Last week, the dented Senate President, Bukola Saraki, flew a kite, and it was a dangerous kite in every sense of it. If we were in a military government, Saraki and his hirelings would have been rounded up and subjected to sundry trial for that kite. But we are in a democracy with its expansive tolerance of the many antics of the Sarakis and their cohorts, so he is a free man. This is not about ambition. This is not about a dream. It is not about a quest. It is a plot. It is an intrigue. It is a deliberately floated kite that has all the seriousness a cold-blooded schemer like Saraki can muster. It is not a joke. It is not pun. It is as serious as it comes and must be seen by the Buhari government as it is.
At the plenary of Saraki’s senate, which has been retching up tremendous notoriety for its antithetical challenge to the country’s quest to steer clear of the messy and sordid past, his two sidekicks, Kabiru Marafa and Enyinaya Abaribe, set sail that kite. They floated the idea of having Saraki as Acting President just because Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, who has been holding forth for a convalescing President Buhari, just stepped out to attend an African Union function in Addis Ababa. The duo, lapdogs to Saraki and his co-poetasters, went on the floor of the senate to demand that Saraki be made the Acting President since the Acting President was away. It was like canvassing for two Acting Presidents; one home and the other away and you can discern that it is all the scheming Saraki needed to execute a successful coup!
The constitution is clear on conditions that may precipitate the senate president being made Acting President, and this never covers the dangerous and cold plot by Saraki and his hatchets. As unserious as the duo sounded, they were dead serious. Of course Saraki’s senate has excelled as the theater of the unserious where flippancy and massaging of stunted ego have taken front seat. The two masking senators have a mission for their master. They are on a cold-blooded adventure to actualize the burning desire of Saraki for raw and undiluted power. They served notice that Saraki is determined to manipulate and plot his way to power. It is as real as it is scary.
Do we think Saraki longs to answer Acting President for just the one or two days Acting President Osinbajo stayed in Addis Ababa? Do we think that Saraki’s handmaidens, in desiring that their principal be made Acting President, would be content on a one-day flash in power? Even if the intent was for Saraki to sit as Acting President for one day, have we imagined the incalculable damage he and his cohorts will inflict on the country in just few hours at the helm? What do we think would be the fate of the country’s treasury under Saraki’s corrosive control for just a few hours? It is certain that in just one hour of acting as President, Saraki would have pulled down all the barriers against corruption which this government had been erecting with zealous commitment; to the chagrin of Saraki and co. It is certain that with Saraki as Acting President for just one hour, all the people and institutions that have been giving Saraki and his corrupt gang so many problems in this dispensation, would all be yanked off. With Saraki as Acting President for one hour, there would be so much irreversible harm done to governance in this country such that the country will not recover from that blitzkrieg. One hour of Saraki as Acting President of Nigeria will exert an earthquake the country will never heal from.
But most importantly, an Acting President Saraki would ensure that Osinbajo will never return to power, In fact, so many speculations have been made to Saraki’s Acting Presidential quest. It was meant as an access point to a plot to corner the presidency. It is being alleged that Saraki would have gotten his senate, tucked firmly in his dirty vice grip, to remove Osinbajo in a jiffy and proceed to declare President Buhari unfit to continue in office and pronto, Saraki would not be Acting President but President of Nigeria. Call it speculation and that would prove you read badly of a Saraki that is permanently slithering like a supercilious snake, craving for more powers to covet. Why do you think the Acting Presidency project was launched during the same session where the senate was seething with unbridled anger and some of its despicable ilk canvassing the impeachment of the Acting President, Osinbajo for not acceding to some of the self-serving desires of Saraki and his senate, including the refusal to sack the EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu? You may think Saraki’s plot is an intricate web that may throw up more troubles than it can fathom but that is a distant story so long as it has to do with Saraki and his consuming ambition.
We have read that Saraki, in a meeting with Acting President, Yemi Osinbanjo, feigned he was caught unawares by that insidious plot but trust Saraki and you will trust anything. When it has to do with power, you have every reason to treat Saraki’s pretension that he knew nothing of what his hirelings did on the floor of the senate with undisguised contempt. Saraki is so enthralled with the plot, the scheme and strategy to acquire more power. Even as he had converted power to a tool of unbridled stealing of state resources, he sees the symbiotic connection between looting public funds with the quest to corner and domesticate more power. Both work in symmetry with the other.
There is nothing wrong with nursing or pursuing an ambition. There is nothing illegal in desiring to achieve any political office. There is nothing wrong in scheming for greater political spaces. The problem arises when the quest for unbridled power so possesses one that he considers nothing too mean and no tactics too dirty to achieve such ambition as is the case with Saraki. You may be tempted to think Saraki is within his limits in plotting and coldly procuring his way to power but the vintage Saraki does not play by the rules. That was why he deigned no scruples conspiring with PDP senators to steal the Senate Presidency with a mere fraction of elected senators, excluding senators of his confessed party, the APC. In achieving whatever he wants, Saraki believes so much in the power and allure of corruption such that he has employed these to stay politically afloat despite his hefty malfeasances. That is why he rides comfortably on the corrupt cravings of the senators to vanquish the entire senate into becoming one of his many storm troopers. That is why he has so wrung the senate that it has become so entrapped in opposing, distracting and impeding the executive just because their hefty corrupt cravings are not met as it used to be. Saraki has comfortably converted the senate to an opposition bloc against the Buhari government and this senate, under Saraki’s malevolent grip, has excelled only in anti-people’s commitment and constituting bulwarks to the government and its desires to break from the sordid practices and corrupt acts of the past.
The consummate Saraki is a fellow that deigns himself as the smartest person God ever created. He believes he will always have his way in whatever he wants. Saraki is imbued with a certain entitlement mentality and he believes he is well equipped to manipulate the Nigerian political process to achieve whatever end he wants. The way he slyly and mischievously landed the senate presidency despite the stand of his party, even to the point of trading the Deputy Senate presidency to the opposition party must have blown his head. The way he has corruptly manipulated the system to escape his just comeuppance for his many transgressions that bother on corrupt enrichment must have flattered him to aim higher. The way he brought the senate under this armpit and so emasculated it that the present senate can commit suicide because Saraki wishes so, must have bloated his ego so much that he is trying his hands on securing more pies. Which pie is higher than annexing the presidency as an apogee of a life of steady scheming and using same to further the ends of his suzerain ambition?
As I said earlier, the Saraki Acting Presidency kite is not a fluke. It is real. It has blood running on its pores. It was carefully procured by Saraki, and not by any other person else. It has all his mischievous imprimaturs littered all over it. The two acolytes that floated it are malleable pawns on Saraki’s chessboard. They were specifically chiseled for the role they played in launching that devious kite and that was what they did. The entire senate, given its acquiescence to Saraki’s wiles and perfidies, should be counted as extended pawns in Saraki’s playing board. It behooves Nigerians and more importantly, the Buhari government to appreciate the real danger of Saraki’s devious plot to the present government. It behooves the government to wake up from its lethargy and take up the Saraki nuisance or else gets swept away by the gathering tempest provoked by Saraki’s ambition. Knowing his readiness and eager desire to embrace illicit tactics to achieve his ends, the Buhari presidency will regret not decoding the present challenge Saraki and his bogey men launched in the senate last week and taking effective actions to decisively take up that fight to Saraki’s backyard by any means necessary.
Let us imagine that Saraki had a gun he is licensed to wield; will he spare anything in shooting his way to power if he can do that? Let us appreciate that one day in power for a sly and crooked fellow like Saraki means so much to him and his lickspittle. The aim of this dangerous plot is not to answer Acting President for one day but to corner the Presidency through whatever means possible. It was meant as a coup with which Saraki wants to characteristically upstage the system and achieve his ultimate political plot. The way he robbed the Senate Presidency should warn the government that Saraki is dangerous and when a pathologically corrupt man like Saraki corners power even for one hour, nothing would be spared to ensure he remains perpetually hooked to power. Let the Buhari government see the portent danger in Saraki’s plots and do whatever it can to undo the Saraki menace before it crumbles this government and this democracy.
Peter Claver Oparah writes from Ikeja, Lagos.