Saminu Turaki, former governor of
As governor of
At the expiration of his second term, Turaki was one of the former governors hauled before the Federal High Court by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) for alleged money laundering. Arraigned before Justice Binta Nyako on a charge of laundering over N30b, he did the unthinkable: he burst into tears. It was a novel kite. While many wondered how a man of Turaki’s status could take recourse to such infantile display, others pointed out that it was Turaki’s way of underscoring the axiom in the popular TV serial: The Rich Also Cry. Lest the sentimental outburst assumes the place of a robust defence, critics with a sardonic sense of humour argued that the tears were not real but were of the variety better known as crocodile tears.
Undaunted, the clever politician continued the display of his brilliant talent for comedy by claiming that a third of the money that he was alleged to have dry-cleaned was actually used to fund the infamous third term agenda of former president Olusegun Obasanjo! For a man who was elected on the platform of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP), a rival party to Obasanjo’s Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), it was the height of inventiveness. With the transfer of Justice Nyako and the recent re-arraignment of Senator Turaki before Justice Adamu Bello, he may yet be gearing up to open a new compartment in his box of incredible kites.
Now, as a member of the National Assembly Joint Committee on Constitution Review, Senator Turaki has hoisted another kite to add to his rising profile as a master of slapstick: he has made a highly bizarre call for tenure extension to enable the administration of President Yar’Adua complete its development programmes. By the proposal, legislative fiat would be used to secure for Yar’Adua two terms of 14 years to terminate in 2021. The ‘Turaki Tenure Extension Act’ would take retroactive effect from May 29, 2007.
But Senator Turaki swore to protect the constitution. What is he doing now? Is he flying another kite? Was he inadvertently exposing a plot to ensure that the new constitutional review initiative is still-birthed? Is he planning to use the Yar’Adua tenure extension project to prop up his status as a tenure extension guru? Or is he taking liberties with his constitutional right to freedom of speech?
No one should be deceived by Senator Turaki’s gambit. Not even the president should welcome such a Greek Gift. Whatever may have fired his fertile imagination,