2019: Saraki’s Entrance changes the equation, Unnerves Other Aspirants

The political machinery has been unleashed by the Bukola Saraki secret vanguard following his clearance of the Senate president by the Supreme Court on charges of money laundering, asset declaration and others. This has finally established him as a master dribbler who will always pull surprises when it is least expected. It is believed that he was already aware of what the judgement will be, and he immediately started to prepare the groundwork for it. First, a Lawyer and human rights activist, Kanmi Ajibola, and Sulaiman Adeniyi had approached an Osun Federal High court to ask for the court to compel the National Assembly to begin Buhari impeachment, a plea the court acquiesced to and the presiding judge, Justice Oyetenu, ruled that “that the National Assembly being the 1st, 2nd and 3rd respondents commence the impeachment of President Muhammadu Buhari”. While the ripples are yet to settle, the Supreme court ruled that Saraki has no case to answer in the controversial code Of Conduct Tribunal trials, thereby removing the last obstacle that may have been hindering his launching of his ambition. Simultaneously, the All Progressives Congress, APC, got split right down in the middle, forming a new group that called itself the reformed APC, or r-APC. This cleared the last huddle the proposed decampees of APC, the group that previously decamped from PDP in the wake of the 2015 presidential election that produced the swing vote that brought president Buhari to power. They are generally referred to as the nPDP. Constitutionally, they cannot decamp unless there is a split within the party that they are decamping from.

But the impeachment may not hold. It has been alleged in some quarters that Saraki has been a major obstacle in the impeachment move based on two reasons. One: Saraki was one of those who bankrolled the election campaign of Buhari, and may not deem it fit to fight what he installed. But the humiliation her has passed through under the regime was enough to change his mind, but unconfirmed reports indicate that his woes came from the APC National leader, Bola Tinubu, who has not forgiven him the coup that brought him into the Senate Presidency against his own candidate. Another issue is the possibility of a coup if the impeachment holds, since the security apparatus is fully occupied by Buhari loyalists who, apart from a few, are known to be Fulani irredentists.

Bukola has kept sealed lips over his presidential ambition. Though it has been speculated, he gave no indication that he is interested. Rather, he has given the impression he will prefer to come back to the Senate. In fact, in his meeting with Atiku Abubakar in Saudi Arabia, he agreed with Abubakar that he does not have any particular candidate in mind, that any one that clinches the nomination will have his backing-whether it is Rabiu Kwankwaso, Atiku or any other person. But no sooner had the Supreme Court judgement came than he indicated interest in the presidency. This took others by surprise, but he appeared unperturbed. He immediately went on consultation spree, which took him to the strong man of Rivers, Nyesom Wike. He was in Rivers State where he commissioned some projects and had a closed door meeting with Governor Wike.

His closeness to former senate president David Mark, who is also said to be nursing presidential ambition, appears to be a contradiction in terms. He may be a new toast of the South west due to his dual ethnicity-he is both Yoruba and Fulani-and may clinch the ticket due to political brinkmanship and deep pocket. He has reached out to Obasanjo and others gladiators who are seeking alliance with PDP.

Besides, he appears to be the arrowhead of the splintering of APC, which may result in the PDP being the majority in the Senate and House of representatives. This magazine was told that the whole movement out of APC of both the r-APC and nPDP will be completed by the end of July. Then the impeachment threat will be used as a whip to force a resignation of the presidency, with both Buhari and Osinbajo stepping aside. This will make it imperative that Saraki will take over and hand over to a new president in three months. This is because it will be difficult for the Fulani irredentists to allow Osinbajo to take over power without an attempted takeover of the military.

But Military takeovers don’t usually happen that easy. The three musketeers-Ibrahim Babangida, Theophilus Danjuma, and Olusegun Obasanjo-allegedly are told in advance and have to give their approval. So it may not be easy for Buhari, a stubborn General, to easily throw in the Towel. This may then bring out a second option of Saraki going the whole hog as a presidential candidate.

But sources indicate that the presidency will unleash the attack dogs to harass the decamping members. The clampdown is already being prepared by the presidential position that the decamping rAPC are the herdsmen. But the sheer volume of decampees may overwhelm the agencies. With Saraki and the main actors currently in the United States to finalize issues and seek the support of the US congress, it may be suicidal for the government to go into persecution drive of the opposition. Already the British House of Lords have done an about face and catalogues all killings by the Buhari administration implying he is complicit. CNN anchor person, Christiana Amampour, has also echoed the same thing. And the inroads that former president Obasanjo is making in the coalition to oust Buhari cannot be ignored.

With these, it appeared that Buhari second coming has been dealt a death blow, which he will not survive. As a top PDP politician told this Magazine this week, “Buhari should know we have been in this game of politics long before he joined. By the time we finish with him, he will not know what hit him”. This appears to be the general consensus among political opponents.

Time shall tell as Nigerians wait.

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