I Didn’t Make Any Deal With PDP -Saraki

By Ugo Harris Ukandu
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Nigeria’s senate President, Bukola Saraki has denied making a secret deal with Deputy senate President, Ike Ekweremadu and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.

Speaking during an interview session Saraki said:
”Honestly, nobody in his wildest calculation ever thought that some senators would not be present on the day of inauguration. In my own view, most of those who worked closely with us would not be surprised about the outcome of the election because I worked hard. I had direct contact with every single senator. I was not relying on anybody. Even within our party, I worked hard and was in touch with everybody, seeing them, and talking to them. We began to build confidence. Also on the other side, the Peoples Democratic Party senators, I was talking to them.

”That was the reason I laughed when people said that I had a deal that led to the emergence of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President. I did not make any deal for Ekweremadu to win. I did not need a deal because as I said, I worked hard. Everybody who is a senator. So, I was canvassing and campaigning for their votes and some of you will remember the meeting we held at the Transcorp Hotel which the former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, co-chaired with Senator Ibrahim Gobir. If you heard most of them there, the position they took was that ‘this is the Senate President we want’. This was not on any party line. Those who came from PDP, their view were that ‘this is the Senate President we believe in and whom we believe can lead us.’

”So, when I heard people talking about a deal, it is strange to me. Our success was because one was able to convince a lot of our colleagues and they accepted that this is the person that was going to lead and as such, the outcome of the Senate President’s election was positive. But the fact is that we worked hard for it and also prayed about it. We campaigned and won the confidence of our colleagues even within the APC itself. I believed that the way the events turned out was some evidence of faith and destiny because sometimes, I sit down and still wonder how some of our colleagues found themselves in the International Conference Centre. I mean, if there had been a situation where the clerk announced that the event had been postponed, it would have been a different thing. I am sure if you ask some of my colleagues what actually happened, they will not find an answer to it other than that there must be a hand of fate and destiny in it”.

”What I am saying is that PDP senators had announced to the public that they were supporting me without my having a meeting with them. PDP as a party told the public at about 10 pm on June 8 that in their own meeting, majority of their senators had told the party that ‘this is who they were going to vote for and the party decided to agree with them.’ So, even in their own interest strategically, they decided that since 30 of their senators were going to vote for me anyway, the remaining had better joined and concurred. It was not until 2 am on June 9 that they called us to tell us that this was what they had decided and when they said that they had a candidate for the position of Deputy Senate President, we also told them that we had a candidate in the name of Senator Ali Ndume. It was our own calculation that after we would have finished the Senate President’s election, the two groups in APC would meet and agree on a candidate.

”We never in our own team thought the other group would not turn up for the inauguration. By the time we got there, we were 25 or thereabout and they were over 40 PDP members. So, there was no way they would not have defeated us and that was what happened. When people said it was a deal, I said to them that if the clerk had started the proceedings in the House of Representatives first before proceeding to the Senate, it is the House of Representatives, I am sure, that would have had a Deputy Speaker from PDP. It was the two hours the clerk of the National Assembly spent with us that gave the time to House members to return to the House and have enough number to prevent that kind of event.