There are no morals in politics; there is only expedience. A scoundrel may be of use to us just because he is a scoundrel” – Vladimir Lenin
Tuesday’s drama at the residence of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, reminds one of similar incident on June 8, 1998 when the late dictator General Sani Abacha died. As the chief security officer (CSO) confirmed Abacha’s death he did not tell the guards, but started calling some top persons into the Villa.
As they arrived the guards interrogated and screened them believing they were trying to protect the Commander-in- Chief unknown to them that they were guarding his corpse. On Tuesday, Nigeria Police blocked Saraki’s house believing they had quarantined him and were interrogating his visitors one after the other, even his decoy convoy was prevented from moving until they heard like every other person that the man they were guarding, waiting to arrest was already presiding over at the National Assembly and they left shamelessly.
Twice in a spate of three years, Saraki has shown that he is a senior boy in the game of politics in the country. He has shown that he was properly groomed for all the inherent challenges in this business. On June 9, 2015 barely one week after the coming into office by All Progressives Congress (APC), the entire federal system alongside the ruling party were mobilized to stop Saraki emerging the Senate President notwithstanding that the position was zoned to his geo-political area, the North Central. But the plan failed flatly as he outsmarted them.
Then, inexperience was identified for the naivety exhibited that made Saraki had his way. Exactly 37 months after, on July 24, 2018, a similar scenario provided itself and the Ilorin born politician still had his way. Certainly somebody is superior here. If the Supreme Court of Nigeria had on July 5, 2018 found Senate President Saraki guilty and convicted him, last Thursday’s meeting and subsequent romancing to make him stay in the party, surely would not have taken place. President Muhammadu Buhari and his election tacticians obviously had desired that the court ruling go the other way. Saraki has democracy to thank more than anything else. It is democracy that created three arms of government – Executive, Legislature and Judiciary. The creation of the three arms was intended to check the excesses of each other.
Imagine what would have happened to Saraki since June 9, 2015 that he ‘stole’ the leadership of the Senate, if the executive were to have unrestrained powers. The Monday, July 24th bravado at his residence and that of his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, would have been a teaser.
What I always find disgusting about politicians is that they can shamelessly leak their vomit and behave as if nothing went wrong. When the ruling APC began at inception fighting critical stakeholders that constitute their union and who contributed significantly in making the project a success, political watchers thought they had other plans on their sleeve. But as it is turning out now, they were just driven by arrogance and poor understanding of what accountability in politics means in electoral system.
The frantic efforts being made by the party leadership lately to keep its disgruntled members, particularly the Senate President clearly shows that all the bluffs, arrogance and grandstanding were not backed by any reasonable political strategy. When President Buhari joined forces with the Lagos strong man, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu to act as tormentor-in-chief on Senator Saraki, it was obvious that the harmony in the APC political family was not destined to endure.
Saraki was not a junior partner in the APC project, even on his personal recognition. Then you add the platform he took to the negotiating table in August 2013 – the new Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP), comprising five state governors and a Speaker of the House of Representatives among others. With his experience and pedigree in the game of politics, Saraki saw from inception that scheming was on to create a bloc of senior and junior partners in the project.
Being an old hand in the game of politics he did not think his team should be a junior partner and he showed it when he outplayed them in the leadership of the National Assembly. On June 9, 2015 Saraki had got the better of them in the first test of the union when he won as Senate President against their calculations.
Some of the gladiators in the project, did not feel Saraki should have his way and they began a design to stop him by the persecution that lasted three years and whose end objective was to remove and humiliate him. Perhaps it is the inability of the defeated gladiators to bow to superior politics and accept Saraki and his group as the leaders of the National Assembly that brought APC to this quandary.
Rather than let bygone be bygone and move on since they are all from the same political family, they insisted on cutting their pound of flesh off Saraki for being ambitious. Even when the nPDP resurrected threatening and alleging marginalization, President Buhari refused to meet with them declaring them a factional group.
When the group metamorphosed from nPDP to Reformed APC after aligning with other disgruntled like minds from outside their own fold, with Buhari’s main associate, Buba Galadima as the arrowhead, the party still remained pigheaded. The new National Chairman Adams Oshiohmole when the media drew his attention to the Galadima rebellious group he dismissed them and said he cannot lose sleep on political lightweights like that. But truth remains that Oshiohmole has not only lost sleep since then but lost his wake as well as his presence could not halt further damage to the party.
Senator Saraki would have exhibited a poor political indiscretion if he had fallen to the carrot at this time. The so-called juicy package being lavishly offered to him now is even curious especially when it’s being packaged by the same people that wanted to end his political career by sending him to prison. And when that was not fast in coming they came up with the Offa robbery theory.
Perhaps nothing mirrors the desperation of President Buhari to retain power at all cost in 2019 than this obvious swallowing of pride and sudden show of deference to Saraki. Indeed, politics is a leveller. Lest we forget, in 2014, Saraki led a group of political heavyweights to help President Buhari realize his long sought ambition. Soon after he got it and Saraki decided to pursue his own, he was labelled an enemy ever since.
How comfortable would somebody be trying to do another business with such group in whatever form. If he could do that when he knew he would need you for a second term, only God can predict what would become of you when he wins and may not need you for anything. It is also laughable that even Oshiohmole who appears to be at the forefront of the socalled juicy package for Saraki and others is known to all, how he emerged through the political blessing of Tinubu who had a no love lost relationship with Oshiohmole’s kinsman and predecessor John Odigie- Oyegun.
As it now shows, Buhari, Oshiohmole and their co-travellers arrived late in the market. The product was long purchased by their competitors, no thanks to Prince Uche Secondus who since December 2017, had embarked on a rebranding mission to produce a new PDP ready and willing to regain lost power in 2019.
Time waits for no one, is a legendary saying that aptly applies in politics as it is in other human endeavours. When APC was grandstanding and bluffing, it forgot that their foundation was originally laid on a political quicksand that easily yields to pressure.
Nigeria democracy would be best served in this APC/PDP photo finish for 2019 race, and in that type of situation nobody would be taken for granted. As APC and Buhari can confess already PDP is certainly not an underdog in this journey. If only Buhari had not taken some critical players for granted, he would have been more arrogant with power but today, he is short of begging and clearly humbled. That is what obtains when the people who take final decision on issues are taken for granted. When power is mismanaged, you create a phenomenon in somebody. God help our democracy.
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