“… Taxpayers funds are being wasted on trying to remove a perceived political ‘non-conformist’ like Saraki by hook or by crook – without adherence to the book (i.e. the Nigerian Constitution).” – Bashir Akanbi
Over the past few days, the Nigerian polity has been heated up by media reports about the moves of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), to arrest the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, for failure to show up for his arraignment on charges that emanate from his 2003 asset declaration form. Although the news reports have trickled in from every news agency in the country, there is an inside story that nobody is talking about. This is that inside story.
It is very unfortunate that politics in Nigeria's today can widely be described as an unholy game of personality defamation, political infighting and heavy media onslaughts on perceived political obstructers. This is the primary reason why many politicians have controlling interests in many Nigerian media houses.
For example, Bola Ahmed Tinubu owns The Nation newspaper. He also owns a controlling interest in The Punch, and has been rumored to be the primary funder of Omoyele Sowore’s Sahara TV station – a subsidiary of Sahara Reporters. Additionally, Tinubu is the owner of TV Continental (TVC). It is for this reason, that since Abubakar Bukola Saraki’s emergence as Senate President, and Tinubu’s vow not to recognize his emergence, that The Nation, The Punch, and Sahara Reporters have gone on coordinated onslaughts against the Senate President.
Over the past two months, Sahara Reporters and The Nation have gone as far as publishing a fake copy of Saraki’s passport in an effort to disparage him. The Nation has also been skewing the news to make their reader’s believe that there has been turmoil in the Upper Legislative Chambers. While The Punch, has served as a reinforce of The Nation’s news, publishing op-eds from virtual unknowns (perhaps writers writing under pseudonyms) that are aimed at tarnishing Saraki’s reputation amongst the populace. It goes without saying that the power of the media is the power over the masses.
Needless to say, this development is unhealthy for Nigeria’s democracy. Given the fact that the news can be skewed, twisted and colored as a politician wants, doesn’t this mean that the news that Nigerian have been receiving from Sahara Reporters, The Punch, and The Nation are not infact news, but “Tall Tales According to Bola Ahmed Tinubu.” It is a pity that these Tinubu-tales are now bestsellers, however, many Nigerians are beginning to wake up and realize that not all that you read or hear in many of these newspapers is the truth.
What is equally disturbing, and must be checked at once in the best interest of Nigeria’s democracy, and in order to ensure that certain individuals do not have undue influence over the matters of our national affairs is the fact that TVC, The Nation, The Punch, and Sahara Reporters have been shown to be collaborating with anti-Saraki forces in the government to bring him to public ridicule. For example, on Wednesday, the story that Saraki had a case to answer with the Code of Conduct Bureau broke first on Sahara Reporters on the evening of Tuesday, September 16th. Immediately, The Nation and Punch followed suit. This was in spite of the fact that by the next day, the individual that the case was about, Dr. Saraki, had not even been served with the court papers and processes. How did they find out a full 24 hours before the defendant was served? Surely, there must be some “snitches” in the on a vendetta mission that are colluding with these news organizations.
If the aforementioned point is not strong enough, then ask yourself: “How did Sahara Reporters get access to the charge sheet against Saraki when Saraki had not yet been served?”
Nigerians are not foolish. What is happening right now, is comparable to what the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) did to Aminu Tambuwal after his emergence as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, without his party’s support. What is happening now, is that the APC, Buhari, and Tinubu, are working overtime to attempt to remove Saraki at all costs. This is even more apparent when you look at the timing of everything. Buhari promised that his ministerial list would be out by September, however, the list is not yet out.
I spoke to a South Eastern Senator yesterday, who told me that Saraki’s current plight is rudimentary politics. He explained that Buhari is clearly trying to make Saraki either resign, or accept his nominees for Ministers without a proper vetting process. Nigerians have noticed that nominees like Babatunde Fowler, who was appointed to head the Federal Inland Revenue Service on Tinubu’s recommendation, has started work, despite needing to be confirmed by the Senate. At the end of the day, it is clear that the former dictator turned converted democrat, is trying to convert the principles of democracy to suit his unholy alliance with his friend from the South West.
Many Senators believe that if Saraki is removed, then it will turn the Upper Legislative Chambers upside down because Ahmed Lawan, the candidate favoured by both Tinubu and Buhari, is not even accepted by the Senators in his own zone, as Ali Ndume, the current Senate Majority Leader, beat him handily to emerge as the Number 3 Officer in the Senate. Additionally, if Saraki is forced out, with 49 PDP Senators, and 58 APC Senators, the APC clearly does not have the numbers that are needed to impeach the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu who is from the PDP. This could leave the Senate in the hands of the PDP.
Finally, as Buhari is a democratically elected President not a military-installed dictator, in as much as he wants to see ‘alleged looters’ punished, he has to follow due process. The prosecution of Saraki in the CCT is a huge joke because certain procedures were clearly not followed. When the whole legal case of the Federal Government crumbles based on non-adherence to Section 3 (subsection 2 and 3) of the Act that establishes both the Code of Conduct Bureau and the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Nigerians will see that the Federal Government is being rash and vindictive, as opposed to careful and calculating. Ultimately, taxpayers funds are being wasted on trying to remove a perceived political ‘non-conformist’ like Saraki by hook or by crook – without adherence to the book (i.e. the Nigerian Constitution).