The ongoing trial of Senate President and former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki, is a cause for concern to many people, not only among his colleagues and his supporters in the upper chambers of the National Assembly, but to many other Nigerians who see the trial as a major distraction. It is not as if one wants to make a case for the senate president; the issue is whether such distraction is what Nigerians need at this time.
The country is bogged down by many challenges- harsh economic climate which has made life extremely difficult for the common man, unending queue for fuel at filling stations, blackout across the country. These are issues bothering many Nigerians instead of how many number of houses the Senate President has and how many did he declare to the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), ascertaining the amount of money in his bank account while Nigerians wallow in abject poverty. These, to many Nigerians, are distractions which they can do without now. The situation is not also helped by the fact that most people believe that the trial is laced with vendetta.
It is an open secret that the All Progressives Congress (APC) leadership has not forgiven Saraki over the way he emerged as Senate President as against the party’s anointed candidate. And for several months after his emergence as Senate President, the senators could not settle to do the job they were voted to do. The pro and anti-Saraki elements in the upper chamber ensured that peace eluded the National Assembly until a truce of sort was arrived at.
But from what is happening today, it’s like the leadership of the party was only bidding its time for an auspicious time to move against the Senate President they do not approve. Yes, Saraki is facing trial, but as people will always say, this is the voice of Esau, but the hand of Jacob.
I would not want to discuss in details the various allegations against the senate president in order not to be accused of contempt of court. The senate president has been accused of crimes committed when he was the governor of Kwara state which was between 2003-2011.
Five years after, the CCB/CCT is now waking up to its responsibility. It is quite obvious that the trial of Saraki is any other thing than the need to remove him as senate president for exercising his right to contest for that position contrary to what some Godfathers wanted. But before I go into that, there is also a need for a clean sweep of the leadership of the CCB. This is because the bureau has not been alive to its responsibility. It is obvious that, it would only agree to probe or prosecute an individual only when that individual is not in the good books of the powers-that-be. As it is the case now.
In June, last year when Saraki emerged as Senate president and Yakubu Dogara as Speaker, I wrote a piece on the matter and the avowed intention of the elders in APC to get him out by all means. Let me quote part of the article here : “Since the emergence of the duo, there had been a lot of hullabaloo from the ruling party. I do not need to tell the story here again. The important thing is that the APC is still blowing hot air over the matter.
Still reeling from the shock, it said the election was unacceptable to it and described it as, ‘the highest level of indiscipline and treachery’, because the two National Assembly leaders were not the candidate of the party for the position. ‘APC decried a situation in which some people, based on nothing but inordinate ambition and lack of discipline and loyalty, will enter into an unholy alliance with the very same people whom the party and indeed the entire country worked hard to replace and sell out the hard won victory of the party.
There can be no higher level of treachery, disloyalty and insincerity within any party,’was how the party puts it, adding that it would resolve the matter using all constitutional and legal means available to it”.
It is obvious from the above that Saraki, who emerged with support from the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) lawmakers, has not been forgiven. I am not saying any person, no matter how highly placed and who puts his hand in the till should be allowed to go scot-free, I am just concerned with the timing of this trial which goes to show that APC leadership has not forgiven Saraki and he must go by all means in order for the party’s anointed candidate to emerge.
This scenario is a recipe for disaster. If this were to play out, then we can be sure that peace would have flown out of the red chamber. It would bring us back to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s administration when Senate President’ s were being changed as often as a woman changed wrapper.
The implication is that the senate would not be too settled to make any meaningful progress and this would have its impact on the country. In this situation, it is always the common man that gets the short end of the stick. Nigerians do not deserve that again.