Saraki And The Offer Of Hope
June 9th is a defining moment in the annals of the yet to be inaugurated 8th assembly of the upper house of legislation, as it sets to elect its principal officers to pilot its affairs. This election though restricted to Senators is expected to resonate with the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians for good governance thus the keen and mounting interest by the populace in who eventually becomes the number three citizen.
The speculations and sustained campaign by both the serious and not so serious contenders requires detailed analysis. There is a resurgence of hope following the displacement of deficit of trust in the land on May 29, 2015, following the change of government and this can only be sustained if a truly prepared (wo) man emerges as the Senate President. There is so much need to sustain the desire for hope, a renewal of hope and of all the names in the public domain, only one fits squarely with hope.
His name is Senator Bukola Saraki, a returning senator representing Kwara Central. Having elected to pursue a career in the public sector over a decade ago when he voluntarily relinquished his post as a presidential aide by vying for the post of Governor of Kwara State, the office he occupied for 8years and as chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum, he has never disappointed his retinue of admirers. He bore the burden of leadership with finesse, dignity and vision. Saraki fits the mould of pragmatic senator(s) of the new age: hardworking, politically savvy and instinctively collaborative on issues of national interest.
He came into the Senate brimming with ideas and with special strength spiced with brilliant analytical mind. For him, it is never about self nor glory but service for the commonwealth. His candidacy for the senate presidency is driven by a compassionate desire for the common good of all. An understanding that the Senate can be used as a vehicle for social change, an imperative whose time is now and following from our national narrative for change, it bears semblance in his readiness to lead such a critical arm of government at this particular time in our history.
Each generation requires a man who can inspire the next, which is his ultimate selling point. In a land where sustained leadership failure has left the people famished for good governance and inspirational leadership, saraki’s choice as Senate President offers the senate a fresh and compelling opportunity to re-invent itself as a key and worthy partner in Nigeria’s quest for renaissance under the newly elected President. The All Progressive Congress, (APC), is conscious of the damage which imposition of candidate can cause to the party and has rightly refrained from such conduct. Imposition is a cancer to deepening internal party democracy and the party has done the needful by saying it is disposed to the emergence of a senate president through a transparent process to enhance the stability of the institution.
He is comfortable with intellectual curiosity and fresh perspective, a condition upon which the senate cannot but discharge its responsibility effectively in rolling back the great depression and re-ordering of national priorities for good. He is campaigning on the premise that a national recovery act is needed. He has never campaign on doggy sentiments. He has elevated the national issues like no other since the campaign for the senate presidency began a little over three weeks ago.
His warmth, selflessness and vision of a more enhanced national assembly puts him poles apart others in contention for the post. He is serious. His core values, perception and philosophy resonate clearly with the passion for change. Some of the contenders hiding under primitive and anachronistic values to perpetuate the immediate past business-as-usual mode parliamentary order ought to know that with the ascendancy of the All Progressive Congress, change is here. Saraki, emergence will signify excitement, hope and prospects for reforms which many others cannot engineer out of fear of their immediate past entanglements. This he has demonstrated as far back as 2000, when he initiated the fiscal responsibility bill before he was elected as a law maker.
His courage is imitable. Despite the fact that Saraki was a first term senator in the 7th assembly, he could have allowed sentiments to trump courage. He in blowing the lid on the oil subsidy scam estimated that in the last six years, “over $32 billion (had been) wasted on it”.
According to him, the country loses “a total of $2billion to fake fuel subsidy operators”. The expectation of saraki comes from a deep and sincere conviction that it was about time in our national narrative to apply a healing balm to the hurting, the many which are vulnerable in our society.
Beyond the attacks that saraki is too ambitious, none has pointedly said, he does not have the requisite experience, administrative skills and acumen, or political clout and vision. The Senate faces a clear choice which it must make. A call to stir itself by moving in tandem with the aspirations of the Nigerian people, the senate has its best opportunity for a golden era under saraki’s leadership.
For some desiring the post, their claim is trivial and their desperation is alarming. This is time for an issue based campaign. As Senator Bukola Saraki continues to win the endorsement of both returning and newly elected senators, the synergy he has forged has made it possible to assert that he embodies the best hope of the moment. He maintains, “One of the things I have observed and in looking at all our areas of responsibility, it’s largely the fact that in our engagement with many Nigerians out there, they wonder, what do they do there? What happens in the National Assembly? There’s no connect between and the Nigerian people...I hope that the Eight Chamber, under our leadership, would begin to bring a closer relationship, a better connection between the Senate and the Nigerian People”. There is no stopping an idea whose time has come, it is time for saraki to steer the ship of the senate to a safe haven of distinction. He remains the best hope of all contenders for the post.
Spokesman, Yoruba Youth Assembly