Saraki On Tiger’s Back Needs Help (ONE)

Police confirm Senate forgery.” published on July 26, 2015, by a national daily.

“There was a young lady of Riga/ who [jumped] with a smile on a tiger/ they returned from the ride/ with the lady inside/ and the smile on the face of the tiger.” Limerick. Anonymous.

Last month, about three weeks after Senator Saraki and Honourable Dogara caught everybody by surprise and pulled off the civilian equivalent of a political coup against the leadership of their party, I published an article titled SARAKI PROVOKES MOTHER OF MEDIA WARS.

Since then, nothing, not even President Buhari’s visit to the US, or the announcement about one million barrels of oil being stolen by officials had pushed the fall-outs of that step by dissidents within the All Progressive Congress, APC, off the front pages.

The announcement by the Nigeria Police “confirming” a forgery of the documents of the National Assembly, NASS, was, to me a foregone conclusion. It would have amounted to a miracle of the twenty-first century if the police found nothing.

The matter is now pushed to the two courts operating in any democratic society – the law courts which have the Supreme Court as its head and the court of public opinion. So, a monumental legal battle had been super-imposed on the media war.

Already, a new dimension had been added to a political conflict which would certainly consume more than those directly involved.

The integrity of the judicial branch of government will be tested to its limits. One certainly hopes this is not another case which will end with Justices declaring that “our hands are tied”. But, before we reach that point, a few observations are necessary.

One of the greatest tragedies in life occurs when someone actually gets what he wants only to be confronted with unpleasant and unforeseen consequences.

An old man, who hosted me, late Mr Amo, living in Melrose, Massachusetts, USA, in 1969, said, several times, “Be careful what you pray for, you might just get it and regret getting it.”

At the time, I thought the old man was suffering from what Shakespeare, 1564-1616, described “second childishness”. How on earth could a prayer answered become a source of remorse?

Forty-six years after, I now realize that one of the most profound ideas had landed on my laps free of charge. Never again will I pray for anything without at the same time pleading with God not to grant my wish if it would end in disaster.

Certainly, when Senator Bukola Saraki reached for the Senate President’s chair, he could not possibly have imagined that he would unleash a political war which would claim as one of its victims his loving and loved wife.

As she now chats with the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, which has now received a new lease on life, facing charges of money-laundering, for transactions completed years ago, Mrs Saraki must be wondering if the Senate Presidency is worth all the anguish she now experiences.

She must certainly be aware that most Nigerians, believing in jungle justice, and also hungry and angry, accept mere allegation as proof of guilt.

They are not waiting for any court to give verdict; they have declared the poor woman guilty. That is one of the early tragedies which had got the APC government off to a start which nobody expected when the alliance was being formed.

Senator Saraki is now hanging on the horns of a self-created dilemma. Irrespective of the decision he makes, to step down or to stay put, he will henceforth be regarded as a traitor by a large segment of the APC.

Yet, it is doubtful that he can return to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and be trusted – giving the fact that he was accused of decamping because his presidential ambition was impossible to realize with Jonathan in the saddle. Indeed, his return to the PDP might deepen his wife’s problems as well as his own.

Today, it is the wife who is being accused, almost six years after they left government house. What prevents the same EFCC from raking up charges against him?

As one former Governor in the Southwest told me confidentially, “Dele, there is nobody who ever held the offices of President, Governor or Minister against who a case cannot be made; because nobody is perfect.”

Meanwhile, those who mocked Asiwaju Bola Tinubu when the “palace coup” occurred, calling him a local champion, upstaged by more savvy politicians, might have been hasty in their observations. Saraki might turn out to have been rash rather than strategic.

It might become a very costly mistake in the end.  With regard to war, retired General Omar Bradley had in the early years of the Vietnam War described it as “the wrong war, in the wrong place, at the wrong time”.

He was shouted down when the Americans were winning; until they lost. Yankees forgot what Richard Neustadt, had written in POWER AND PRESDENTS, that “the only battle that counts is the last battle”. Saraki won the first battle. But, it would appear that the tide of conflict is changing rapidly against him.

The two options open to him are fraught with danger for his political survival. Whether he stays on or steps down, he will need help from outside the political parties – neither of them will be merciful in dealing with him. “A man cannot be too careful in the choice of his enemies” (Wilde, 1856-1900, VANGUARD BOOK OF QUOTATIONS) …


“The sky is falling.”

There is no objection here to President Buhari taking his time to make appointments. But, next years budget must be based on a benchmark of not more than $40 per barrel. The dire consequences for the Nigerian economy must be addressed immediately. Dynamic global economic variables don’t wait for any nation. They must be addressed speedily. (Vanguard)

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