Sunset on Saraki’s political dynasty

Sunset on Saraki’s political dynasty

By Dayo Omotoso

In a 1796 letter, third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson wrote: “I have no ambition to govern men.
It is a painful and thankless office.” And, former British Prime Minister, Sir Winston Churchill, observed that “Politics are almost as exciting as war and quite as dangerous. In war you can only be killed once, but in politics many times.”

For about four decades the Saraki family of Ilorin dominated the politics of Kwara State. The patriarch of the family, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, a medical doctor and politician, was the prime mover. Dr Saraki first entered politics in 1964 when he contested the parliamentary election for Ilorin as an independent, but lost.

After the election he returned to his medical practice in Lagos, only returning to party politics in 1978.

Earlier in 1977, Olusola Saraki had been elected as a member of the Constituency Assembly that produced the 1979 constitution. He won election into the Senate in 1979. He was re-elected in 1983 on the platform of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) and became the Senate Leader. Between 1979 and 1983, he was a member of Ilorin Emirate from Agoro compound in Agbaji.

In 1998, Olusola Saraki became a National Leader of the Board of Trustees of the All People’s Party (APP), contributing to the victory of the APP in Kwara and Kogi States. He assisted Mohammed Alabi Lawal in becoming Governor of Kwara State.

In 2001, Olusola Saraki was head of a team from the Arewa Consultative Forum, a Northern Cultural and political group, sent to meet and discuss common goals with Northern state governors and other stakeholders. Later Olusola Saraki defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); and in the April 2003 elections the kingmaker supported his son Bukola Saraki as candidate for governor of Kwara State and his daughter, Gbemisola, as Senator for Kwara Central Senatorial district.

In March 2003, the Societe Generale Bank (SGBN) of which Olusola Saraki was the Chairman was investigated by the National Drug Law Enforcement
Agency (NDLEA) for alleged money laundering. Later, SGBN was investigated by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Nuhu Ribadu, and its licence was suspended.

The SGBN eventually went under. Many depositors and customers of the bank lost a fortune in the process but there were no consequences.

Dr Olusola Saraki’s last political party was the Allied Congress Party of Nigeria (ACPN) on whose platform Gbemisola contested the 2011 Kwara State gubernatorial election.

The attempt created a schism in the Saraki family because Olusola Saraki wanted Gbemisola to succeed her brother, Bukola, as Governor of Kwara State but Bukola preferred his own anointed candidate, Abdufattah Ahmed, instead. Bukola Saraki’s candidate defeated his father’s candidate.

Popularly known as Baba Oloye, Olusola Saraki was allegedly deeply hurt and humiliated. Rumour, however, had it that father and son later reconciled.

Olusola Saraki was born in Ilorin on 17 May 1933 and died of cancer in Ikoyi, Lagos on 14 November 2012. His mother was from Iseyin in Oyo State; his father hailed from Ilorin, Kwara State. Saraki’s paternal ancestors were Fulanis from Mali about 200 years ago.

Olusola Saraki attended Eko Boys’ High School, Lagos; University of London; and St George’s Hospital Medical School, London. He worked as medical officer at General Hospital, Lagos and the Creek Hospital, Lagos. He had four children: Bukola, Gbemisola, Temitope and Olaolu.

Abubakar Bukola Saraki followed closely in the footsteps of his wealthy and influential father. Born on 19 December 1962, Bukola was educated at the Corona School, Victoria Island; and King’s College, United Kingdom: 1979-1981 for Higher School Certificate (HSC); and London Medical College: 1982-1987. He worked as Medical Officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex: 1988-1989; and Director of SGBN: 1990-2000.

In 20000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Bukola Saraki as Special Assistant on Budget. During his tenure, Bukola Saraki initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. He also served in the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of several key economic policies for the nation.

Bukola Saraki was elected governor of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 2003. He served for eight years: 2003-2011. As governor, Saraki became the first state chief executive to complete the Nigeria Independent Power Project in collaboration with the Power Holding Company of Nigeria. He introduced innovations in the Primary health care, agriculture and infrastructural development. He also brought revolutionary changes into the Nigeria Governors’ Forum

In April 2011, Saraki was elected into the Senate on the platform of the PDP representing Kwara Central Senatorial District, and then re-elected in March 2015 on the ticket of the All Progressive Congress (APC) after he had decamped from the PDP. Saraki was the arrowhead of those who moved against President Goodluck Jonathan’s second term bid for the presidency in 2015.

However, Saraki defected back to the PDP on 31 July 2018 some days after 14 Senators decamped from the APC to the PDP. He blamed his defection on intolerance of some influential persons in the APC.

The party’s national Chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole actually campaigned vigorously for the removal of Saraki as Senate President. Indeed, the national leadership of the APC never liked the emergence of Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate and they never disguised their disdain for him.

The 2019 National Assembly election was therefore, an opportunity for the APC hawks to take their pound of flesh. Before the election the Senate passed the Petroleum Industry Governance Bill but President Muhammadu Buhari rejected it, stating that it reduced the President’s powers. The Senate said the Bill was passed to promote transparency and accountability. Buhari has no petroleum minister of cabinet rank.

In the February 23, 2019 election, Bukola Saraki lost his senatorial seat to Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe of the APC. Saraki polled a total of 68,994 votes against Oloriegbe’s 123,808 in the four Local Government Areas of Kwara Central Senatorial District leaving a margin of 54,814 votes. Oloriegbe is a former Majority Leader in the Kwara State House of Assembly.

A political scientist, Dr Kehinde Awujoola, commented on the shocking defeat of the Senate President. He said he was not surprised that Saraki was ousted considering the several unsavoury occurrences since he became the Senate President in June, 2015. He said “First, you will recall that the leadership of the APC did not want him as the Senate President.

The party had a preferred candidate from the North East. Saraki’s tenure was tempestuous. He encountered many tribulations. Several wild allegations were hurled at him including the Code of Conduct Bureau saga and the futile attempt to link him with the Offa robbery case.

The immediate past inspector general of police, Ibrahim Idris, had no respect for the office of the Senate President.

On several occasions, Idris derided the Senate President with impunity without consequences. The Executive arm of government did not help matters. Nobody in Buhari’s administration wanted Bukola Saraki. They saw him as a liability. So, the APC cabals waited for the right moment to humiliate him at the poll.”

Another commentator, Dr Tosin Iyaniwura, observed that the rivalry between the Saraki siblings, Bukola and Gbemisola had destroyed the cohesion of the Saraki political dynasty.

She said: “The current problem began in 2011 when the once united Saraki family became polarised over Gbemisola’s gubernatorial ambition. Unfortunately, those who were envious of the family’s streak of luck and influence exploited the crack to convince the Saraki teeming followers that it was time for them to chart a new course hence the new political slogan “ O to gee” in Kwara politics.

For several years, the Sarakis had always kept their followers happy and loyal by distributing food and money to them with some getting killed in the stampede for the items. But, now, some young Kwarans who were probably former followers of Baba Oloye have decided to challenge the Saraki dominance of Kwara politics.”

Reacting to Saraki’s defeat, a former media adviser who prefers anonymity said, “If an unwanted visitor comes to your compound, you quickly sweep off his or her footprints. Bukola Saraki is too arrogant and self-centred. He is a butterfly pretending to be a bird. When you talk of Kwara politics, we were loyal to him and his father.

The people served them faithfully but Bukola took their love and loyalty for granted. He became swollen-headed, and we said O to gee, meaning enough is enough. Bukola Saraki has become a pariah in Kwara politics.”

But, earlier in a newspaper interview in October 2014, a former Commissioner for information under Saraki’s governorship, Raheem Adedoyin, had argued that “The system in Saraki’s political dynasty is not about struggling for anything…”, adding that “Elections in Kwara had never been a tea party; but from 1979… the winning machinery is the Sarakis. The founder, a great visionary, Late Olusola Saraki, established the machinery and the machinery…has even surpassed the founder. Bukola Saraki, our leader is the Senior Prefect of the dynasty.”

The plot against the Saraki political machinery in Kwara first reared its ugly head before the 2015 general elections when some former loyalists kicked against an alleged plan by Bukola Saraki to impose a gubernatorial candidate on the APC. He compounded his political woes in 2018 when he decided to go back to the PDP.

Shuaibu Iyanda, a resident of Ilorin, is from the Amilegbe area of the state capital. He sympathised with Saraki’s political misfortune but eulogised Ibrahim Oloriegbe’s modesty and humility in victory. He said: “Dr Ibrahim Oloriegbe is a noble man. I congratulate him on his modesty and humility in victory. Oloriegbe is not like some proud Abuja politicians who regard themselves as the Alpha and Omega of Kwara politics.

They have been going about boasting that they are behind the APC victory in Kwara. These pretenders are not even from Ilorin. Why, then, are they claiming to be leaders? Ilorin people have just shaken off the hegemony of one family. We do not want a new imposition from any quarters. Nobody should use us to secure appointments in Abuja,” he concluded.
Omotoso, a journalist, wrote from Ibadan

Senate: How Saraki, Akpabio, others lost out

Senate: ‘How we dislodged Saraki, Ajimobi, Akpabio, Alasoadura, Sani’

When the 9th National Assembly takes off in June, some of the notable names that will be missing on Senators list are Bukola Saraki, the current Senate President; Abiola Ajimobi, current governor of Oyo State ; Godswill Akpabio,erstwhile Minority Leader of the Red Chambers and former governor of Akwa Ibom State; popular human rights activist Shehu Sani; and the Chairman,Senate Committee on Petroleum (Upstream); Tayo Alasoadura following their defeat in last weekend’s election. How did it happen? Those who defeated them spoke to correspondents Abdulgafar ALABELEWE, Bassey ANTHONY; Damisi OJO, Akure; Yinka ADENIRAN, Ibadan and Adekunle JIMOH, Ilorin

The National Assembly election is only a week old today, but the Senator elect for Kwara Central,Dr. Ibrahim Yahaya Oloriegbe is already taking stock of his victory over Senate President Bukola Saraki. Oloriegbe, a former World Health Organisation (WHO) consultant, thanked God and the people for making his victory possible.

Saraki’s cup is full – Oloriegbe

“My reaction is that of gratitude to the Almighty God. He who gives power to who He wishes and takes power from He wishes,” he said in an interview in Ilorin.

He said the people went a step further to demonstrate that they meant business with to the slogan “O to ge”.

The people, according to him, decided to “walk the talk because the talk has been enough is enough (“O to ge”) and the voice was loud.

“This voice was demonstrated at the polls by voting out those that they considered were not delivering the dividends of democracy in the real sense of it. Those they considered as selfish, self-centred and those that used our commonwealth for self.

“Those that have not provided Kwarans good education, healthcare, good roads, potable water. Those that have been cutting the people’s salaries. These are all the issues and more. Lack of job opportunities for the youth.

“The other reaction is to look at the enormity of the current situation and the expectations of the people from us for the true change to happen in the state. But on that one, my belief is that we have good intention and our belief is that the people are still with us and they should be patient with us to start together with them to correct the wrongs on the past.”

On the description of the voting pattern in the state as a revolution,Oloriegbe said: “ It is a combination of so many factors. It is not only about the revolution. Yes, there was that revolutionary movement of ‘O to ge’.

“Kwara central people had made request to opposition parties to present candidates that are credible and have track records of performance for them to vote.

“O to ge came up, but going back into history, 2015 people were in despair against the candidates presented by the opposition party against the status quo.

“Then, if you go back to 2011 when I was the candidate of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), if you look at the performance when my current opponent, Senator Bukola Saraki, was a sitting governor, people voted massively for me.

“The supposed winning by him then came from Asa local government area of the state, where the voters’ turnout was claimed to be over 80 percent as compared to the Ilorin metropolis where the voters’ turnout was put at about 40 percent.

“That was a reflection of what should have been. In my view, I think the two factors came together. But far and above all those factors and human conjectures, it is God’s time that has come.

“As we all know, in life nobody will live in perpetuity. It is only God.”

Asked what had changed between the previous elections when Saraki had defeated him and now for the people to go for him this time around,the senator-elect said: “There are several things that have probably changed. But there are certain things that have not changed.

“Even in 2011 when he said he defeated me and I accepted the verdict but then at the tribunal, we proved that there were a lot of irregularities in that election. But through the use of the federal might, we were not able to get anywhere.

“That was unfair. Now we have not used any federal might, we have ensured a level-playing ground. Apart from that, INEC is now stronger and more transparent. The use of the card readers has prevented many politicians to manipulate the elections. With card readers, there cannot be over-voting again.

“What has changed again is that the cup of the Saraki dynasty is full beyond what the people can tolerate.

“People have become intolerable of the bad governance they have been experiencing in the last eight years.

“Eight years ago, when he left as governor for the Senate, things were not as bad as they are now. Salaries of workers were paid then but now they are not paid.

“The current Abdulfatah Ahmed administration, which Saraki installed, has not performed at all. Of course, we cannot totally remove his attitude to the APC government, a platform that he used to get the Senate Presidency.

“He worked against that party to become a minority in the National Assembly, minority in terms of leaders and not in terms of membership; that is particularly important for us, especially Ilorin people as he cannot handle trust.

“He used his position to work against Buhari. Buhari, in Ilorin, is a friend by virtue of his friendship and relationship with the late Major General Tunde Idiagbon. Ilorin people see the sincerity and credibility of Buhari.”

It’s a surprise Shehu Sani got up to 70,000 votes, says Uba Sani

Kaduna Central Senator-elect, Malam Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC),who defeated incumbent Senator Shehu Sani, also spoke on his own triumph at the polls.

Sani came a distant third in the race with 70,613 votes.

Second was Lawal Adamu of the PDP who had 195,497 votes. Uba Sani recorded 355,242 votes.

Aiming a dig at Shehu,the senator-elect said: “It is even a surprise to me that Shehu Sani got up the 70,000 votes that he got. I didn’t even expect him to get more than half of what he got. So, I congratulate him for even getting 70,000 votes.”

They used to be in the same party,APC,until Shehu fell out with Governor Nasir El-Rufai apparently because of Shehu’s ambition to succeed the former.

A parting of ways between the governor and Shehu soon came when El-Rufai vehemently refused to give the senator another chance to contest on the platform of the APC.

He accused Shehu of working against the interest of the people by voting in the Senate against the approval of a $350million World Bank loan for the state.

Shehu moved on and berthed in the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP).

Uba Sani believes that Shehu’s constituents have repaid him back for abandoning them.

“Defeating an incumbent like Senator Shehu Sani is as easy as anything because, right from the very moment he was elected, he abandoned the principles of the APC,” he told The Nation.

He added: “The principles of the APC require that you are close to the people, but he abandoned the very people that elected him.

“Kaduna central zone is a very important one, where you have a lot of elite and highly educated people, who know what is going on in the National Assembly.

“So, if you don’t constantly come back to tell them what you are doing, ask about their problems and go back to the assembly to make a case for them, and promote the development of their constituency, they will vote you out.

“An instance is the issue of the $350million World Bank loan the Kaduna State government requested for. Shehu Sani rejected it. He might have take n it as a joke, and I saw his explanation for rejecting the loan, but that was a major mistake he made. You don’t toy with the interest of your people; we are talking about nine million people of Kaduna State.

“When you look at the template we submitted to the World Bank, we are supposed to build over 1,000 schools, primary and secondary schools and enhance our healthcare. We are building infrastructure in Kaduna, and someone sat there saying, I am going to block this loan, simply because he didn’t want Governor Nasir El-Rufai to achieve anything.

“For me, it is not about El-Rufai, it is about nine million people of Kaduna State, and that singular act made us to be able to defeat the incumbent. He committed a lot of unfortunate errors.

“I also challenge you to go to his constituency office, you will see it taken over by dust, because he has not opened it in the last two years. You cannot do that in Kaduna central, and that is why we found it very easy to defeat the incumbent.”

Uba Sani also said that the party on which platform he(Shehu Sani)contested –PRP- has no structure to win an election.

His words: ” I don’t think the PRP has any structure on ground to win an election. In fact, he (Shehu) should be worried that it is so bad that he even lost in his polling unit; APC which is my party is a very popular one in Kaduna central zone, Kaduna State and Nigeria as a whole.

“The truth of the matter is that, we never regarded PRP as our challenger in this contest and of course, you know that the major reason why he was rejected is that, he abandoned his people. “Take for example the situation in Birnin Gwari, the road from Kaduna to Birnin Gwari, which is a federal one, and as a senator for almost four years, he never for one day made a case for the government to do anything on the road until recently when Governor Nasir Ahmad El-Rufai reached out to the federal government, which has made a commitment to fixing the road.

“So, for me, the people of Birnin Gwari rejected him because he abandoned them; he never for one day stood up on the floor of the National Assembly to move a motion on the security challenges in Birnin Gwari.

Why Ajimobi fell- Balogun

The senator-elect for Oyo South District, Dr Kola Balogun,sees the hand of God in his election.

“My victory is absolutely by God’s mercy,” Balogun told The Nation in Ibadan.

He said: “My victory is absolutely by God’s mercy.

“And talking about political factors, I will say that through my interaction with the people of the district, I discovered that they were tired of government policies and programmes, particularly at the local level.

“There is so much poverty, there is the inability of the government to develop the local economy, pay salaries promptly, pay serious attention to the entitlements of pensioners, ensure that collapsing infrastructure are attended to, revamp the education sector, inability to pay teachers’ salaries, provide teaching aids, affordable healthcare, develop agriculture, which is one of what we can leverage on to provide employment for our youths, inability to assist market men and women with low interest loans and inability of the government to provide security. All these produced hopelessness.

“But we presented better alternatives which people embraced. We also leveraged on my track record. They also saw my sincerity of purpose during my interaction with them. They saw that I could represent them well.”

On how he feels after defeating the incumbent, Sen. Soji Akanbi and the APC candidate, Governor Abiola Ajimobi, Balogun said: “I give all the glory to God. It is not by my power. I thank God and I feel fulfilled. I also thank the good people of Oyo South Senatorial District for their tremendous show of support. I reassure them that I will not disappoint them.”

I knew God was going help me defeat Akpabio, says Ekpenyong

Dr. Chris Ekpenyong, who defeated Senator Godswill Akpabio in Akwa Ibom Northwest also attributes his victory to God.

Ekpenyong, deputy governor of the state between 1999 and 2007, said his own political sagacity also went a long way to give him victory.

“It was just like what happened to Jehoshaphat in the Bible when he was accosted by people with chariots and weapons and he called upon the name of the Lord and the enemies vanished,” he said in Uyo.

“I knew I was going to beat him because I was backed up by the blood of Jesus Christ.

“God led me to the political battle field with prayers as my only weapon of war. I made several supplications to God asking Him to let His will be done in the election.

“I’m glad God gave me victory; it shows that there is always victory in humility. I told God to come and set His people free the way He set the Israelites free from the hands of pharoah.”

On his mission in the Senate, Ekpeyong said:“Since the war ended, our people are yet to be rehabilitated and reintegrated. There is no reconstruction and we are still having the relics of war.

“We need reconstruction, rehabilitation and reintegration. Governments have come and gone, yet no action.

“We need someone to bring it to the front burner. My primary responsibility is to ensure that there will be good laws and resolutions that will positively change the fortunes of the people of Akwa Ibom north west senatorial district. My victory is from God”.

He said he supported and worked for Senator Godswill Akpabio’s reelection until he dumped the PDP for APC in August 2018.

According to him, “In 2007 when I laboured for power shift to our senatorial district, Akpabio contested and won as governor; I supported him.

“When he wanted to go for a second term, he took me to the then President Jonathan and I knelt down and begged Jonathan to allow him contest a second term as governor.

“I didn’t do it for a fee but I showed humility in service.

“In 2015, Akpabio went to the Senate, I supported him. Even in 2018 when he declared for reelection, I supported him wholeheartedly until he left PDP for APC and the PDP fielded me to contest against him. It is just a change of baton.

“My name is Christopher and I am a cross bearer, I bear the cross of my people “.

Akinyelure: my victory is of God

Mr.Ayo Akinyelure (PDP) is returning to the Senate for a second time after defeating Mr.Tayo Alasoadura (APC) and former Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Zenith Labour Party in the contest for the Ondo Central District ticket.

Incidentally, it was Alasoadura who defeated Akinyelure in 2015.Akinyelure,like Ekpeyong and Balogun, attributed his victory to God.

He was also full of praises for his constituents for reposing confidence in him.

“My people had resolved to pay me back for the good work I delivered to Ondo Central during my stewardship in the 7th Assembly as the senator that represented the district,” he said.

“During that period, I was able to add value to the citizenry of the district by providing employment for over 550 graduates in various federal ministries and parastatals and many empowerment programmes designed to raise my people.”

Recalling his defeat by Alasoadura in 2015,the senator-elect said:”When I was defeated in 2015 election by Senator Alasoadura, I was the first to congratulate him and accepted the verdict of my people.

“The incumbent came second in the just concluded election,and has congratulated me.”

This developnent,he said, demonstrated the spirit of sportsmanship.

However, he said he was still expecting a congratulatory message from former Governor Mimiko.

He said:”He should remember that one good turn deserves another. We all stood by him when the whole Ondo State decided to vote him twice as governor of the state.

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“Ondo State belongs all of us and therefore, any one of us is qualified at one time or the other to be chosen by the majority of the people of Ondo State, particularly Ondo Central to represent their interest.

“It is,therefore, my turn now, and they have resolved to re-elect me to the Senate as a ranking senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”

Credit: The Nation

Saraki loses Senate seat to APC in Kwara

BREAKING: Saraki Loses Senatorial Seat To APC’s Oloriegbe In Kwara

Senator Bukola Saraki

By Biola Azeez –

Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, has lost his seat as Senator representing Kwara central senatorial district of Kwara state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to his longtime political arch-rival, Dr Yahaya Oloriegbe, of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

In the general elections conducted on Saturday, the Senate President lost in all the four local government areas that make up Kwara Central senatorial district, namely Asa, Ilorin West, Ilorin East and Ilorin South local government areas.

The winner, Oloriegbe polled 15,932 votes to defeat the incumbent senator with 11, 252 votes in Asa local government area.

In the Ilorin East local government area, APC polled 30, 014 and PDP scored 14, 654.

In the Ilorin South local government area, APC polled 26,331, while PDP scored 13,013.

In the Ilorin West local government area, APC polled 51,531, while PDP got 30,075.

It was gathered that APC members, had trooped onto major streets in Ilorin metropolis celebrating the victory of the APC candidate, Oloriegbe even before the official announcement of the results.

Credit: Tribune

How fear of removal forced Saraki to abort planned resumption of Senate sitting

Senate: Why Saraki aborted planned emergency plenary

Saraki

By Fred Itua, Abuja (fredo.itua@gmail.com)

He didn’t see it coming. Like a trap, he almost met his waterloo, but for the intervention of some senators who immediately intervened and saved his seat. When the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, hurriedly summoned senators to Abuja penultimate Saturday, ahead of an emergency plenary last Tuesday, he must have miscalculated.

On Monday morning, barely 24 hours to the aborted emergency plenary, slated for Tuesday, there was chaos in Saraki’s camp. His aides and allies, for several hours, were in limbo as to what to do next. They had been reliably informed that a major tsunami, which will consume Saraki was coming and may likely be the last straw that will break the camel’s back.

Calls were made and opinions of no-so-relevant people were tapped. After almost 10 hours, Saraki found a perfect alibi to escape the trap that had been set for him. In an unusual manner and first in its kind, Saraki’s media adviser, Mr Yusuf Olaniyonu, released a statement on behalf of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Customarily, the spokesman of the Senate, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, ought to have signed the statement, which was hurriedly packaged. Unfortunately, the Senate spokesman has joined the league of those asking for the head of Saraki. He has not signed any press statement in over six months or spoken in defence of the Senate. Ironically, he still enjoys the perks of office as chairman of the Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, despite a clear case of dereliction of duty.

Prior to the abortion of the planned emergency plenary, a meeting of principal officers of the Senate had been scheduled for Sunday night. Saraki was expected to preside, although the venue of the meeting was not disclosed. Nine other senators who are principal officers were expected at the meeting.

However, Saraki was far away in Kwara State. At about 10:00p.m on Sunday night, Saraki was still not on ground in Abuja. In the end, the meeting didn’t hold. No official reason was offered. Some PDP senators who are still loyal to Saraki had some meetings. But the big fish was the meeting called by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday night at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.

That proposed meeting called by President Buhari sent shock waves to the camp of Saraki that something sinister was in the offing. Ahead of the meeting with APC senators, the national chairman of the ruling party, Adams Oshiomhole met with the lawmakers. Although the details of the meeting were not made public, it was, however, gathered that plans were concluded on how to either sack Saraki or create a parallel leadership in the Senate.

Unfortunately for Saraki, his party, the PDP is still in the minority. Currently, the APC maintains a slim majority of 57 senators. PDP has 46, while other political parties make up the other seven. Two-third majority of 73 senators is needed to sack Saraki or his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. With cracks within the PDP camp and alleged plans to splash hard currencies on senators, Saraki wasn’t ready to gamble with his coveted office.

The Supreme Court case

Saraki allegedly in connivance with PDP senators approached the Supreme Court on Monday to interpret certain clauses in the 1999 Constitution as amended, on whether or not the president could suspend the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN). Whenever there is any issue between any arm of government, the Supreme Court becomes the court of first instance.

“Earlier today (Monday), the Senate filed a case in the apex court of the land, the Supreme Court, seeking its interpretation on whether President Buhari acted within the provision of the constitution in his suspension of the Chief Justice of Nigeria (CJN), Hon. Justice Walter Nkannu Onnoghen or whether the action of the President amounted to usurpation of the powers of the Senate as provided for in Section 292 of the constitution.

“Following the filing of the case, the matter of the suspension of the CJN which is the main issue for which the Senate had planned to reconvene tomorrow, has become subjudiced.

“Therefore, in line with the standing rules of the Senate not to debate issues that are already pending before the court, the reconvening of the Senate tomorrow has been put off. The previous adjournment of the Senate till February 19, 2019 stays,” a statement signed by Saraki media aide, Olaniyonu, read.

Expectedly, the APC caucus fired back. Leader of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who doubles as head of APC caucus, in a statement, retorted: “It has come to the notice of the APC caucus that the Senate has approached the Supreme Court for the interpretation for the suspension of Justice Walter Onneghen by the President.

“For the records, the Senate never met to take such a resolution and at no time mandated anyone to approach the Supreme Court on this matter on its behalf.

“Consequently, the Senate APC caucus dissociated itself from the said request for the legal interpretation of the suspension.”

The dust from the bitter exchange between Saraki’s camp and APC senators was yet to settle down, when PDP lawmakers joined the fray. Biodun Olujimi, Minority Leader of the Senate, fired a shot.

She said: “I am surprised that a few of my colleagues in the APC Caucus are spreading disinformation that they were not party to the decision to file a case seeking interpretation of the provision of the constitution concerning the President’s decision to suspend the CJN.

“Those who are saying this are just being mischievous. They know such a decision is not meant for debate on the floor of the Senate. It is the prerogative of the presiding officer and in this particular case, majority of the people in Senate leadership suggested and supported the idea. There is no precedent of when decision on whether to resort to court is referred to the plenary. And there are several cases that the Senate has been and is still involved in.

“Incidentally, those our colleagues in the APC who are spreading this dis-information are those who have been in the Senate for many years and they know the rules, conventions and practices. That is why I consider their current position as mischievous.

“What do they stand to lose in our seeking judicial interpretation of the law? I believe as democrats and lawmakers, it should be our interest to strengthen the law and support the independence of the judiciary.

This recourse to the Supreme Court will only strengthen our understanding of the law and clear ambiguities about the provision of the constitution, which we all swore to protect.

“It has always been my position that Nigeria is greater than any person or party.

Therefore, as legislators, we should always take position in the interest of the country and not allow partisan, party, group or individual interest to push us into taking a stand that will be counter to national interest.

“As members of the 8th Senate, we have always agreed among ourselves to stand for Nigeria even when it is against the preference of our party. My colleagues in the APC caucus should return to this agreement. It is Onnoghen today, it may be somebody else tomorrow.”

The battle ahead

Saraki may have gotten a reprieve. But plans to sack him before the expiration of his tenure as President of the Senate are still alive. Since he was elected in 2015, Saraki and the Senate have not known peace. Several attempts had been made in the past to remove him.

Saraki’s emergence as Senate in 2015 altered what some pundits described as the skewed power sharing formula the ruling APC had proposed. With President Buhari from the Northwest, APC had wanted Lawan who hails from Yobe in Northeast as Senate President. Saraki, in a last minute deal with PDP senators clinched the seat. He hails from North Central. Ekweremadu, who hails from the Southeast was re-elected as Deputy President of the Senate.

Although unconfirmed, Oshiomhole-led APC has reportedly tipped Mohammed Ali Ndume from Borno State in Northeast to replace Saraki as Senate President and Hope Uzodinma from Imo State in Southeast as his deputy. The fresh move, it was learnt, is to clear the coast for President Buhari’s requests pending in the Senate to get smooth acceleration.

The Senate is yet to consider the 2019 budget proposal. There are some pending loan requests and confirmation of nominees still pending before the Senate, which Saraki has not given the nod to be considered.

Beside, there are apprehensions that the PDP may become bolder after the general elections and initiate moves to impeach President Buhari whether or not he secures another term. Although no one from any of the camps has confirmed it, no one has denied it either.

“When we resume, there will be serious fireworks. Tempers will rise as expected. Those who will lose elections will be bitter. People will switch camps and so many things may happen.

These things are normal in a democracy. For now, the PDP is still in charge in the Senate. When we get to the next bridge after the elections, we will cross it,” Senator Clifford Ordia, representing Edo Central Senatorial District and a member of the PDP, told Sunday Sun.

CREDIT: Sunday Sun

My life is in danger, Saraki accuse Inspector General

IGP after my life, Saraki cries out

Saraki

By Dirisu Yakubu

ABUJA- President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki yesterday called on well-meaning Nigerians and the international community to hold Inspector General of Police, IGP, Ibrahim Idris responsible should anything untoward happened to him or members of his family in the months ahead.

Saraki who made this allegation while addressing a press conference at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Presidential Campaign Headquarters in Abuja yesterday said some unidentified men invaded his family house in Ilorin and inflicted injuries on some occupants, in the full glare of men of the Nigerian Police.

The Senate President linked his ordeal to the support being enjoyed by the PDP in Kwara state even as he accused the Police of protecting to the merchants of violence.

He said, ” The entire world should hold the IGP responsible if anything untoward happens to members of my family and myself.

“The Police have continued to show undisguised hostility to me and my supporters in Kwara State and this latest round of violence is part of efforts to jeopardise and undermine my personal security and that of my immediate and larger family.

“Three incidents will illustrate what I am saying to you. Yesterday (Thursday), after the All Progressives Congress, APC, concluded their campaigns in Ilorin, some of their supporters and thugs moved around town and in areas like Adewole/Adeta, Ile Otan and Ubandawaki/Pakata where they saw our people gathered holding their weekly ward meetings.

“They disrupted the meetings by shouting their party slogan and when our people responded by mentioning our own slogan, they fired gun shots into their midst in Adewole/Adeta. They also inflicted matchet cuts on some of them. As a result of this attack, two people suffered bullet wounds.

Continuing, Saraki claimed that “these same APC thugs shielded by policemen went to my family quarters in Agbaji in Ilorin, and vandalized houses, shops and inflicted wounds with machete on three people.

“All these destructions took place in the presence of policemen who came with them but watched without any care, as the APC thugs and supporters unleashed violence on our people. For me, personally, I believe the decision to attack people and properties in my family ancestral compound is a direct affront and attack on my person. And whatever signal these APC elements with support from the police believe they are sending is definitely sinister, uncivilized and unfortunate.”

He added that the victims have filed reports of the incidents in relevant police stations in Ilorin, noting however that “we have doubts that anything tangible and constructive will come out of these reports.”

Accusing the Police boss of complicity, the Senate President added that “the same Police under the directive of Inspector General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Kpotum Idris yesterday (Thursday) commenced the transfer of Divisional Police Officers (DPOs) out of Kwara State. While the police are free to take decisions on the deployment of their personnel, we found the postings in Kwara State strange and more than a mere coincidence.”

He also drew the attention of Nigerians to the fact that the IGP has posted three different Commissioners of Police to Kwara State in the last six months, stressing that “the previous and current Commissioner of Police in the State got strict instructions from the IGP not to relate or engage with the Senate President.

“The usual practice has been that the Commissioner of Police personally ensures the security of the Senate President whenever he visits his home state. That was the practice during the period of my predecessor and in my first year in office.

“We need to make it clear to the entire world that now that ward to ward campaigns is about to begin in the state and I am set to participate in that grassroots campaign as I have always done; nobody is sure what instructions Mr. Idris has given to the police command in the state.

“Do not forget that before now, this same IGP has tried several tricks to implicate me in some criminal charges. First, he arrested some cultists and was about to compel them to claim they worked for me. We exposed the trick early enough and the media also pointed out holes in his story. He quickly withdrew that.

“Later, he went on to the Offa robbery case and politicized the investigation in order to rope me. In the process of forcing suspects to implicate me, the principal suspect died in their custody. He has also not succeeded with that plot. Who knows what else he may have planned.

“It is important for Nigerians and members of the international community to note that this IGP, Ibrahim Idris does not believe his job is to protect the lives and properties of all Nigerians, irrespective of political, religious and cultural belief. A situation where political thugs and operatives attack opponents of the APC under the watch and protection of law enforcement agents does not present Nigeria well in the comity of nations,” he added.

Offa robbery: We have enough evidence to prosecute you, Police tell Saraki

Offa robbery: Police tell Saraki prosecution inevitable

Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki: Police preparing charge over Offa robbery
The Nigerian Police Force has pointedly told Senate President Bukola Saraki not to entertain any sense of relief over the death of Michael Adikwu, a major suspect arrested in connection with the deadly multiple robberies in Offa last April.

Police said the five suspects arraigned in court in Ilorin, Kwara State, had already given them enough clues about Saraki’s involvement in the robberies and they were determined to prosecute him.

Police gave this position in a response to the statement by Yusuph Olaniyonu, Senate President Bukola Saraki’s spokesman.

Olaniyonu called for a probe of Adikwu’s death.

But the police appeared to have ruled out a probe of the death, saying that the the 30 year-old suspect slumped and died in detention.

“There is a post-mortem examination result in respect of the death of Michael Adikwu”, police spokesman, Jimoh Moshood said.

In any case, he went further, Adikwu’s death did not exculpate the Senate President, who was allegedly indicted by the five suspects now on trial in Ilorin, Kwara State.

Adikwu was a dismissed policeman, who in the course of interrogation admitted killing 22 persons, including pregnant women and nine policemen, police claimed. He was also the man who led the police to the other suspects and the recovery of 22 AK 47 Rifles carted away from the police.

“The law must take its course”, the police said, as they insisted that the arraigned suspects will provide enough testimony to prosecute the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

The Police also dismissed political motive in the case they have against Saraki and explained why they were determined to prosecute Saraki for the crime committed.

“It should be of serious concern to all, that human life is sacrosanct and where investigation has been concluded and suspects arraigned in Court, judicial process must be exhausted and not hindered for the law to take its course in ensuring justice for the families of more than 33 innocent persons including pregnant women that were gruesomely murdered in cold blood”.

Here is the edited version of the police statement:

“The attention of the Nigeria Police Force has been drawn to the innuendo in the media on the death of a sectional gang leader Michael Adikwu ‘M’ 30Yrs, a dismissed policeman and an ex- convict, who confessed to have killed Twenty Two (22) persons including pregnant women and Nine Police personnel and carted away of 22 AK 47 Rifles at the Offa Police Divisional Headquarters during Offa Bank Robbery on the 5th April, 2018. It is therefore imperative that the Nigeria Police Force respond to the publication and set the record straight.

“The Nigeria Police Force is conversant and mindful of contempt of Court in commenting on cases already before the Court of competent jurisdiction.

“However, the Force is constrained and compelled to respond to the statement from Mr. Yusuf Olaniyonu, Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and not on the Court processes and proceedings on the case of Offa Bank Robbery for which Five principal suspects are now standing trial in a State High court in Ilorin, Kwara State.

The police insisted that the five suspects now in court—Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery and the gruesome killing of 33 innocent persons, indicted the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.

“The Five suspects admitted in their confessional statements to the Police investigators that they were political thugs of the Senate President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Sen. Bukola Saraki and the Executive Governor of Kwara State, Alh. Abdulfatah Ahmed.

“The Five (5) gang leaders further confessed during investigation that they are political thugs under the name Youth Liberation Movement a.k.a “Good Boys” they also admitted and confessed to have been sponsored with firearms, money and operational vehicles, such as a Lexus RX 300 Jeep with Reg. KWARA, KWA 143 RM with inscription SARAKI on a sticker attached to the vehicle and Mercedes Benz Compressor Reg. LAGOS, LT 496 KJA.

“These two Vehicles were used for the Offa Bank Robbery by the five gang Leaders. The first vehicle was later registered after the Offa Bank Robbery to divert attention while the suspects were in detention.

“These confessions were made before the media and the public on the 3rd of June, 2018. It is therefore, evidently clear that the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki has case to answer in the whole matter.

“It was also discovered during investigations that three gang leaders who participated actively in the Offa Bank Robbery, Viz: Ayoade Akinnibosun aka AY, Ibukunle Ogunleye aka Arrow and Adeola Abraham followed the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki to Olofa’s Palace when the Senate President paid a condolence visit to Offa after the bank robbery.

“Further investigation into the matter revealed that all the Five gang leaders namely; Ayoade Akinnibosun, Ibukunle Ogunleye, Adeola Abraham, Salawudeen Azeez, Niyi Ogundiran have direct connection to the Senate President, Sen. Bukola Saraki as a picture of one of the five gang leaders when paraded by the Police was in ‘Aso Ebi’ (trouser) used during the Senate President daughter’s wedding.

“The Five gang leaders further admitted that they attended the Senate President daughter’s wedding held in Abuja.

“Consequent on all the above, a thorough and discreet investigation was concluded by the Police into the matter and all the five gang leaders arrested for direct involvement and active participation in the Offa Bank Robbery that indicted and implicated Senator Bukola Saraki, Senate President in the Offa Bank Robbery are alive and now in Court”.

Credit: NAN