THE more I examine the current travails of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, who is not on talking terms with President Muhammadu Buhari, the more befuddled I get. It is a war of attrition between two presidents, yet nothing is presidential about it. And nothing, for me, best symbolises the complexities of the period we are in than that. Many inexplicable things are happening and no one is really sure how we are going to end. The new men in power seem to be more interested in what they can get out of their electoral victory than giving us a collective direction. As I write this, there is no clear cut economic policy for which we can all rally round.
All we have is the aura of a man who is instilling the much needed fear but what happens when we learn not to fear him anymore? How long can you even frighten a people into line? And isn’t fear and hunger such a bad chemistry in the annals of nations? I met a diehard of the new order the other day and asked him his thought on the state of the nation. He just smiled in a sad way and shook his head. Like many aficionados of the current re- gime, he was also a bit lost at sea. Gone is the gung ho, cocksure posture he used to affect. In fact, I thought I saw a hint of regret in his eyes. So, where are we really going? Whatta gwan, to intone Ras Kimono?
But let’s zoom in on Bukky’s (Saraki’s moniker among his pals) headaches. In the beginning, we were told President Muhammadu Buhari had no candidate in the build up to the emergence of a senate president.
Everyone hailed that because we were used to a time when a president tinkered with the process and got for himself senate presidents he wanted. He then proceeded to change them at will thereby robbing that institution of growth.
President Olusegun Obasanjo had four senate presidents in a space of eight years and they all battled with him. The story changed under the late Yar’Adua when General David Mark (retd.) emerged and enjoyed a stability that is almost legendary in the legislative arm. President Goodluck Jonathan also handled the relationship between himself and the senate president well, as the two managed to stay civil and, even if they fought, kept it away from the public. So, when it came out that Buhari wasn’t interested in who became the senate president, we all felt that the success story of David Mark was about repeating itself. That the president would allow the Senate President work as he wished and thus further strengthen the in- stitution.
So, when Saraki eventually emerged seemingly without executive interference, there was rekindled hope that change indeed had come. Saraki was not anyone’s candidate in a sense but was going to work for everyone. There were even talks that his emergence might be best for business as far as President Buhari was concerned, considering that he (Saraki) is a counter force to the rapacious Bola Tinubu’s hold on the All Progressives Congress (APC). In fact, in my naiveté, I thought the president would be happy with Saraki for helping him checkmate the tide of Tinubu. This was even as the House of Representatives also did its own coup against Tinubu by preferring Hon. Yakubu Dogara to Asiwaju’s candidate. I was torn between two emotions then. First, a part of me genuinely felt bad for Tinubu who had fought with his very life to ensure the new dispensation emerged. I felt he didn’t deserve the shabby treatment he was getting at the hands of the biggest beneficiaries of his hard work. But a cynical part of me also said, “serves him right”. I agreed with those who said Tinubu had reached the end of his ambitious road and that he was now a victim of his manipulations. Back then, voices of opposition, especially from the South West rolled out drums to say “but we told you so”. We all thought Tinubu was going to fizzle out. He had no control of the National Assembly, as he had hoped and thus no visible means to power. We were wrong.
Tinubu, after a while, bounced back in a fash- ion only an eighteenth century Jagaban can pull off. Using his war chest of money and media pow- er, Tinubu ensured that Saraki never had a good sleep. Predictably, the media power machine of Tinubu started firing in all directions. The Senate President himself didn’t help matters. He didn’t follow in the footsteps of Dogara when it came to the politics of principal officers.
By refusing to accept the nominees from the party, Saraki inadvertently gained more enemies. Dogara, on the other hand, subjected himself to party authority and accepted the party’s nominees of house officers. He has been enjoying some peace ever since. On his part, Saraki might have been afraid that if he accepted the party’s list, he would be opening himself to all sorts of troubles. Maybe too, he wanted to please the PDP senators, who helped him to emerge. Either way, things were bound to get rough for Saraki.
But beyond this, only God probably knows what Tinubu did to the president (I mean Buhari) to turn him against Saraki to the point of not speaking with him. Because from all indications, Saraki wasn’t going to antagonise the president in any way. In fact, he was prepared to do his biddings from what a source quipped to me. But today, Bu- hari has made his choice between the two men: He prefers the Asiwaju even if the latter may not be better than Saraki in the corruption department. Buhari too has proven that he is not an ingrate af- ter all. That when it came to knowing the fingers that fed him, he is not under any illusion of political correctness: War on corruption, change mantra or transparency issues. Nothing would come be- tween him and his love for Tinubu.
As for the son of the famed Oloye of Kwara poltics, his admirers may have to continue praying.
Currently, he has public sympathy on his side but in a county I know too well, that counts for nothing. It would soon fizzle out. He also has the senate behind him but for a tribe I know too well, how long can they hold on? In time, and when all sorts of sanctions begin to bite, the senators may dump Saraki to “make progress”. As for me, be- cause I love to side with folks persecuted by big men, my vote is still for the good doctor.
So, sir, however this turns out, you can still take a bow. Cheers.
Culled from: http://sunnewsonline.com/new/apc-president-versus-president/