SENATE PRESIDENCY, BUKOLA SARAKI AND APC
The race for who becomes Nigeria's number 3 citizen i.e. President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in an APC-dominated upper chamber beginning from May 29, 2015 is already in top gear if the news report in the media is to be believed. By the conventional zoning arrangement which puts the Nigerian presidency and the vice-presidency under an APC-led Federal government to the North West and South West respectively, it would appear that the North Central may produce the President of the Nigerian Senate post May 29, 2015. No big deal. The big deal though is who among the APC senators from the North Central geopolitical zone will preside over the affairs of the Nigerian Senate after the exit of PDP's David Mark. Barring any change, and based on information in the media, Senator Bukola Saraki may be the Senate president in the next dispensation. Some have argued that based on the role Bukola Saraki played in delivering Kwara State to APC and GMB, he deserves to become the Senate President.
This, argument, to me is sound. It is true that Senator Saraki delivered Kwara to GMB and APC. Indeed, it is an undeniable fact that Kwara State is the private estate of the Saraki's. And this being so, and considering that politics is a game of number where interest is the key determinant, we cannot and must not pretend not to understand the import of the 'eni to ba se ni idi pepe a je ni idi pepe' i.e. people must be allowed to harvest the fruit of their labor. I have no problems with this reasoning at all. I am in agreement with this reasoming absolutely. However, I would rather we begin to look beyond political patronage in promoting and supporting candidates for key and strategic positions in this new dispensation moving forward. I do not think we need to forget so quickly that Bukola Saraki is one of the PDP renegades who decamped from the demonic party that Nigerians accused and condemned for bringing Nigeria to her knees through what PDP did since 1999.This same Saraki, Nigerians need to be reminded, has been mentioned in some fraudulent deals details of which Nigerians are fully aware of.
And I very much doubt if Bukola Saraki has fully absolved himself of all the allegations leveled against him. As a matter of fact,I will not be surprised if Bukola Saraki has a pending case with EFCC. This is not to talk of the Société Générale Bank scandal that Bukola Saraki was linked to. Somebody may ask: What is the relevance of all these? Great question, I would say. The relevance of all these is that we need to begin to look at the antecedent of individuals we promote and support for public positions beyond political patronage especially under a government led by a party that warmed itself into the heart of Nigerians with the slogan of change and whose flag bearer's main selling point are transparency, accountability and zero tolerance for corruption. It is in this respect that I would rather Nigerians, especially the social media political activist scrutinize Bukola Saraki beyond his effort in delivering Kwara State to APC and GMB. Nigerians can do this if they commit themselves to this standard. Did Nigerians not cause PDP to kiss the dust after 16 years of arrogance and impunity? They did? Did Nigerians on FB, through the effort initiated by Bamidele Ademola-Olateju not force Bola Shagaya, the first class influence peddler and Nigerian first ladies predator, to retrace her step on her planned party through which she was to initiate a process of caging Mrs Aisha Buhari? They did. Can Nigerians not raise the banner of scrutinizing all political office holders beginning from now? Nigerians, sure can. This is what this opinion piece is all about. Not just about the ambition of Bukola Saraki.
While it is true that GMB must work with his APC's troop, APC must raise the bar for those it pushes forward for public office beginning from now if it wants to be taken serious as a party set to dump the business as usual approach to politics and governance. And Nigerians must hold APC to this standard.
Nigerians are not unaware of David Mark's surreptitious attempt to decamp to APC as a strategic manoeuver to retain senate presidency, once again. What does this tell us about PDP and APC? This clearly demonstrates that there is no difference between PDP and APC as I have always maintained. This is not a campaign against Saraki. Rather, this is a passionate appeal to Nigerians to raise the banner of transparency and anti-corruption by bringing all issues into the fore when issues on potential public office holders is in public domain.
Written by Adebayo Adeneye-Adejuwon.