Former Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has stated that his attention has been drawn to an order said to have been granted by a Federal High Court in Lagos for a temporary forfeiture of his property on 17A McDonald Road, Ikoyi, following an ex-parte application by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
In a statement by his Special Adviser (Media and Publicity), Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki stated that the Federal High Court in Lagos must have been misled into granting that order as neither him nor his lawyers were aware of any application by the EFCC for any forfeiture order.
He said there is a subsisting court order issued by the Federal High Court, Abuja, in which the same property was a subject matter and where the EFCC and the Federal Ministry of Justice were parties. The court in that case gave an order restraining the EFCC from taking any further action until the matter is determined.
“We are sure the FHC judge in Lagos was not aware of all these facts and has therefore been misled into giving the temporary forfeiture order. The affected property, House Number 17 A and 17B, was specifically listed in the case against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in which the EFCC was part of the prosecution and the case went up to the Supreme Court where the apex court in its July 6, 2018 judgement ruled in his favour.
“The Supreme Court has ruled that the source of funds for the purchase of the property was not illicit as claimed by the prosecution. On pages 12, 13 and 26 of the judgement of the highest court, this particular property on 17A McDonald Street, Ikoyi, was specifically referred to and the court upheld the no case submission of Dr. Saraki and therefore ruled in his favour.
“We know that any action which tends to mislead the court amounts to misrepresentation and it is a good ground for us to get the Court to throw away the order it issued today. We are sure the order will be reversed.
“We therefore call on all the friends, associates and supporters of Dr. Saraki to remain calm because we know this action will not stand when the court gets to hear the side of the former Senate President”, Saraki stated
A Federal High Court in Lagos on Monday 21st of October 2019, ordered the interim forfeiture of two properties located at Ikoyi area of Lagos state belonging to the immediate past Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to be forfeited to the Federal Government of Nigeria.
The Ilorin zonal office of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in an exparte application filed by the commission’s lawyer Nnaemeka Omewa approached the court seeking an order of interim forfeiture of the properties, alleging that they were acquired through proceeds of unlawful activities.
Delivering ruling on the application, Justice Mohammed Liman who ordered the interim forfeiture of the two properties said the EFCC should publish the order in a national daily within fourteen days and further the matter for report of compliance with the order of court.
The commission had sought for four orders before Justice Liman, in respect of the controversial property.
Part of the relief sought by the EFCC include “an order of this honourable court forfeiting to the federal government of Nigeria landed property with appurtenances situate, lying and known as no. 17a Mcdonald road, Ikoyi, Eti Osa local government area of Lagos state found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity ”
“an interim order of this honourable court forfeiting to the Federal Government of Nigeria the landed property with its appurtenances situate, lying and known as no 17 Mcdonald road, Ikoyi in Eti Osa local government area , Lagos state found and recovered from the respondent which property is reasonably suspected to have been acquired with proceeds of unlawful activity ”
Justice Liman relying on the documents attached to the matter resolved all the issues raised in favour of the EFCC.
The commission in an affidavit alleged that the former president of the Nigerian Senate acquired the two properties with proceeds of unlawful activity.
Part of the affidavit reads, “trend of cash lodgments into Saraki’s account became suspicious and in order to further disguise the source and origin of this money, the respondent changed the pattern of payment and started making payments into exhibit EFCC 3 using fictitious names ”
The EFCC further alleged that the former Nigeria number three citizen while serving as the executive Governor of Kwara State withdrew over twelve billion cash from the account of the Kwara government and paid directly into his account domiciled in Access and Zenith banks through one of his personal assistant, Abdul Adama at different intervals.
Former Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki and former governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose have joined Nigerians to celebrate the World Teachers’ Day.
They both took to their Twitter page to show their appreciation to teachers.
Saraki said, “Today is #WorldTeachersDay and my thoughts go to all teachers, at every level, who I refer to as great builders and real mentors. After our creator and parents, the teachers are the next most important influence in life. They mould great leaders and guide the top professionals.
“I remember a particular one among my many teachers, our French teacher in Kings College. She was more than somebody just out to impart knowledge. She truly cared about us and was so passionate about our success in life.
While Mr. Fayose said, “Today, I celebrate all my teachers and other teachers, serving retired or dead. May God bless them all.
“I congratulate teachers in Nigeria, particularly in Ekiti as they celebrate World Teachers’ Day 2019.I appreciate the young teachers, who are future of the profession & pray that they’II will be rewarded for educating our next generation of leaders in their lifetime. Happy Teachers’ Day”
I congratulate teachers in Nigeria,particularly in Ekiti as they celebrate World Teachers’ Day 2019.I appreciate the young teachers,who are future of the profession & pray that they’II be rewarded for educating our next generation of leaders in their lifetime. Happy Teachers’ Day
Today is #WorldTeachersDay and my thoughts go to all teachers, at every level, who I refer to as great builders and real mentors. After our creator and parents, the teachers are the next most important influence in life. They mould great leaders and guide the top professionals.
He said, “I think a culture was developed in the National Assembly, that they should dictate the terms, I think it was wrong.
“It is the Executive that dictates the terms and take it before the Legislature that will examine it and agree or disagree with it.
“But when they go around posing that they are the government and not the Executive then that is a problem”.
President Buhari went on to reveal that he had to speak with the leadership of the National Assembly to ensure that they put aside their own interests for the good of the nation.
“I personally spoke to the Senate President, Saraki and the Leader of the House, Dogara, they could not deny it, I asked them how do they feel to hold the country to ransom for seven months without passing a budget?
“I told them that personally they are not hurting me, they are hurting the country.
“So really, in terms of patriotism, I think I rated them very, very low indeed”.
President Buhari said that holding the budget to ransom for seven months cannot be justified.
He said that he is frustrated because his government cannot move faster with all the projects that they have set out to achieve.
The President however said that some success have been achieved in his first term including bringing a relieve to the people in Nigeria’s Northeastern region.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), has said Senate President Bukola Saraki is not above the law.
EFCC’s statement comes on the heels of statements that a fresh probe against the Senate President is a “witch-hunt”.
In a statement on Wednesday, the EFCC said it has taken note of the reactions of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki to the Commission’s inquiries regarding his earnings as Kwara State governor as well as on the quality of his financial stewardship in the Senate.
The anti-graft agency noted that while it is Saraki’s prerogative to ventilate his views on the matter as he deems fit, the Commission takes great exception at the desperate attempt to cast a slur on its investigative activities by portraying Saraki as a victim of persecution.
Furthermore, the agency said it finds the attempt by the Senate President to tie its inquest to his International Human Rights Commission, IHRC appointment and his approaching life out of power as misleading, because the background to its current inquiries spans several years back.
According to the EFCC’s statement, the anti-graft body said it is the agency’s mandate to probe and ensure accountability continues to exist in the governance space.
“For the avoidance of doubt, the EFCC is obligated by law to enthrone probity and accountability in the governance space and has supremely pursued this duty without ill-will or malice against anyone.
The statement partly reads,”It is in the interest of the public, and for Saraki’s personal good, that he is not only above board, but be seen at all times to be so.
“Indeed, all the instances in which the EFCC have had cause to sleuth into his financial activities either as a former governor or President of the Senate were driven by overarching public interest and due process of the law.
“Against the background of the posse of indicting petitions and other evidence available to the EFCC, even Saraki will agree with the Commission that putting him through a legitimate forensic inquiry is the legitimate route to establish his integrity as a public servant.
“The distinguished Senate President has no need to fret so long as he has no skeletons in his cupboard.
“The Commission has a sacred mandate to rid the country of corruption and corrupt elements and restates its unflinching resolve to achieve these, no matter whose ox is gored”.
The PDP has condemned the renewed probe of Senate President and Director General of the Atiku Presidential Campaign, Senator Bukola Saraki, by the Economic And Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The PDP in a statement on Wednesday, expressed concern that the EFCC is now being used as a tool in the hand of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), thus terming the new probe a “Witch-hunt”.
In the communique signed by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP said Saraki’s probe is part of the larger plot for a renewed clamp-down on key opposition figures and perceived political opponents of the APC administration, particularly, to frustrate the determination for the party to win at the presidential election tribunal.
The PDP said the new probe is a desperate attempt to nail Saraki, adding that this is done at the expense of other investigations involving members of the APC, some with highly incriminating evidence.
“The party says nothing else can explain the Federal Government’s obnoxious and distasteful resort to intimidation and evidence-fishing, just to nail Senator Saraki at all costs, even when nothing incriminating has been found in his stewardship as Governor of Kwara state, after several investigations.
“The Federal Government is hounding Senator Saraki even after he has been prosecuted but discharged and acquitted by the Supreme Court, after the government failed to substantiate claims of false asset declaration against him.
“The PDP holds that this renewed witch-hunt tailored against Senator Saraki and perceived opposition leaders further confirms that the Buhari Presidency and the APC have become frenetic over the overwhelming evidence that our party will present at the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal.
“Moreover, our party already has information on how certain elements in the APC have plotted to cash in on the new siege to harm key leaders of our party, under certain guise.
“The APC is called upon to note that Nigerians are already aware of the truth in all issues leading to this renewed harassment of the Senate President. We insist that no harm must come to Senator Saraki or any member of his family” the statement read in parts.
President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, has been nominated as an “Ambassador-at-Large” of the International Human Rights Commission (IHRC).
This is according to a communique by the Senate President’s Media Office.
According to the communique, Saraki’s nomination was confirmed in a letter dated March 16, 2019.
In that letter, Ambassador Friday Sani, the Diplomatic Head of the Commission to Nigeria and other African Countries, stated that as a sequel to the approval of the World Secretary General of the IHRC, Dr. Saraki has been appointed as one of the revered Ambassadors-at-Large of the multinational body.
“While our role as a regional body is to promote and encourage institutions and persons to uphold human dignity across the world, we must not fail to mention the commendation of our Nigerian team over your resolute efforts in the stability of your country and your firm leadership of the Nigerian Senate which is adjudged to be among the most proactive parliaments across the world.
“Besides, the Commission is not unmindful of the maturity that you recently displayed in the face of an obvious provocation in your constituency during the last Presidential and National Assembly elections,” Ambassador Sani said in the letter.
In the new capacity, Dr. Saraki is expected to lead the diplomatic team of the IHRC in various diplomatic missions across the world.
The Senate President, on April 10th, 2019, accepted the nomination of the Commission, while also expressing his appreciation to the IHRC for his nomination.
Senate President Bukola Saraki has described as fallacious, a claim by Bola Ahmed Tinubu suggesting that he and the leadership of the National Assembly, hijacked the 2018 budget and by extension stifled progress in Nigeria within the last four years.
The Senate President in a riposte on Sunday, argued that the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) should know more about the inner working of the Nation Assembly in that he has been a legislator himself.
Tinubu had on Sunday, accused him and the House of Representatives Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, of highjacking the 2018 national budget process.
In his statement titled, ‘Tinubu Focusing on the Issues of Today: ‘Tomorrow is the Master of Itself’, the APC CHIEFTAIN said “National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them.
“Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person.
“After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly”.
In reaction to Tinubu’s claim, the Senate President wrote, “Saraki to Tinubu: Despite Your Smear Campaign and Hatred for Me, You Should, At Least, Dwell on Facts”.
Below is the full statement by Saraki in which he enunciated the working of the National Assembly, giving Tinubu a detailed break down on the budget issue.
“Saraki to Tinubu: Despite Your Smear Campaign and Hatred for Me, You Should, At Least, Dwell on Facts
Yesterday, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, released another of his now well expected quarterly vicious attack on the person of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate. In the statement, one could see the master of media spins getting ensnared in his own game as he struggled to extricate himself from the narratives about the contest for leadership positions in the Ninth National Assembly.
2. Since we have taken it for granted that Tinubu’s attack on Saraki every three months (Quarterly) will come as expected, we would just have ignored his statement but for the fact that it was filled with untruth, fallacies and misrepresentations. The statement was another effort to sell a concocted narrative about the Eighth National Assembly and its leadership.
3. First, he alleged that national budgets were delayed, distorted, padded, new projects introduced, funds for projects reduced, “to halt progress of government”. It is unfortunate that a man like Tinubu who had been in the Senate (though for 22 months and under a military regime) should have a better understanding of how the legislature works. The passage of budgets is definitely not the exclusive responsibility of the leadership of the Senate. Most of the work is done in the various committees. These committees are headed by Senators representing different parties. It is the level of co-operation between the committees and the MDAs in the timely defence of the budget proposals and the ability of the two chambers of the National Assembly to reconcile their figures that usually determine how soon the budget is passed. To put the blame of budget delay on the Senate President or Speaker can only be mischief, or at best, playing to the gallery.
4. It is also a known fact that any so-called delay in the passage of budgets under the Eighth National Assembly is traceable to the refusal of heads of MDAs to defend the budget proposals for their agencies on time. Last year, the President himself had to direct the Secretary to Federal Government to compel heads of MDAs to appear before the National Assembly committees following the report made to him by Dr. Saraki and Speaker Yakubu Dogara. So, if a man like Tinubu is spreading this falsehood about budget passage and delay being deliberately orchestrated by the National Assembly leadership, one wonders whether he tries to even understand what happens in the federal legislature at all or is that the only thing that is of interest to him is. “jockeying and manoeuvring for influence”, as he puts it.
5. To further make the points here clear, we invite. Tinubu to look at the records of the time of submission of budgets and their passage since 2010 and he will see that with the exception of the 2013 budget which was passed on December 20, 2012, all the budgets have been passed between March and May of the same fiscal year. This should give him a better understanding of the fact that the date the Appropriations Bill is submitted to parliament and the readiness of the MDAs to defend the proposals submitted as well as timely agreement on the figures by both chambers of the National Assembly are the main determining factors in when the budget is eventually passed. So, Tinubu should see that the facts cannot support his spins and fake narrative.
6. In all the three budgets already passed by the National Assembly, we challenge Tinubu to make specific reference to where Dr. Saraki and the leadership of the National Assembly “sought to pad with pet projects” as. he alleged. Tinubu should be graceful enough to substantiate this allegation. We consider that allegation careless, irresponsible and callous. We therefore demand that he should withdraw it.
7. However, there is need to let him know that it is the constitutional responsibility of the National Assembly to review the proposals sent by the executive and where it deems necessary, it is within the power of the legislature to make changes. A good example, is the decision by the National Assembly to include in the 2018 budget the one percent of the total budget, amounting to N33 billion, as allocation for Universal Health Coverage as provided by an extant law, which had been hitherto observed in the breach. Is this what Tinubu considers as budget padding? And this was a decision which was praised across the world as a real benefit to ordinary people across the country.
8. Tinubu also claimed that the Senate leadership “stymied APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious reactionary and self interested legislation on the nation”. We wonder what these “legislative initiatives” are because in the four years of the Buhari administration, it has only forwarded 11 bills to the Senate, apart form the routine annual appropriations and supplementary budget proposals. Two of these bills, the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Bill and the National Minimum Wage Bill, have been passed. One of the bills, the Money Laundering Prevention and Prohibition Act (amendment) Bill was withdrawn by the executive following the disagreement between the Attorney General and the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Also, another one, the National Water Resources Bill was rejected because it infringed on the rights of states to develop their water resources. The remaining seven which are the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention Establishment Bill, Federal Institute of Industrial Research for the Development of Micro, Small and Large Industries Bills, the Suppression of Piracy Bill, Communications Service Tax Bill, 2015; Federal Institute of Industrial Research Bill, 2017; Raw Materials Research and Development Council (Repeal and Re-enactment Bill 2018; Nigeria Natural Medicine Development Agency (Establishment etc) Bill, 2018 — are at various stages of passage.
9. As a leader of the Eighth National Assembly, Dr. Saraki is proud that under his watch, the Senate has surpassed the records of all previous Senates in the number of bills passed, the significance of these bills to the revival of the economy, the fight against insecurity and corruption, improvement in the provision of health service and the education sector, as well as better social service delivery. to the generality of the people. The bills passed, motions moved, interventions made and frequent engagement with the people were all directed towards addressing the day to day issues that affect the lives of the ordinary Nigerians. This Senate has passed 282 bills (the highest any Senate had passed is 129 bills recorded by the 5th Senate), among which is the Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters Act, Public Procurement Act (amendment) Bill, Petroleum Industry Governance Bill, Electoral Act (amendment) Bill, Police Reform Bill, Police Trust Fund Bill, Nigeria Railways Authority Bill, Company and Allied Matters Act (amendment) Bill, Secured Credit Transactions Act, Whistleblowers Protection Bill, constitution amendment bills, Discrimination Against Persons With Disability Bill, Electronic Transaction Bill, Bankruptcy and Insolvency Act, North East Development Commission (NEDC) Act, Witness Protection Programme Bill, Credit Bureau Reporting Bill, Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institution Bill and Compulsory Treatment and Care of Victims of Gunshots Bill, National Financial Intelligence Agency Act, Federal Audit Services Commission Bill, among others. It will be good to know which of these Bills Tinubu believes is “self interested” and not in the interest of Nigerians.
10. We will like to point the attention of Mr. Tinubu to the fact that most of the bills listed above got international and national endorsement from stakeholders who lauded the Senate for the move. For example, the Financial Intelligence Database Agency (Ultrascan) commended the Senate for passing the NFIU Act which enabled the country to be re-admitted into the Egmont Group. Also, the Nigerian Police leadership have praised the Senate for passing the Police Reforms Bill and the Police Trust Fund Bill. Again, when the National Assembly in the 2018 budget gave effect to the law allowing one percent of the budget to be devoted to Primary Health Care Delivery, it got kudos from Bill Gates, Bono, Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus of WHO, and various national groups who believe the move would bring health care delivery to the poor people across the country. The passage of the UBEC Act (amendment) Bill was praised by Pakistani child education campaigner and youngest Nobel Laureate, Yousafzai Malala. When the PIGB was passed, APC led by Tinubu, National Association of Petroleum Explorationists (NAPE), among others, hailed the Senate for a good job. Even, the World Bank commended the National Assembly for the passage of the Company and Allied Matters Act and Secured Transactions in Movable Assets and Credit Bureau Reporting Act. Of course, all these initiatives will be ignored by a man who is still sulking because his vow in 2015 that Saraki and Dogara will never lead the National Assembly did not materialize.
11. Tinubu and his mob have been sponsoring the narratives in the media that the emergence of the present leadership of the National Assembly was a mistake. We hereby submit that Dr. Saraki and other leaders of the National Assembly were democratically elected by their colleagues. And it is because they are the choice of their colleagues that they have remained in office for the past 46 months, despite all the plots hatched by anti-democratic, reactionary and fascist elements pretending to be ‘progressives’. In fact, Tinubu should know that if there was any mistake made on June 9, 2015, it was the miscalculation by himself and his small cabal in the APC who felt they could decide for the Senators-elect and House of Representatives Members-elect. When they failed after their grand-standing that they could always get whatever they desired, they resorted to undermining the institution of the legislature by waging a campaign of calumny against the law making body. It is now clear that those who took Senators away from the chambers contrary to the directive contained in the proclamation signed by President Muhammadu Buhari on June 9, 2015 are ‘mistake personified’. It is obvious that if they repeat that arrogance during the inauguration of the Ninth National Assembly, they will fail again because Nigeria is greater than them. The institution of the legislature is bigger than the over-bloated egos of these power mongers and dirty schemers.
12. Let us repeat again that we know that a Machiavellian politician like Tinubu will forever agonize over his erroneous belief that Dr. Saraki frustrated his ambition from becoming running mate to President Muhammadu Buhari through a Muslim-Muslim ticket in 2015. In his usual cavalier manner, he will stop at nothing to punish Saraki for that. We know that this attack is not about the interest of the nation or that of President Muhammadu Buhari. It is about his 2023 ambition and it is obvious in the statement as he struggled to explain this away.
13. However, Tinubu should leave Dr. Saraki out of his schemes and manipulations towards 2023. It is obvious his arbitrary and tactless interference in the process for the emergence of the leadership of the Ninth Assembly is already falling through. The frustration from this experience might have been responsible for this needless and baseless outbursts. Our only advice for him is that if he is interested in the stability of the National Assembly, he should allow the members to elect their leadership in consultations with the party leadership. He should stop treating the legislators like hapless pupils receiving orders from a cane-wielding headmaster. A situation where he, Tinubu, is dictating to elected legislators and ordering them to either comply with his directives or get out of the party will not augur well for the legislature in the next dispensation. History should have thought him that only a leadership that truly enjoys the support of members can help the President and his administration to achieve their objectives. It is a good development that the candidates for the various positions are already reaching out to their colleagues and forging alliances. We can see that after he realized that he has misfired, he is trying to retrace his steps and in his usual devious manner, he is looking for scapegoats. We advise him to leave Dr. Saraki out of his manipulations and “jockeying and maneuvering for influence and power”, as he termed it.
14. The Eighth Senate has done very well and will leave a good legacy. Despite all the underhanded tactics to undermine the legislature by outsiders and the public posturing, members have always worked as a team on critical issues that benefit our nation. That is why hitherto unachievable legislations like the PIGB, Police Reform Act and other bills or amendments to existing laws were passed with ease because the members and the leadership know that they are elected as Senators of the Federal Republic not as party representives.
15. Tinubu should know that while we await his attack for the next quarter, we can only advise him to stay on facts.
Special Adviser (Media and Publicity to Senate President)”
All Progressives Congress national stalwart, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, has accused the leadership of the 8th National Assembly of hijacking the national budget in the last fours and by extension, constitute a brake on progress and good governance.
In a statement from his media office on Sunday, the former governor while noting that the National Assembly’s positions are important to the fulfillment of the President’s agenda, lamented that a painful lesson was learned in this respect in the last four years.
Tinubu said, “With the Senate leadership usurped by regressive elitists that chamber constituted a brake on progress and good governance. “The Senate leadership, and to a lesser degree the House leadership, stymied APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious, reactionary and self-interested legislation on the nation.”
Outgoing Senate President Bukola Saraki and House of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara and their ilk, he said, hijacked the budget process these past four years.
“National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them.
“Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly,” he added.
He pointed out that in 2015, Senator Saraki finagled his way into the senate presidency. “He planted himself at the apex of legislative power. But his actions as Senate president showed a man devoid of compassion for the average Nigerian. All he cared for was power and position.
“Soon he will be deprived of both. House Speaker Dogara has fared only slightly better. Occupying these positions is not a guarantee of future success. It is only a guarantee of present duty”.
He said: “Politics requires jockeying and maneuvering for influence to get the right people in the right positions. To be beneficial, politics must be tied to the greater purpose of governance such as with President Buhari’s goal to reform the national economy for the good of all Nigerians.
“In supporting the party and the president, Asiwaju has shown his commitment to achieving the president’s goals. Nothing more should be read into it”.
The full statement titled “TINUBU FOCUSING ON THE ISSUES OF TODAY: TOMORROW IS THE MASTER OF ITSELF,” is as follows:
“We have monitored, with rising incredulity, the rash of news stories claiming Asiwaju Tinubu is manipulating the APC nomination process for the National Assembly leadership. The stories claim this supposed manipulation is the first salvo in Asiwaju’s effort to position himself for a presidential run during the 2023 election cycle. Not only are these reports utterly false, based as they are in the febrile imaginations of those persons by whom they are being peddled, they are injurious to President Buhari’s historic quest to reform Nigeria. It is for this latter reason that we find cause to speak out where otherwise we would have continued to watch on in silent amusement.
“Nigeria has barely emerged from President Buhari and the APC’s resounding victory in the last election. The President, with the support of an APC majority in both chambers of our National Assembly, is now preparing to lead the nation forward for the next four years. Instead of covering the President’s exciting Next Level agenda and what it promises in terms of economic and social growth & development, these people want to skip ahead to the next election as if they can cast aside the next four years.
“However, the Nigerian people do not elect politicians to office simply to watch on as they maneuver and jostle for position at the next election. The people elect those who they believe will be the best public servants, committed to the national wellbeing. This is why they reelected in President Buhari while rejecting the horde of political jobbers that constitute the PDP.
“The peddlers of these rumors have arrogated to themselves the preternatural ability to read Asiwaju’s mind more than he himself can know it. They also seem to have acquired the unique gift of bending time so that 2023 appears before we even reach the midway point of 2019. If these people would only enlist their uncanny talents in the service of the nation instead of in the service of political intrigue and gossip mongering our country would be much the better.
“This attempt to caricature Asiwaju as if his words and actions are all aimed at grabbing power will fail because this portrait distorts the plain truth. While the headlines are sensational they are also senseless because they are not grounded in fact. Asiwaju has not run for elected office since 2003. He last held office in 2007. He has never vied to become chairman of the APC nor has he tried to insinuate himself into any major government office.
“If you were asked to name another political figure who has exercised such forbearance, you would be hard pressed to identify another person with a comparable record when it comes to restraint in seeking office. Where others, upon leaving one office, tend to set their eyes immediately upon another, Asiwaju, uniquely in Nigerian politics, has foregone his personal ambitions as his political ideas and policies have flourished in the hands of his allies and mentees.
“This track record does not evince a man obsessed with power and office. While the intrigue-mongers seek to depict Asiwaju as a man hungering for position, his deeds speak of something else. These peddlers of tales do not know the measure of the man nor can they understand what motivates him. Thus, they project their own petty ambitions and designs on to him. The rumors reveal more about the mongers than they say about Asiwaju. They merely reveal what these people would do if they were Asiwaju. But they are not him and thankfully he is not motivated by the same selfish designs that fuel such people. Perhaps because these people have nothing to contribute regarding statecraft or providing actual solutions to actual problems, their minds remain forever mired in political machinations.
“What afflicts them does not affect Asiwaju. Since he last held public office, Asiwaju has, with unprecedented success, dedicated himself toward building a political party that would furnish a progressive alternative to the regressive policies of the PDP. Joining forces with President Buhari and others who shared his progressive ideology, he helped form the APC. Since the inception of the APC, Asiwaju’s focus has been to assist President Buhari develop, refine and implement a progressive agenda that would give every Nigerian a fair chance to prosper and provide for his loved ones.
“As he enters his second term, President Buhari has stated that he will give the economy special priority. His goal is to defeat poverty and joblessness while spurring the type of growth and development that will make Nigeria’s a durable and flourishing economy. These goals are laudable and necessary to move Nigeria forward. However, the obstacles before us are vast and complex.
“Asiwaju’s mind, heart and efforts are focused on supporting the President in achieving their shared vision of a flourishing economy and a prosperous people. He is committed to doing what he can to help President Buhari surmount the challenges in order to achieve the economic reform the nation sorely needs. Given that the imperatives of today are sufficiently daunting in and of themselves, Asiwaju is neither inclined, nor sufficiently naïve, to take his eye off the present in the futile attempt to peer through the thick fog that is the future.
“It is against this backdrop that Asiwaju’s support of the party position regarding the National Assembly leadership must be interpreted. There is no surprise in him supporting the party and the president’s position regarding the National Assembly positions. Nor is it wrong that he do so. As a loyal party member and progressive leader, he would have committed a terrible wrong by navigating against the president and party in these matters.
“That Asiwaju has actively and publicly supported the party and president should not result in such public backbiting. We all know how important these positions are to the fulfillment of the president’s agenda. One need only look to the last four years to see how painfully this lesson has been learned. With the Senate leadership usurped by regressive elitists that chamber constituted a brake on progress and good governance. The Senate leadership, and to a lesser degree the House leadership, stymied APC legislative initiatives while attempting to hoist noxious, reactionary and self-interested legislation on the nation.
“Just look at the way Saraki, Dogara and their ilk highjacked the budget process these past four years.National budgets were delayed and distorted as these actors repeatedly sought to pad budgets with pet projects that would profit them. Even worse, they cut funds intended to prosper projects that would have benefitted the average person. After four years of their antics halting the progress of government, we should do all we can to prevent a repeat of their malign control of the National Assembly.
“If we are truly committed to optimal governance, then we also must be equally committed to ensuring that the National Assembly leadership be competent and experienced as well as imbued with a progressive mindset and a desire to work in close cooperation with executive. This is all Asiwaju has hoped to achieve. There are no ulterior motives. Everything he has done is in concert with and in furtherance of the wishes of President Buhari and the party.
“Thus, those who cast aspersions at Asiwaju, in reality are bucking against the stated position of the President. This is a democracy and people have the right to oppose whomever they wish to oppose. However, if these mongers oppose the president let them be of sufficient courage to plainly say so. They should not disparage Asiwaju as an indirect way to contend against the President.
“What everyone who cares about Nigeria should now do is rally around the president to give him all possible support in driving to reality his economic policies and objectives. This is how we progress as a nation.
“In the end, the rumor-mongers should court greater discipline and wisdom. As Asiwaju recently said there is no action a person can take that constitutes a political guarantee as to what may come four years from now.Moreover, that having allies in the national assembly leadership positions will greatly enhance someone’s presidential ambitions is a spurious claim.
“In 2015, Senator Saraki finagled his way into the senate presidency. He planted himself at the apex of legislative power. But his actions as Senate president showed a man devoid of compassion for the average Nigerian. All he cared for was power and position. Soon he will be deprived of both. House Speaker Dogara has fared only slightly better. Occupying these positions is not a guarantee of future success. It is only a guarantee of present duty.
“Politics requires jockeying and maneuvering for influenceto get the right people in the right positions. To be beneficial, politics must be tied to the greater purpose of governance such as with President Buhari’s goal to reform the national economy for the good of all Nigerians. In supporting the party and the president, Asiwaju has shown his commitment to achieving the President’s goals. Nothing more should be read into it.
“Elections are over. Now is the time for governance to take primacy. Those who have taken to intrigue about 2023 reveal themselves to be lacking in essential concern for the people and the substantive issues that confront us. Our challenges are steep and multiple. Resolving them will occupy all of our time and energy. We do not have the luxury to embark on fantasies about the future. Let the future stay where it is for now. In due time, it shall come and shall decide the shape it is to take regardless of the plans we mortals hold for it.
“As for Asiwaju, he lives in the here and now. His words and deeds are geared toward perfecting progressive governance and resolving the substantive issues of today. Nothing more, nothing less. Those so enamored with gossiping about him, would do themselves and the nation well if they would follow his more productive example”.
“Mr. President, I want to thank you specifically. A lady in my constituency said I should tell you specifically that she has never seen you hit the gavel the way you did yesterday and I should tell you that when you commence your sabbatical, that she has offered herself to marry you if you so wish.
“I told her to wait until we see facts and figures in the 2019 budget. With respect and apology to Madam at home but from where I come, you are allowed up to four wives. So madam should please keep space because anytime I sit at home and look at the size of the house, I feel it is grossly underutilized.” he said.
Marafa also thanked President Muhammadu Buhari for intervening in the security situation of the state.
The Senate President in reaction to Marafa’s statement and gesture thanked all the lawmakers who contributed to the debate on the insecurity situation in the state and a made case for approval of the funds.
Justice Okon Abang has suspended judgment in a suit filed by the legal defence and assistant project seeking the removal of the Senate president and fifty-five lawmakers who decamped from their various political parties to other parties.
In his ruling, Justice Okon held that even though the lawmakers were duly served and had ample time to defend themselves they failed to do so but instead choose to disrespect the court and then turn around to try and arrest the judgment of the court.
He, however, held that the court is a court of justice and equity as such no matter how good a proceeding is, it will not be in the interest of fair hearing to shut a party out as such, based on the grounds of fair hearing the court is inclined to bend over backward to accommodate the lawmakers and hear them.
The Federal High Court seven presided over by Justice Okon Abang ought to have delivered a judgment on the defection of lawmakers including the Senate President Dr. Bukola Saraki in a suit seeking their removal for defecting from their political party before the expiration of their term in office.
However, the judgment was not to be as the lawmaker sort the leave of court to be heard and also questioned the jurisdiction of the court and the stake of the plaintiff the legal defence and assistance project a civil society organisation.
Counsel to the lawmakers Mahmud Magaji argued that the lawmakers should be heard because the suit is defective and the lawmakers are also questioning the jurisdiction of the court to hear the suit. According to him even at the point of judgment a court is inclined to hear a party in a suit that affects it.
However, objecting to the application, counsel to the plaintiff Uko Ede argued that the move of the lawmakers is intended to arrest the judgment, even though they had ample time to enter a defence against the suit since it was filed eight months ago.
He therefore urged the court to reject the application.
Having listened to both parties Justice Okon Abang decided to suspend his judgment. He based his decision not on the application of the lawmakers but what he described as a right to fair hearing.
According to him even though the lawmakers treated the court with disdain and levity the court is a court of justice and equity and not withstanding the brilliant submission of the plaintiff, it will be wrong for the court to exercise its powers against the principles of fair hearing as such despite the disrespectful attitude of the lawmakers to the court and its proceedings the court will give them a chance to be heard.