Saraki: Fighting A Lost Battle, By Habib Gajam
Since the inception of the All Progressives Congress (APC) led Federal Governmenton May 29, the National Assembly particularly the Senate has become a theatre of political confusion which has dominated the Nigerian political space-and has generated a lot of controversy in the courts of public opinion. This is not unconnected with the way and manner in which its leadership emerged.
The current travails of Nigeria’s number 3 citizen, Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki could be seen as a direct consequence of the events and intricacies of June 9, the day the 8th Assembly was inaugurated. Saraki in a desperate bid to become the Senate President blatantly disregarded his Party’s arrangement and went into a political marriage of convenience with 49 PDP Senators and a handful of their APC counterparts. Senator Ike Ekweremadu is the biggest beneficiary of that consummation having emerged as Saraki’s Deputy in a strange and unpopular arrangement, thereby subverting the will of Nigerians. This has in no small measure undermined the APC and its change agenda. The no love-lust relationship between Saraki and the APC further deepened when he yet again, disregarded the party’s proposed nominees for Principal Officers in the upper chamber in a winner-takes-all manner.
This singular move by Saraki was the last straw that broke the camel’s back thereby leaving bleak, any chances of reconciliation and even consolidation in the Red Chamber. Concession and compromise in the art of politics and governance are key to the success and survival of leaders. Perhaps Saraki should have read and understood the implication of Robert Greene’s Law 47 in his famous book, The 48 Laws of Power – Do Not Go Past The Mark You Aimed For; In Victory, Learn When to Stop. Robert Green expatiated this Law by warning that…”Never let Success go to your head and cause you to be arrogant or overconfident. Going too far will surely attract enemies. When you’ve reached your goal, stop! Luck and circumstance always play a role in power. This is inevitable, and actually makes the game more interesting”.
The House of Representatives despite having a larger and relatively younger population, and more prone to crises, was able to avoid such quagmire as a result of the all-inclusive style of leadership exhibited by its Speaker, Yakubu Dogara. This has not only stabilized the Green Chamber, it has also endeared the Speaker to the Party Leadership and Nigerians by extension.
Speculations from many quotas are ripe that the strong man of South West politics Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu is behind Saraki’s travails on the 13- Count charges against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and his subsequent trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). Others are of the opinion that it is not unconnected to the Senate Power Probe initiated by Saraki to investigate allegations of massive fraud and corruption in the Power Sector. This school of thought opines that since Saraki has decided to go after the cabal believed to have siphoned Millions of Dollars in this sector without commensurate results, they will not go down alone. You don’t throw stones at your neighbors when you live in a glass house.
These “forces” Mr Saraki stepped on will not waver. His eight-year tenure as the helmsman of Kwara State, his stint as a Director in Societe Generale Bank (Nig), his tenure as President Obasanjo’s Special Assistant on Budget, and even his work as a Medical Officer at Rush Green Hospital in far Essex United Kingdom will come under serious scrutiny by these forces. They will not relent until they put the final nail on his political coffin.
Political witch-hunt (as Saraki’s sympathizers would argue) or Justice taking its natural course, have become the most glaring arguments in this whole saga. The wave of allegations lined up against him (and maybe many more to come) will eventually distract the man from performing his duties as the president of the Senate. This was not the deal Nigerians bargained for. The over ambition and greed of an individual cannot hold this country to ransom. The large turn out of Senators in court as a mark of solidarity to their principal does not depict him as popular, it merely shows that corruption is still celebrated in the Senate. They should rise above sentiments and let the rule of law take its course without interference .
Dr Saraki should have seen the writing on the wall with the current government’s zero tolerance for corruption particularly in the public service. If found guilty of the charges leveled against him, the shield hitherto enjoyed by privileged high and mighty will not protect him from the long arms and blind eyes of the law. It may have been a lost battle already.