress the APC leaders and the President, made sure his senate didn't engage in an altercation with any of the nominees, even Rotimi Amaechi, the former Rivers State governor, who was a problem candidate, was at last given a soft landing, and that irked some PDP senators, who decided to leave the senate chamber when Amaechi was about to be confirmed. The PDP senators threatened that they will withdraw their support for the senate president because of Amaechi's confirmation. Saraki felt that he didn't need the PDP senators at that point in time, that what mattered most was to impress the APC leaders and the president, so that his legal travails would end (To digress: Think of it, Amaechi was the speaker of Rivers State House of Assembly for 8 years; Governor of Rivers State for 8 years, and will now be minister for at least another 4 years, are there no others in Rivers State who can also taste power except Amaechi?).
Bukola Saraki has a pattern here: He's not a team player; he hardly falls into line, and is rebellious. We learnt that Bukola Saraki continued to earn himself more foes; he had also lost his most loyal friend and benefactor who served as his Security Adviser for eight years, Mallam Yinka Aluko, who stayed behind in the PDP alongside other friends he betrayed. Most prominent of the Kwara State PDP today are Bukola Saraki's siblings who are also major stakeholders in the project of "Freedom for Kwara", fighting to free their state from Bukola's strong grip (Ilorin Info). Bukola Saraki retired his father, Dr. Olu Saraki, from active politics, despite the fact that the man made him who he is today; his father made all efforts to ensure that his younger sister, Senator Gbemisola Saraki, succeed him as the Kwara State Governor in 2011, but, Bukola Saraki worked against his father's wish and was succeeded by Abdulfatah Ahmed, his candidate, as the governor of Kwara State, instead of his sister. Bukola Saraki put his father to shame, and he, his father, died shortly after the 2011 general election, when his anointed candidate, (Gbemisola Saraki of the ACPN) lost gallantly to Alhaji Abdulfatah Ahmed, who was anointed by Bukola Saraki.
Remember that Bukola Saraki was a member of the cabal that held President Yar'Adua and his administration hostage throughout the period he was president. Saraki and James Ibori had unfettered access to Yar'Adua and dictated to him what to do, who to appoint, who to remove etc, because they bankrolled his campaign. Comparing Saraki with Ibori, one can say that Saraki was cleverer than Ibori, and that's the reason he has survived till now, while Ibori is cooling off in a London prison. Saraki as the Chairman of the Governors' Forum had enormous power during Yar'Adua's era. Infact, Bukola Saraki was among those who didn't want Goodluck Jonathan to take over when Yar'Adua became incapacitated. That was the reason, there's no love lost between Jonathan and Saraki, and the latter might have joined the APC from PDP in order to avoid having anything to do with President Goodluck Jonathan, whom he worked against his ascendancy. Saraki was also one of those who made sure Nuhu Ribadu was removed as EFCC Chairman, because, EFCC then was pursuing all those who made the Societe General Bank to collapse, and that had the Sarakis' signatures all over it.
Bukola Saraki is a fast guy, in that he exploits any possibility to his advantage. President Robert Mugabe booted some white farmers off their farms in order give those land to black Zimbabweans. Thousands of white farmers were driven away, often violently, leaving only a few hundred behind. Mugabe noted that whites may no longer own any land in Zimbabwe. Remember that Mugabe began seizing white-owned farms in 2000, claiming such was necessary to right colonial wrongs and empower landless black people. But critics say the only winners were Mugabe's cronies, many of whom neglected their land and left it fallow and unproductive. According to africaw.com, the white people living in Zimbabwe were great farmers who owned great farms and properties and contributed greatly to the economy of Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe had a very hopeful economy. Robert Mugabe forcefully drove those white people away from Zimbabwe because he considered white people parasites.
What the then Governor Saraki did was to lure some of those white Zimbabwean farmers, who were divested of their farms by Mugabe, to his Kwara State, where he made land available to them, gave them tax waiver and freedom to remit their profits to any other country they want. Governor Saraki gave the farmers all the necessary assistance to enable them establish and feel comfortable in Kwara State. That paid off for him and his state, as he gained personally from those white businesses, and Kwara State became almost self sufficient in food production. Moreso, those white farmers boosted the economy of Kwara State and offered employment to many Kwarans.
It was alleged that the Sarakis looted once beloved Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria SGBN, making depositors to lose billions in the bank. They, the Sarakis, even used the bank's money in the quest for political power, and it was alleged that the bank money was deployed to make Bukola Saraki the governor of Kwara State in the first place, and thereafter the bank crumbled. But, unfortunately, up till now, none of the Sarakis have paid a price for allegedly looting the bank. Those who said that the bank's matter is a kind of albatross around Saraki's neck are right, and until there's a closure in the bank case by making Nigerians to know how, when and why people's money invested in the bank disappeared, and meting out corresponding punishments to all who helped loot the bank, Bukola Saraki's name will remain tainted.
Mallam Nuhu Ribadu was the EFCC Chairman the time the bank collapsed, and the body did investigate the collapse, and swore to ensure that persons who played any role(s) in the alleged looting of the bank are brought to book. We were told that the anti-corruption agency disclosed that specifically, the chairman of the then Council of Elders Northern Union, Dr. Olusola Saraki, who was the father of the then Kwara State Governor and current senate president, Dr. Bukola Saraki, and other directors of the crippled bank had been investigated and there were credible evidence that they were responsible for the collapse of the bank. EFCC was about to arraign all those involved on a 30-count charge, but, high-power politics and maneuver swept off Ribadu and his team at the EFCC. As I stated earlier, just repeating myself, Bukola Saraki was the Chairman of the Governors' Forum then, was a friend of President Yar'Adua, and one of those who sponsored his presidential campaign, so the doors of Aso Rock were always open for Bukola Saraki every time, and as a selfish political actor who had president Yar'Adua's ear then, he connived with James Ibori to convince President Yar'Adua to remove Ribadu as the EFCC Chairman. Also, Bukola Saraki, being a governor then, invoked his immunity against prosecution, but, made sure his father and others weren't hauled into court by making sure that Ribadu was sacrificed.
Saharareporters wrote that "National Daily gathered that Ribadu intended to prosecute Bukola Saraki but could not because he enjoys the immunity clause bestowed on serving governors by the constitution of the country. The trial of Bukola's father and his accomplice would however had commenced pending the expiration of the son's tenure as governor but for the tenacity of Bukola Saraki who as a member of President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua's kitchen cabinet worked round the clock to ensure that the suit got thwarted and Ribadu disgraced. Bukola was also identified as the man behind the ouster of Ibrahim Larmode. Documents made available to National Daily revealed eight of the 30-count charge were directed at Dr. Olusola Saraki alone, and three solely for the defunct bank's MD Monu. The charges hinged mainly on transactions without collaterals spanning periods from 1999 to 2003". We learnt that if the suit had it proceeded, would have held at the Lagos, Federal High Court, and would have been between the Federal Republic of Nigeria and Dr. Olusola Saraki, joined with nine others to wit: - Robert Mbonu, Hafiz Bakare, Toyin Idowu, G. A. Oyenola, Yinka Fagbemi, Kennedy Izuagbe, Dele Iluyomade, Noah Olopoenia and Lana Haastrup as accused persons.
Bukola Saraki gambled with the ministerial nominees' confirmation hearings, but, as of now, his legal woes are not over. There was no legal reprieve from The Court of Appeal and the Federal High Court for Saraki, as both refused to extricate him from the legal web woven around him. The Court Of Appeal quashed the appeal filed by Saraki, challenging the validity of the charges against him before the CCT. The Appeal Court ruled that his trial should go on, and the Code of Conduct Tribunal has fixed November 5 and 6 for the Saraki case. Saraki said he will go to the Supreme Court in order to stop the CCT trial.
As for now, the decision by Senate President Bukola Saraki to dump the PDP senators, his key allies, who were against the clearance of some ministerial nominees, in order to satisfy president Buhari, may not stop his legal woes. The Sunday Punch wrote that "the Saraki camp worked for the clearance of the nominees with the hope that his decision to confirm all the nominees, especially former Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, would at least endear him to the leadership of the All Progressives Congress and President Muhammadu Buhari. However, multiple party sources informed that the Senate President's travails are far from over. A leading party member privy to these happenings noted that while the party felt a sense of relief that the threat to stop Amaechi was neutralized, it would not interfere with Saraki's ongoing trial at the CCT. He explained that even if the party was in a position to intervene, it would not, because doing so would send the wrong signals. The high ranking party member explained that the matter had gone out of the hands of the party".
Some APC leaders are working to get Saraki off the legal hook, but, it might not be as easy as that. The Tribune wrote that Reprieve may be coming the way of Senate President Bukola Saraki in respect of his travails at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), following moves by some leaders of the party who were said to have been impressed at his handling of the screening and confirmation of ministers nominated by President Muhammadu Buhari. Indications emerged that some top chieftains of the party had taken it upon themselves to fast-track a peace deal between Buhari and Saraki, following what the party chiefs called a good outing for Saraki during the confirmation process. The sources noted that the party chieftains were expecting Saraki to hit back at the party and use his supporters in the APC as well as senators of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to scuttle the chances of key nominees in the senate. But it was gathered that the sources, including some governors and other party chiefs, were impressed that Saraki got all the 36 nominees cleared by the Senate. The (APC) party chiefs were impressed that Saraki got the Senate to clear all the nominees, despite some real bottlenecks laid on the path of some of them.
But, just as the Sunday Punch noted, one of the reasons why the Senate President confirmed all the ministers was to warm up to the President. In the words of one APC leader: "Not confirming the ministers would have further deepened the gulf between the Senate President, and the President and Saraki doesn't want that. He wants reconciliation. His trial and the confirmation are not the same thing. The President had told the whole world that he won't interfere with the trial. How do you think people will react if Buhari now says because Saraki confirmed the ministers, the anti-corruption drive should stop. No one will take the President seriously again. Even, the Peoples Democratic Party will use it against us."
Bukola Saraki might have misread President Buhari's body language, by thinking that he can win the president over by confirming the ministerial nominees without any problem. The senate president thought he saw a signal that he will be in good books of the party if he shields the nominees from barrage of criticism, questions and tensed confirmation hearings. But, what he saw was a false signal. Saraki might not get any help from Buhari or the APC here, as the presidency has distanced itself from his ongoing trial. It might also be a payback time Buhari and some APC leaders have been waiting for (a clear case of a betrayer being betrayed). Buhari and his Party may have become Saraki's betrayers in retaliation (they may have decided to pay him back in his own coin). As someone wrote "some discerning minds saw it as a witchhunt given the Senate President's well-known disagreement with his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) over the office he occupies and the constitution of the Majority Principal Officers of the Senate".
To be continued!
THE THANX IS ALL YOURS!!!
Continued from Part 3