Statesmen are normally above petty squabbles. They are too serious-minded to be so disposed. Were it the other way round, chances that Nigeria’s political
temperature would, by now, have risen beyond imagination. And this would have been due to the roforofo fight between the presidency and senate president, Abubakar Bukola Saraki [pictured above]. This, probably, was the calculation of the senate president when he, alongside house speaker, Yakubu Dogara, defied his party, the All Progressives’ Congress, APC and the presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria!
But President Muhammadu Buhari and his deputy, Olayemi Osinbajo, have proved to be statesmen. It is enough for them to spend sleepless nights ruminating and working out strategies to turn things round. Of course, it’s okay for them, as patriots and statesmen, to preoccupy themselves with posterity and leave politicians to worry about prosperity.
The principal characters in the ongoing charade within the National Assembly and their fans without may disagree but, truth is, the plotting, back-stabbing and treachery with its dangerous ramifications for the ruling APC is all about 2019! It’s as straight-forward as that. Neither the senate president nor the house speaker pretends to be a national leader; none cuts the image of one. But, like the politicians they profess to be, both men are testing the waters against 2019. Problem is, in testing the waters, the nation’s third and fourth citizens are doing what no right-thinking person does: testing the depth of waters with both feet!
The APC carried ant-infested faggot home when, for political exigencies, the party opened its doors to some deviants of the now-opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, last year. If we need being reminded, the PDP was destroyed the day former House speaker and now Sokoto state governor, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and his deputy and failed Imo state PDP governorship candidate, Emeka Ihedioha, defied their party to usurp the leadership of the House of Representatives.
Let’s get this clear. But for the goodwill enjoyed by President Buhari and his deputy,
chances are that the APC would have been thrown into serious confusion since the defiance and
deviancy of Senator Saraki and Honourable Dogara. How long the party would remain stable is a
matter of conjecture; what is not a matter of conjecture is that it would amount to delusion to
expect Senator Saraki and Honourable Dogara to ever tow party line. Rather than wielding the
big stick, what the APC has done so far is to adopt a counterproductive policy of appeasement.
That is a minus for party supremacy!
Senator Bukola Saraki is an ambitious man. This is legitimate; what may not be is that he is damn too desperate. And when desperation meets blinding ambition, the obvious result is to constantly and consistently defy constituted authority. Do leopards change their spots? A man who defied and literally de-robed a doting father in the market-place would do worse things to anybody else’s father!
Some attribute Dr. Bukola Saraki’s desperation to what has been referred to as several cases of malfeasance linked to his name! This may be a popular view in the court of public opinion but it remains pedestrian until it is substantiated in a court of law. There are also those who believe the desperation is part of a personal but, valid ambition to push the frontiers of the Saraki dynasty. Meaning: in the event of the son attaining what eluded the father, the entire Saraki political family would be willing to overlook whatever political inconveniences the senate president caused his late father!
But, there is more to the conspiracy at the National Assembly. Ordinarily, and for the sake of political exigencies, the emergence of Senator Saraki and Honourable Dogara should have been supported by APC leaders to the extent that it balanced certain equations within the party. But while Senator Saraki and Honourable Dogara may consider their emergence as a fitting reward for the contribution of the ‘new PDP’ to the victory of the APC, many APC leaders believe it amounts to political suicide to hand the National Assembly to party members with dubious loyalty!
Senator Saraki is a very lucky man. He did not have to wait for his father to die but moved, knavishly, to hijack his father’s political structure even when his father, the late Wazirin Ilorin, was still politically active. In the political history of Nigeria, no politician has got the luck, or chance, to inherit the political structure put in place by their politically influential fathers. And this explains why, till date, politicians with surnames as Azikiwe, Ahmadu Bello, Awolowo, Aminu Kano, Akintola, Balarabe Musa are absent from the political stage.
The only one who came close to attaining the feat was Dr. (Mrs) Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, sister-in-law to Vice President Osinbajo! From the late 1980’s to the mid 1990’s, this hitherto politically active daughter of late Chief Obafemi Awolowo was a big voice in the defunct People Solidarity Party, PSP, a political association that fused into the defunct Social Democratic Party, SDP. Today, very few Nigerians remember Dr. (Mrs) Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu. It is to her credit, though, that until she faded from the political stage, very few children of notable political figures ever had the guts or showed the capacity of stepping into their father’s shoes. The Fourth Republic changed all that with the political ascendancy of the younger Sarakis.
Senator Bukola Saraki has shown his capability to throw very deadly punches, especially when cornered in a political ring. He did it; first in 2011 after opponents wrote what they claimed was his political obituary and repeated the feat early this year. He is now in firm control of the political direction of his native Kwara state. After helping to consign his former party, the PDP, into opposition, Senator Bukola Saraki now believes it is time to move on. Little wonder that his supporters see the presidency of the Senate as an icing on the cake.
It may be more than that. If the desperation to grab the senate presidency is anything to go by, the Senate president may be considering his present post as a step or two away from the real thing! How he gets there will depend on his ability to clear the air of distrust created by his political deviancy. For now, there appears to be no peace for the fowl that chose to perch on a rope!
Abdulrazaq Magaji is based in Abuja and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.