Saraki, 2019 and the presidency
The name of the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki (ABS), is obviously the most trending in the nation’s political firmament in recent time. Although, Saraki has been a force to reckon with since being elected as Kwara State governor in 2003, he had gone ahead to become the chairman of the Nigerian Governors Forum due to his infectious love, reverence and popularity among all the 36 state governors at the time.
Saraki was later elected as a senator representing Kwara Central senatorial district upon the completion of his second term as a governor. He had distinguished himself as senator of the Federal Republic in his first term while he equally earned the respect and confidence of his colleagues across all the political divides. ABS was already a political phenomenon by the time he contested and got elected as the Senate President in 2015.
Meanwhile sequence of events and political persecutions that eventually climaxed in his defection from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has further made his relationship with the executive frostier. However, unknown to some top hierarchs of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) and particularly the national chairman, Adams Oshiomhole, they have merely succeeded in giving a major boost to Saraki’s soaring popularity with the chains of failed efforts to impeach him as Senate president.
The persistent threats by Oshiomhole to impeach Saraki’s as the Senate president have constituted a huge distraction to good governance in the country as well as unpatriotic and needless efforts to heat up the polity.
Nigerians must overlook the shenanigan and rabble rousing of Oshiomhole and focus on what is required to offer good governance in the country. Nigeria is undoubtedly in dire need of an agile and digital leader that can proffer solutions to incessant cases of insecurity bedevilling the nation. Marauding Fulani herdsmen are daily spilling the blood of innocent citizens without restraint while kidnapping is fast becoming a lucrative crime industry for kidnappers that operate daily unchallenged by the nation’s security agents. The nation cannot afford to keep threading the path of calamitous destruction. To avoid an impending doom, a proactive and experienced president in the mould of Saraki is needed to preside over the nation’s affairs from 2019.
It is already a fact of reality that nepotism has been promoted far and above merit and the spirit of federal character as enshrined in the nation’s constitution by the ruling party. Clannishness and nepotism have always constituted threats to national development. Sadly, the ruling APC has prompted these practices to an undesirable extent where it is already threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria. Nigerians that are not from the Hausa-Fulani tribe have been turned to second class citizens in their own country, while competence, brilliance and experience have been cruelly slaughtered on the altar of nepotism.
However, Bukola Saraki has proven himself as a patriotic Nigerian whose political activities and appointees as the Senate President have not been tainted with any nepotistic tendencies thus far. ABS is always conscious of seeing himself first and foremost as a Nigerian before the thought of being a Kwaran. Nigeria seriously needs deliverance from being governed by individuals with irredeemable penchant for nepotism and clannishness.
The Nigerian nation is also urgently in need of a president with good economic grasp and global financial dynamism in order to address the grinding poverty that is evident in the country.
There is no gainsaying the fact that Nigeria is seriously in need of an intelligent president in the mould of Saraki to bring economic relief to the impoverished masses as well as roll out policies that will not be devoid of human face. A tested and trusted leader like Saraki is needed to pilot the nation’s affairs from 2019, so as to reverse the double digit inflation and unfavorable foreign exchange that are crippling economic activities in country.
Youth unemployment is an issue that should give any right-thinking Nigerian cause for concern. The enabling environment that is needed to create jobs for the army of jobless youths is without doubt lacking in the country. Stifling economic policies of the current administration have to a large extent hampered Foreign Direct Investment that ought to have created jobs for the unemployed youths. A leader like ABS whose proven and commendable track records cannot be denied truly needs the support of Nigerians to reverse this unfavorable economic trend.
Nigeria is equally in need of an economic team of eggheads that can turn around the nation’s economy and come up with better policies to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youths.
The desired team is expected to focus on the hunger that is currently ravaging the masses as well as give them a new lease of economic life. Without being equivocal, only a detribalized leader like Abubakar Bukola Saraki can deliver such a dream economic team. More so, only a leader like ABS who can do away with tribal sentiment and focus on competence, track records and global reach can bring about a new era of economic prosperity in Nigeria.
We must come to terms with the reality that corruption is a hydra-headed monster that is capable of killing the nation if not ruthlessly dealt with. Sad enough, the ruling government has not come up with any institutional ingenuity and innovative strategy to genuinely battle the scourge of corruption headlong. The charade of targeting the fight against corruption on the opposition and people with dissenting political views cannot yield the desired results. Rather, a holistic approach of corruption prevention with latest technology, detailed investigations and diligent prosecution are the way forward on the fight against corruption. Saraki had proven himself as a man of rare courage and effrontery to confront corruption when in his first term as a senator he exposed and called for an open investigation of fuel subsidy regime, which was about the biggest fraud in the nation’s history till date.
The current anti-corruption posture of the ruling party is at best hypocritical and self-serving. The ruling party has failed to walk the talk in the corruption cases that involved some top members of the party. The APC government has for more than three years not been able to summon the courage to either sack or prosecute Abdulrasheed Maina. The super-rich civil servant could have continued with his looting spree but for national outcry against his reinstatement by the same APC that promised to fight corruption. Files of the cases involving the sacked former Secretary to the Federal Government, Babachar Lawal, and the reinstated executive secretary of NHIS, Usman Yusuf, have been left to gather dust.
Executive recklessness is fast evolving a life of its own as a major threat to Nigeria’s nascent democracy. This threat has manifested in the impunity displayed by several government appointees as well as flagrant desecration of national institutions. It is no longer news that the Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, had on several occasions spurned the invitations extended to him by the Senate. The police boss had also disobeyed President Buhari’s instructions without any consequence. The Comptroller-General of Customs, Hameed Ali, had also demonstrated impudence by turning down the Senate’s request to appear before it in uniform. Siege had also been laid to the homes of both the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, by teams of police. Worst still, hooded operatives of Department of State Security (DSS) had likewise laid siege to the premises of National Assembly, thereby preventing staff and legislators from gaining access to the complex.
Saraki truly stands out as a leader that has confronted impunity and challenged executive recklessness in the country. He has declined irresistible enticements and vowed not to make the Senate a mere rubber stamp of the executive. He has also brought firmness and wealth of experience to bear in the discharge of his duties as the Senate President. Saraki has not hesitated to discipline any erring colleagues when necessary and has always placed national interests far above personal pursuits.
The longsuffering Nigerians and particularly the disillusioned youths must do the needful to put an end to gerontocracy in the country. Leadership space must be yielded to a vibrant, agile and digitally minded ABS that has all it takes to tackle the nation’s myriad of problems with his innovative solutions.
- Salako writes from Abuja