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AFTER MEETING WITH BUHARI: Saraki weighs options!

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Kingseyi
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AFTER MEETING WITH BUHARI: Saraki weighs options!

Post by Kingseyi on Sun Jul 22, 2018 6:02 am

Those who would give up essential liberty, to
purchase a little temporary safety, deserve
neither liberty, nor safety – Benjamin Franklin,
US Founding Father.
Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki, is
presently facing a two-way pressure on his
political future as the Presidency and his
loyalists and supporters are tugging him with a
view to swaying him in their directions.
And as Benjamin Franklin stated, Saraki,
perhaps, is torn between giving up essential
principle with a view to purchasing little
temporary safety.
But if contemporary political history of Nigeria is
anything to go by, he may find himself
deserving neither liberty nor safety.
That is the dilemma that confronts Saraki today
and it is made worse by the sudden interest
being shown by the Presidency to make him
stay back in the ruling All Progressives
Congress (APC).
Sunday Vanguard has discovered that whereas
President Muhammadu Buhari, once indifferent
to the threat posed by Saraki and his supporters
on account of a possible defection from APC,
has mandated the leadership of the party, as
well as some prominent politicians with
sympathy for the party, to prevail on the senator
to remain.
Simultaneously, friends and supporters of the
Senate President, including but not limited to
some state governors of APC extraction,
senators across party lines, House of
Representatives members across party lines, as
well as some prominent politicians and
associates are also piling their pressure.
PRESIDENT BUHARI LEADS THE CHARGE
In fact, last Thursday’s parley between Saraki,
four governors elected on the platform of the
APC and Buhari needed to hold in the light of
the suggestion that a mass exodus is set to hit
the ruling party this week.
At that meeting, details of which remain sketchy,
Sunday Vanguard has been made to understand
that certain offers were made to Saraki.
Although the offers are said not to be out of the
ordinary, Aso Rock insiders said that “the
meeting between the President and the Senate
President is just one of the necessary moves to
further strengthen and stabilise the party.”
But the only thing they shared in common at
the meeting was the desire for political survival
and relevance.
It would be recalled that similar meetings had
been held between Saraki and other cadre of
leadership of the APC, one of which was first,
with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, and later
with the new National Chairman, Adams
Oshiomhole.
Regarded as a deft move from the Presidency,
there are doubts if the overtures came with
sincerity of purpose capable of altering any
calculation in favour of the President and his
party.
At the moment, many observers suspect it could
lead to the presentation of a poisoned chalice to
the Senate President, who is the beautiful bride
in the unfolding scenario.Part of Oshiomhole’s
brief today is that mass defection would not
happen under his watch, therefore, he is also
deploying his negotiation skills as a unionist to
hold down some aggrieved members of the
party.
But a possible success story beckons in Benue
State, where Governor Samuel Ortom is being
assured of total participation in the activities of
the APC in the wake of the seizure of the party
machinery in the state from him, and his
declaration that he has “been given a red card”.
PRESSURE ON SARAKI
Believed to be the arrowhead of the impending
mass movement out of the APC, Saraki, who
had been at the receiving end of executive/
legislature brinkmanship, is being pressured into
leaving by his associates because of the
plethora of attacks he was subjected to in the
party and from the executive arm.
Irrespective of the Senate President’s famed
reputation as a deft politician, the unfolding
permutation is unpredictable, just as it comes
with both tantalising and possibly bitter
consequences.
Either he likes it or not, a difficult choice has to
be made between two alternatives. This is where
the quality of being politically clairvoyant
matters most.
Apart from the capability of defining the 2019
conversation, the end result could as well upend
many factors for or against Saraki himself.
Sunday Vanguard found such a situation a
peculiar dilemma given that a number of
principles had informed Saraki’s disagreement
with the executive.
The values at the centre of the dispute that have
characterised his relationship with the executive
include separation of powers, inclusiveness and
need for constant engagement of all
stakeholders.
Till date, Sunday Vanguard can state that they
still define the interface between the legislative
arm and the executive in a way that
continuously fail to produce the synergy needed
to stimulate governance.
As far as many are concerned, because of these
principles, the executive designed and
effectuated measures to humiliate him, destroy
his reputation and political career, expose him to
public ridicule, and even deny him of his dues
as the number three citizen. Yet, he stood
unshaken and unfazed.
Although, there was never a time when it was
established that Buhari personally directed the
attacks on Saraki, there are strong indications
that he was either indifferent and, therefore, did
not move to stop them until now – the eve of
re-election.
Meanwhile, the Senate President garnered
sympathy and some supporters who have stood
by him. In fact, the way some of the executive-
orchestrated plots against Saraki were often
executed, easily attracted sympathy for him
across the country – although there were some
who still believed and, therefore, insisted that
there was nothing out of the ordinary or that it
served him right.
Interestingly, the same Presidency, believed to
be responsible for the many trials he had
endured, is wooing him.
The likes of Senator Nayako, Speaker Yakubu
Dogara, Barnabas Gemade, Sen. Danjuma Goje
, Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi, Sen. Rabiu Musa
Kwakwanso, Sen. Adamu Ailero and Governor
Aminu Tambuwal appear set to dump the APC in
collaboration with Saraki.
However, the tug from both the Presidency and
associates is what has placed Saraki in a near-
Cahtch22 situation.
THE DILEMMA
Would Saraki yield to the request of resisting the
pressure to quit APC?
This question is fundamental as it summarises
the feelings trailing his last meeting with
Buhari.
Multiple sources told Sunday Vanguard that a
lot of incentives had been mapped out for the
Senate President whose likely defection could
lead a critical mass of members out of the APC.
One of the spurs is a pledge of picking the legal
cost incurred while his trial at the Code of
Conduct Tribunal, CCT, lasted.
It will be recalled that Saraki had, in 2016, hired
a 66-lawyer defence team led by Kanu Agabi,
SAN. At some point, he was represented by
over 100 lawyers.
There are also talks of promises that he will
automatically get the Senate Presidency back.
In addition is the promise that nobody will try
to tamper with his dominance of Kwara State
politics.
In this kind of political environment where
survival comes above any other consideration,
the incentives are fabulously tempting.
Now, should he accept?
The decision is his to make, but before doing
that, responses are needed to these questions:
What has changed?
Has the executive now changed from the one
seen to have contempt for the legislature and
seeking to emasculate the judiciary?
Is it no longer being seen as not playing
inclusive politics?
Has the perception of being antagonistic towards
the leadership of the National Assembly
changed?
Aso Rock sources said, yesterday, that just as
Saraki’s will is being tested, “those who say the
President is merely playing politics to get re-
elected fail to understand that the only thing that
stands for Mr. President is his integrity”, saying:
“He would do as he is promising”.
Truly, only responses to these germane
questions can justify any eventual acceptance of
the carrot being dangled.
However, Saraki’s supporters in Kwara State,
NASS and across the country, who seem to be
fed up with the APC, are not in sync with the
development.
To them, it is just a move that seeks to promote
the interest of a party that had largely opposed
Saraki since 2015.
As far as they are concerned, remaining in APC
at the behest of Buhari could end up becoming
counterproductive for the Senate President.
Therefore, any last-minute change of mind to
stay in the APC would only amount to a political
harakiri.
It would also mean that Saraki has ditched many
who stood by him through thick and thin. A
near-similar situation had played out in the
build-up to the 2003 presidential election, when
then Vice President Abubakar Atiku accepted not
to contest for the presidency because of former
President Olusegun Obasanjo’s ambition.
That decision, which left supporters like Chief
James Ibori and other governors in the lurch,
turned out to be a fatal one. And it still haunts
Atiku till date despite repeatedly saying that he
had no regrets.
In the light of this, the imperativeness of a
careful consideration of available options can’t
be overemphasised


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    Current date/time is Fri Aug 17, 2018 6:13 pm