Nigeria Matters

Saraki and the Hollow Senate

Saraki took to Facebook recently to lament that a clique may have hijacked the government of Muhammadu Buhari. Hear him: “What has become clear is that there is now a government within the government of President Buhari that has seized the apparatus of executive powers to pursue a nefarious agenda.” Really? That would be quite interesting if it were true because Saraki does know a thing or two about hijacking. Wasn’t it only yesterday that he constituted himself into the arrowhead of the old PDP’s G-5 Governors that tried to re-hijack Goodluck Jonathan’s government from the strangleholds of Super Ministers Alison-Maduekwe and Okonjo-Iweala, failing which he led some of them to form the now-defunct nPDP? Wasn’t that action the arterial puncture in the heart of PDP that led directly to the cratering of the party and ultimately the defeat of Jonathan?

bukolasarakiHmmm…I wonder how Jonathan feels right now. I can see him lounging on the bank of the Thames with a cigar in one hand and a bottle of Ogogoro in the other, laughing his head off at the travails of his archenemy. Karma…Nemesis…Retributive Justice…whatever you want to call it, has indeed caught up with the strongman of Kwara politics. Speaking of Kwara, wasn’t Saraki the same man who, upon jumping the listing ship of PDP, joined APC and hijacked (yes…hijacked) the party from Abubakar Belgore? His political ruthlessness did not start there though. Before then, he had hijacked Kwara PDP from his own father, Olusola Saraki, sending his old man and benefactor out of the party and, some say, prematurely to his grave. So, who is Saraki to now cry about some people hijacking Buhari?

He goes on: “I will remain true and committed to the responsibilities that my citizenship and my office impose on me. Without doubt, the highest of those responsibilities is the steadfast refusal to surrender to the subversion of our democracy and the desecration of the Senate. This is a cross I am prepared to carry. If yielding to the nefarious agenda of a few individuals who are bent in (sic) undermining our democracy and destabilizing the Federal government to satisfy their selfish interests is the alternative to losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open and I shall be a happy guest.”

Hahahaha…Pure Defense Mechanism of Projection at work here. You project unto others your own exact feelings and thoughts and make yourself their victim! If you aspire to be the nation’s chief lawmaker and you set about to achieve that goal by breaking the law, have you not subverted democracy? If you preside over such an august, supposedly hallowed chamber like the Senate after using mago-mago to attain the privilege, are you not desecrating that institution? Of course you have to bear your own cross. All those jobless and shameless Senators licking your shoes all the way to the tribunal will not do jail time with you…unless they have cases to answer themselves. And yes, the doors of Kirikiri, Kuje and other prisons are wide open for you.

In this Saraki saga, it is astonishing to note that the Senate’s Ethics Committee did not take the initiative to invite Saraki for questioning concerning the alleged false declaration of assets case. The accusations are over a year old now and it still has not invited him. Rather, what Nigerians have seen are Senators sheepishly falling in line behind him. Most of them do not have the courage to comment publicly about the case, let alone chastise Saraki about the ethical lapse the allegations portend. The moment the first accusation first came up…the one about false asset declaration…the Ethics Committee should have held a public hearing and invited Saraki to clear his name there. If, after investigation the Senate exonerates Saraki, it could have probably hinged its decision on Section 60 of the 1999 Constitution as amended, which vests in each Chamber the power to regulate its own procedures. At the very minimum, Nigerians could have given kudos to the Senate for trying. In other parts of the world where integrity – especially that of the Number 3 citizen – is taken seriously, Saraki himself would have stepped down as Senate President until the Ethics Committee finished its investigation. And if he failed to step down, members of his own party would have been on him like white on rice, chastising him for bringing the Senate to disrepute.

But rather than stand up to Saraki by standing up for Nigeria and its people, many of his fellow Senators dogmatically believe that their fate is intertwined with that of Saraki; that whenever the judiciary attempts to reinforce the rule of law by curbing Saraki’s impunity, somehow, that equates to an overreach by the executive into the affairs of the legislature. And they must resist that by threatening to withdraw whatever modicum of cooperation they have with the executive branch, or worse – impeachment. In short, they want to perform oversight functions on the executive but they do not want the judiciary to perform oversight functions on them.

What is wrong with our Senators? How come they can’t see what the rest of us see? How come they can’t feel what the rest of us feel? Where is the outrage that a decent human being should feel if his leader displays such levels of ethical and moral laxity? How does a Senator…a whole Senator elected by thousands, if not millions of people, sacrifice his responsibilities to his constituents at the debased altar of a morally bankrupt fellow Senator? And by the way, where do my own Senators stand on this Saraki issue? Senators Soji Akanbi – Oyo South; Monsurat Sunmonu – Oyo Central and Fatai Buhari – Oyo North, can you lead the way by saying publicly that you are ashamed that Saraki is President of your Senate? Can you be bold enough to move the motion for his impeachment?

Now, I have heard some otherwise sane people argue that because Saraki “mobilized” funds to the tune of N4 billion-plus for the victory of APC in general and that of Buhari in particular, this government and the APC should stop “fighting” him. These are otherwise smart and sane people rationalizing recklessly vaulting ambitions o! Lai-Lai! If you’ve never seen Stockholm Syndrome at work, that’s exactly what it is. When you start having sympathy for your abductor and you start “understanding” why he is keeping you as a hostage, you have fallen in love with the bad guy.

Is Saraki angry that the clique is preventing him from hijacking the presidency? Is he truly angry that the clique is putting him through the courts’ grinder? He shouldn’t be. Shebi he knows how to use (or rather, abuse) the judicial system? Hen! Let him start filing those trademark ridiculous motions, counter-motions, interlocutory and perpetual injunctions of his aimed at stalling his forgery case as he has been doing with his asset declaration case. The prosecutors and judges have nothing but time. They are not going anywhere. They will expend time over his cases like you spend other people’s money. And these cases do not yet include the flat-out corruption case that the EFCC is yet to file. O Lord, this is a very rotten Senate. And it starts with its head. Saraki’s lawyers are really going to be very busy because I do not see the Police or the EFCC taking their feet off his throat. Two morals of the lesson: no matter how rich you are, you cannot be more powerful than the State; and when a chicken lands on a rope, his sojourn there will be brief and uncomfortable.

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