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What vision do we have for Nigeria after the electoral victory of the Progressives March 28? Are we going to continue to preach the same old sermon, pray the same old prayers, and sing the same old songs as if that alone would be enough to translate our mandate into reality?

How can we sing “Glory Hallelujah” when our families are being broken and crushed by political, social, and economic forces so complex that most of us do not know what to do to resist them. How can we make rational what is irrational? How do you bring peace into utter chaos?

We’re left feeling overwhelmed, angry, and sad beyond words as our victory at the polls was being snatched by the crooks and clowns who in the first place brought Nigeria to this mess. That tension and challenge were on stark display the day Saraki with the help of spineless, fraud and flawed senators  vamoosed with our victory and Saraki declared himself Senate President. This is the paradox, the contradiction that make Saraki’s Senate Presidency illegal, an aberration, unacceptable.

Since the discovery of oil in Nigeria in 1956 in Oloibiri in the Niger Delta, the misery of the poor in our country has increased to massive proportions in the midst of plenty. Our nation is on the brink of collapse from multifarious self inflicted problems. It has been insanity unchecked and sheer madness.

Nigerians, make no mistake about it: no oppressed people has ever had its freedom given as a gift or financed by its oppressor. This is not about Jagaban Asiwaju Ahmed  Bola Tinubu. This is about Nigeria. We must reject and rebuke Saraki and his fellow felons who are bent  on turning our victory into vapor. We must take the risk and dare those who stand on our to reform and progress.

Few weeks from now, a curious drama will unfold when President Buhari’s ministerial nominees go for Senate confirmation hearing before the Saraki Senate. The Senate has the power, the right and indeed the duty to reject a nominee offered by the President. The power of the Senate to confirm ministers nominated by the President is an important element in a government based on the separation of powers.

The Senate confirmation hearings provide an opportunity for legislative scrutiny of executive actions and policy. The Senate has a duty to pass on a nominee’s character, ability, and general competence and to confirm only those nominees found to be qualified to assume the position for which they are nominated. There is a saying that a President is known by the appointments he makes.  Similarly, a Senate should be known by the appointments it prevents. Shouldn’t such important legislative oversight be handled by a corrupt free, rational, sane, law-abiding, respected, recognized, and sagacious Senate President?

If a President makes poor appointments and majority of the Senate confirms them, both the President and the Senators jointly share the constitutional responsibility for the quality of government Nigeria will have. Reliability and integrity are defining characteristics of successful leadership in the Senate.

The Senate of a country should pride itself on being one of the world’s greatest deliberative bodies. Even so, a Senate leader must be a moral power house, tried and tested, and first among equals. The atmosphere in the Senate has become more soured due to Saraki’s soiled  background and tarnished character. The already threadbare fabric of the Senate has been shredded into pieces by Saraki’s criminal history and his contempt for established democratic principles and rules.

Saraki bought the Senate Presidency. But he forgets that leadership cannot be bought with money. What we need in the Senate is exceptional leadership that will champion the cause and course  of March 28. When a leader operates, people will watch and listen. Competence is a key attribute of every leader. Followers ask four questions of every leader: Does the leader know where he is going? Do I want to go where the leader is going? Can the leader get me there? Do I trust this leader?

A leader who can answer “yes” to each of the four questions will enjoy peace, not panic; faith, not fear; and commitment, not compromise. Saraki’s answer to all the four questions  is a resounding “NO.”

Character is more than talk. Anyone can say he has integrity, but action is the real indicator of character. One’s character determines who you are and what you do. That’s why we can never separate a leader’s character from his actions. How a leader deals with the circumstances of life tells you many things about his character. The historical antecedents of Saraki and lately how he crowned himself Senate President reveals much about his character.

By now, Saraki needs no introduction. You’re all familiar with his Machiavellian political exploits. But his not too distant past bears repeating for emphasis on what’s at stake if he continues to lead the Senate. Here is a sample of Saraki’s character and action from his recent past:  According to Premium Times, “In an investigation that spanned many years and covered accounts held by the Senator and his companies in Zenith, GTB and Access Bank, police investigators say they found evidence of huge and consistent stealing of public funds by Mr. Saraki and his aides, especially when he served as governor of Kwara state.”

“The investigative report said in part, “The activities of Dr. Bukola Saraki, his Personal Assistant, Abdul Adama other personal staffs that helped him in laundering the monies in bits including the companies that helped transform the naira to foreign exchange thus making it possible for him in washing the cash overseas are in contravention of the provisions of the Money Laundering Act. They are recommended to be prosecuted for offenses relating to Money Laundering and for breaching the Forex (and Miscellaneous Provisions) Act, Section 12(1), Section 29(2) a and b, Section 39(3)(4) Section 3 Monitoring 0(1)(a), (2)(b).”

“The Nigerian authorities have however failed to charge the Senator to court. In fact, rather than do this, former Attorney General and Minister of Justice, Mohammed Adoke, wrote to the Inspector General directing him to stop further investigation of Mr. Saraki. Based on this directive, a Federal High Court, in May, ordered the police to stop further “harassment” of the Senator,” reports Premium Times. According to The Punch of May 16, 2015, Saraki is allegedly receiving N100 million monthly as an illegal pension from the current government of Kwara State.

Nigerians, ask Saraki your Senate President the following questions: Where is your moral character? Moral courage? Moral virtue? Moral wisdom? Moral perception? Moral sensitivity? Moral imagination? Moral integrity?, and ethical competence?

From Saraki’s criminal background and moral lapses, he’s the least qualified for the Senate Presidency. Given his character and action, Saraki is very ill equipped to carry out the democratic revolutionary reforms we voted for. We need to focus on his culpability for crimes committed. This is necessary for our desire for accountability, restitution, rehabilitation, and even revenge. The interplay of Saraki’s political ebb of his criminal life and flow of possible permanent damage he could do to our future and his other sinister motives would drive legislation that runs counter to our national interest.

How can a felon screens non-felons for cabinet positions? How can a criminal with inundating and compelling dossier records of crimes head the confirmation hearings over non-criminals? How can a thief screens the President cabinet? To make Saraki accountable, to make him pay restitution, to rehabilitate him, and for us to revenge on his past crimes, we must deny him both the Presidency of the Senate and the opportunity to preside over the confirmation hearings. We must remove anti-progressive elements like Saraki from the political leadership of the Senate and the House.

In the words of  Frantz Fanon the author of the classic work “Wretched of the Earth”, I’m calling on all progressives in Nigeria “Come, then, comrades; it would be well to decide at once to change our ways. We must shake off the heavy darkness in which we were plunged, and leave it behind. The new day which is already at hand must find us firm, prudent and resolute.”

Nigerians, for once let’s get this right: Let’s purge Saraki the political eunuch from the Senate Presidency and let’s deny him the opportunity to vet the President’s cabinet nominees.

Written by Bayo Oluwasanmi.
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