No doubt, the most talked about politician in Nigeria today, is Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, two-term governor of Kwara State, two-term chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF), and current President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Saraki took Nigeria by storm. He rode on the back of his father, Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, former Senate leader in the Second Republic, and for long, godfather of Kwara State politics, to become Governor of Kwara State in 2003 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Having completed the constitutionally allowed eight years tenure as Governor, Saraki headed to the Senat while ensuring that he anointed his preferred candidate as his successor as Governor of Kwara State. Towards the end of his four years sojourn in the Senate, Saraki left PDP and moved over to the newly formed All Progressives Congress (APC), and on that platform contested for the Senate in 2015. Again, he won that election.
As Senator-elect, Saraki indicated interest to vie for the position of President of the Senate. His party, the APC, did not however fancy it. They would have none of it. The party had already penciled down another person for that position.
Saraki was undaunted. He began to manoeuvre and to push ahead his intention and later reached an accord with the PDP elected Senators. Thus, while majority of elected APC lawmakers were holed up at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, trying to sort out their differences with President Muhammadu Buhari, Saraki moved fast and got as many as 57 Senators to elect him unopposed as Senate President. The Senators also voted Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP, Deputy Senate President.
The APC was dazed. They were confused. In their folly, they began to threaten fire and brimstone. They asked Saraki and Ekweremadu to relinquish their positions since it was their duty to decide who should be Senate President and his deputy. But the two men ignored them. They were not perturbed. They told the party that it was the right of the legislators to choose their leadership, and not the responsibility of any outside body.
Not yet satisfied, the government decided to drag Saraki to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), on allegation that he lied while declaring his assets four years earlier when he was governor of Kwara State. For three years, the case raged, going through all the courts in the land, but ending with Saraki’s acquittal at the Supreme Court.
In the mean time, Saraki was linked to an armed robbery operation that took place at a bank in Offa, Kwara State, where 32 people were killed, and the police had to summon him to say what he knew about the incident. All these were aimed at incriminating Saraki, to force him to give up the Senate Presidency. But he refused to be intimidated. He continued to trudge on.
When later it became clear that Saraki was on his way out of the APC and was dancing towards his former party, the PDP, and that he would likely drag some other Senators along with him, the police, in an early morning operation, laid seige on his official residence and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, to prevent them from presiding over the affairs of the Senate so that they could be impeached.
Saraki however outsmarted them and drove himself in a rickety vehicle to the Senate Chambers, where he presided over its affairs, read out names of APC Senators that defected, and then announced a two-month adjournment of the Senate.
When Nigerians rose in condemnation of that primitive and barbaric act, the police high command, as a face saving device, denied any knowledge of the seige and claimed that they did not authorize it. At a stage, they even tried to suggest that it was Saraki that organized the whole show. Till date, the police has not come out to tell Nigerians who actually ordered the seige or reveal the face of those who took part in the operation.
Before then, security agencies at the National Assembly had looked the other way while some hoodlums invaded the Senate plenary in broad day light, and carried away its mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature. It was suggest that the aim was to unseat the Senate President.
When, at last, Saraki announced his exit from the APC and joined the PDP, hell was let loose. All sorts words were used against him. Both the Presidency and the APC leadership declared him an enemy and proclaimed war against him. They said that Saraki must relinquish the seat of Senate President because it belonged to them. But they forgot how Saraki emerged as Senate President, that it was the Senators that elected him, and not the APC that gave him the seat.
As the war of words raged, on Tuesday, August 7, 2018, masked operatives of the Department of State Security (DSS) laid seige on the National Assembly, ostensibly to prevent PDP Senators access to the legislature while APC Senators would be given a free reign for them to impeach the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. The plot was however foiled by the early arrival of PDP lawmakers who squared up against the DSS operatives.
This attracted both national and international condemnations. They described the seige on the legislature as coup against democracy, and called on appropriate authorities to rise to the challenge, fish out all those responsible for the seige, and punish them accordingly.
Now, because the coup has failed, the Director General, Department of State Security (DSS), Alhaji Lawal Daura, was made a scapegoat. Acting President, Yemi Osibanjo, promptly announced his sacking, claiming that Daura acted without authorization. He was subsequently put under house arrest while being investigated.
Even his soulmate, the Inspector General of Police, Alhaji Ibrahim Idris, also deserted him. He was put at the head of the team currently investigating Daura. They now tell us the many sins that Daura had committed. All these while nobody knew about these sins. This justifies the popular aphorism that failure is an orphan.
Curiously, because the APC government does not want to own up to that rape on democracy, they have started to insinuate that it was Saraki that sponsored the seige on the National Assembly, since Daura was working for him.
For us, the allegation is not only puerile, but silly. This is not the first time we are hearing such insinuation. They made it when the police laid seige on the residences of Saraki and Ekweremadu, to prevent them from attending to their lawful duties at the Senate. Saraki has thus become a phenomenon – Atakata Agbua.
If indeed Saraki from faraway Kwara State could succeed in getting Lawal Daura from Katsina State, President Buhari’s town, to ignore his brother and start listening to him; and if Saraki, the Senate President, could succeed in making the DSS boss, Lawal Daura, to disregard his Commander-in-chief, President Muhammadu Buhari, and start taking orders from him, then Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki must be a very powerful person. If that be the case, then there is nothing else those who are currently hunting Saraki could do than to begin to differ to him.