Fellow Nigerians (at home and abroad),
Happy ‘Sallah’ in arrears! May the lessons of Ramadan which comprised selflessness, sacrifice, patience, modesty and tolerance abide with us all and guide us towards rebuilding our nation for the sake of posterity. The one month we, the Muslims, took out to fast and pray for ourselves and our nation must have rejuvenated us spiritually for the work to be done ahead. The spirit behind the season will bring us more blessings!
It gladdens the broken heart to write you this defensive epistle — one that is as pungent as it comes. I shall be less diplomatic in this missive given the current travails I have had to face since assuming office as your Senate President and the third in national hierarchy in our nascent democracy. I guess most of you know why and how I have been hounded around and humiliated for doing what I consider to be right in my reckoning. I cannot allow myself to be disgraced out of office on account of the alleged false declaration of my assets and now the so-called ‘falsification’ of the Senate standing rules for election into the senate high positions of authority. Both cases, now before the high courts, are politically motivated aimed at causing a regime change in the senate leadership. My friends and I in the senate of the federal republic would continue to resist this executive abuse of separation of powers by its determination to impose a stooge as the senate president.
Like the late June 12 hero, Bashorun MKO Abiola, had said in his famous Epetedo declaration of 1994: I have tried to climb the highest mountain, cross the deepest river and walk the longest mile in order to appease these executive hypocrites hell-bent on destroying me politically. There is no humiliation I have not endured in my efforts to be seen as a loyal party-man and a good Nigerian but I have been misunderstood and treated with utter disdain. The Buharian democracy under which millions of Nigerians groan and mourn seems to be transforming itself into a benevolent dictatorship, one in which the fundamental human rights of many Nigerians are being trampled upon with manifest impunity.
You have Sheikh El Zakzaky still languishing in solitary confinement. That is after losing hundreds of his followers when the Buratai army struck and went on a killing rampage in Zaria. You have got IPOB/MASSOB members in the south-east still counting their members shot dead by soldiers and police sent in to quell a peaceful celebration of the proclamation of the state of Biafra. But our brothers in the Niger Delta, the oil landlords, appear to have chosen the violent course by waging the armed campaign for some economic emancipation in a society fraught with injustice and marginalisation of the minorities. The ‘Avengers’ are determined to teach Nigeria a bitter lesson of a lifetime in an organized vengeance mission against the criminal neglect of the goose that lays the golden egg!
Yet our martial supreme leader does not help matters with his guerrilla language and irresponsible presidential gaffes. One expects nothing less from a good student of the Bismarckian propounded theory of “iron and blood” as the final solution to every problem. In all these gory events our former coup-plotter in power who assassinated democracy in 1993 only to be the beneficiary of same today still insists on maintaining the dysfunctional federal status quo. Nigeria as presently constituted federally must be restructured to give each region a sense of belonging or disintegration cannot be avoided for a long time. The rigid retired General maintains a posture of a statesman more patriotic and less corrupt than all of us! But we are all patriots and uprightness depends from which prism one views it.
At the risk of sounding immodest I dare say I was a self-made billionaire even before rising to national prominence as two-term Governor of Kwara State and now the number three citizen. As an elected Senator other senators (including my defender-in-chief, Dino Melaye) appreciated my leadership prowess by collectively electing me as the Senate President of the 8th Senate. Since I assumed the post I have, to the best of my patriotic ability, discharged the function with utter constitutional responsibility and democratic high standards expected of me. Together we have decided to move our nation forward despite occasional distractions and outright sabotage from notable quarters. But we pledge to be resolute in our determination to fight this democratic fight without lethal weapons but with intelligence and democratic beauty of duty.
My accusers (nay traducers) had alleged that I was receiving salaries as Governor of Kwara state even when I was no longer exercising the function as Chief Executive of the state. Well, my successor, Governor Ahmed is still there in the government house in Ilorin to testify for or against these bare-faced lies being peddled. It is ludicrous to ever imagine that an elected state governor would agree to be paying his predecessor monthly wages when he is no longer calling the shots. Even when the out-gone governor was his benefactor or ‘godfather’ such arrangement could not have worked given the circumstances of our egocentric politics. I never received a dime from the incumbent governor of Kwara state as emolument ever since I left the state for higher duties here in Abuja. What Ahmed does sometimes during ‘Sallah’ celebrations was to make available cash, cows and other materials for distribution to our supporters in the state.
Now they are saying I had made a false declaration of my assets in anticipation of incorporating whatever illicit benefit I would get from public office but the truth is that I am very comfortable in life. Allah has been kind to me and my family. I was not born into a poor family; my late father, Oloye, was a Senate majority leader and a successful businessman who made fortune in his prime. He brought SGB (Sociéte Generale Banque) to Nigeria from France and used same towards the economic development of our nation. So in a sense I cannot claim to have gone to school shoeless (as our former PDP President had confessed) or slept in darkness due to power cuts. Nor would I say I read my books or did my homework with candles or lanterns in the night! I made money before Nigeria discovered me politically or otherwise.
They say the Panama Papers mentioned my name as having a property offshore as if owning a property outside one’s native country is a crime! Those papers equally mentioned the names of many serving and retired politicians and businessmen around the globe including the present PM of Great Britain, David Cameron and the President of Argentina, Macri yet they are still exercising their state functions. I acquired that property many years before answering the national call of duty. The COAS was recently reported to have owned landed properties in Dubai with his wives but since he belongs to the favoured few he has been exonerated. If that does not amount to double standards then our aging C-in-C must accept what the obdurate critics are saying about him — about his ethnic jingoism, Igbophobic nihilism and pre-modern despotism.
The controversial but courageous Governor of Ekiti State had alleged that the First Lady was the same Aisha Buhari mentioned in the Halliburton report in America yet no detailed investigation has been commissioned to probe such weighty charge. Rather, what we have seen and heard from official quarters have been denials and intimidations. The First Lady herself had risen up in her own defense by calling Fayose an “unchained mad dog” whom she was ready to face at 41 against her septuagenarian husband-President! The Herod himself has remained mute allowing his many attack dogs to issue statements that never convinced anyone on the contrary. Even a passport was reportedly forged and posted online named “Mohammed Aisha Buhari” to give credence to the existence of another Aisha from America (or another planet altogether!) Pray, when did a woman’s first name become Mohammed for Allah’s sake?
The present APC government has said we are waging war against corruption but we see the war being hijacked by powers within the power-that-be in Aso Rock witch-hunting their opponents and persecuting whoever holds a different view from theirs. That is not how best to engage in any fight against corruption. APC remains my political party but I must bring to the attention of all the ‘Asiwaju syndrome’ within the party which must be fought and defeated if the ‘change’ we promised our people must see the light of day. Bola Tinubu, the former Lagos state Governor and so-called national leader of the party is fighting his perceived enemies with the party structure. The anti-graft campaign has been bastardized and reduced to a vendetta exercise involving the meretricious. The revered Lagos-based chieftain has had corruption-related issues to deal with in the past. The controversial documentary, “The Lion of Bourdillon”, aired by both NTA and AIT cable stations before and during the last presidential contest of lastr year showed to the world the true face of Tinubu. But today Asiwaju struts around imperially as a crusader of good governance!
As the intrepid Ekiti hitman has said time and time again even our popular modern-day Pinochet cannot claim in good conscience to be a paragon. Pray, was it not the same lanky man from Daura who once said glibly to our collective bewilderment that the late Gen. Sani Abacha never stole a kobo from Nigeria? Today however after close to two decades of his demise we are still being regaled or entertained with the “Abacha loot” –repatriated or still hanging offshore. Hypocrisy can be a virtue to some people you know.
Our friend, the lion of Bourdillon, is the de-facto second in command and not the Vice President Osinbajo who is just there as the ceremonial VP. Tinubu has worked his way to the very top as another General Idiagbon in the second coming of General Buhari. He wields so much power that no decision is ever taken at the very top without consulting him or having his say. But we refuse to bow to this man! Yes, we refuse to bow and tremble before Asiwaju even though we hold him in high esteem as a political heavyweight. We are all politicians and we owe allegiance to the oath of office we took as representatives of the Nigerian people at the upper legislative chamber to enact good laws and provide checks and balances for the overall good of our democracy.
Here in Nigeria almost every politician is deemed to be corrupt one way or the other. We no longer have a Rev. Father Moses Adasu (former theological Governor of Benue State) among our generation. Nor a certain Gen. Yakubu Gowon who ignorantly told a flabbergasted nation and the world at large during his time as Head of state that Nigeria had excess money but the problem was how to spend same! Corruption, I must admit here, has almost destroyed our national institutions and arrested our societal evolution. Today with the decline in crude oil revenues coupled with the avenging actions of the militants in the creeks we are looking for money to finance our budget and maintain our unproductive lifestyles.
Beloved compatriots, I shall defiantly continue to provide the legislative leadership for which I was elected. Resignation is out of the question! Comparing my case to that of the resigned former House Speaker, Salisu Buhari, is tantamount to comparing oranges with apples. Mallam Buhari had lied under oath thereby committing perjury but I never did such a thing. Again he had claimed to have attended and obtained a degree from the Toronto University in Canada whereas my academic credentials are beyond reproach.
I do hope this missile of a missive has hit its intended targets. With the determination of a punch-drunk pugilist, the lion heart of an embattled warlord I, Bukola Saraki, offer no apology for pulling the trigger, for detonating the ‘bomb’. No apologies whatsoever. Thank you for your attention and time.
IMAGE: Colin Knowles via Flick