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What Is On Senator Saraki’s Mind? By Joe Igbokwe
Given the overwhelming weight of evidence against Saraki and the excess baggage of cartons of corruption dating back to his days at Societte General Bank, his days as Governor of Kwara State for 8years, his heavy financial deals across Nigeria via salaries even after serving the State as governor, his massive involvement in Panama Papers scandal, his fraudulent manipulation to get the Senate Presidency, his trials at CCB, High Court, Supreme Court and now CCT, I had not thought that the Senate President, Senator Saraki will learn his lessons and quit the stage when the ovation has ceased to be loudest but this is Nigeria where impunity is not a crime.
Joe Igbokwe writes from Lagos
In mind silent moments, I have been trying to figure out who is beating the drums for Saraki or what is giving this guy the confidence that he will stand tall at the end of the day. It has never ceases to fill me with wonders why a supposed intelligent mind like Saraki who is also a medical doctor think he can overcome a precarious and delicate situation like this when somebody like President Buhari is on the throne. I am at a loss that Saraki’s many friends and well-wishers have not been led to see the hand writing on the wall and consequently advise their friend to bow to the exigencies of the moment and follow the path of honour and grace. I am stunned that Senator Saraki cannot understand that we are in a new dispensation that has zero tolerance on corruption and impunity.
How I wish that friends, family members, associates and hangers on will find the need to persuade Senator Saraki that it is all over for him. Did Saraki hear the Chief Justice of Nigeria when he lamented on long delays and adjournments that have associated with corruption trials and promised robust support to fight corruption by encouraging speedy trials? Did Saraki take notice that it is the biggest institutional support for fight against corruption in recent times in Nigeria? Did Saraki take mental notice of this signal from the CJN? Did Saraki get the signal from his primary constituency in the Senate when the number of Senators following him to CCT suddenly dropped to 30 from almost 80 Senators? Can Senator Saraki deduce anything from this vote of no confidence? Did Saraki get the signal when President Buhari said he would have left the stage if he is Saraki? How can Senator Saraki see the weighty cases against him as an act of witch-hunting and political persecution? Has Saraki sat down to reflect on his political history, his antecedents, his many shady deals, his actions and deeds, his love for money, his many penchant for cutting corners, his many acts of impunity, his many betrayals, and selfish tendencies? Can Saraki overcome these problems and still hold his head high as the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
As I write this, the British Prime Minister David Cameron is before the British Parliament defending himself concerning the Panama papers scandal. The Iceland Prime Minister has resigned his position as a result of the Panama papers scandal. Across the world many leaders whose names were mentioned are responding to the scandal but not in this clime. Senator does not see anything wrong in becoming the Senate President through the backdoor. Senator Saraki did not see anything wrong with fraudulent assets declaration as a public servant. Senator Saraki does not care about receiving salaries even when he has vacated office. Saraki does not worry about using State Government money to service personal loans. The 2016 Budget padding by the National Assembly does not bother Senator Saraki. Moving from one Court to another to try to circumvent justice has not bothered Senator Saraki. Abandoning his duty as the Senate President to go to courts has not worried Saraki. Going to courts with 90 lawyers and tens of Senators does not perturb Senator Saraki. The tide of public opinion on Saraki’s many troubles has not pricked the conscience of Senator Saraki.
The abuse of public office, abuse of public trust, abuse of power and abuse of confidence have not meant anything to Senator Saraki. The abuse of precious gift of time by Saraki to run from one court to another has not worried the Senate President. Few years back, a New York Governor resigned to go and reconcile with his family after being accused of unhealthy and inappropriate relationship with another woman. In same United States, a governor who left his office for almost a week and eloped with a girl friend to another country had to vacate his position and return home to put his house in order. For any responsible and responsive leader this is the path of honour when there is an abuse of position, privilege and power. Saraki’s case is not going to be an exception. It is good to be important but it is more important to be good. A good man, a responsible man and a man who is worried about himself knows when to quit in a situation he cannot help. This is the hallmark of a leader. Kippling, the poet once wrote that the world and everything in it belongs to the man who keeps his head when others are losing theirs.
Now, let me say this: Anybody who knows Senator Saraki and wishes him well should advise him to leave the stage now because the ovation is no longer loudest for him here. The heat is just too much from all corners. He has put up a good fight as a man but he cannot win this war. This is an honest truth and Saraki should find a way to give himself a soft landing and stop disparaging the Senate. His friends should help him at a time like this to do the needful. A school of thought has suggested that we should be wise enough to accept a situation we cannot change. Now with all the friends in the world, with all the armies in the world, with all the connections in the world and with all the wealth in the world, Senator Saraki cannot win this case. It is a bad case.
But will Senator Saraki listen to wise counselling and step out of the Senate Presidency to go defend his parents and family name? Will Senator Saraki do the needful by going the way of the civilized men and women who faced similar situations in the past? Will Saraki respect himself now? Will Saraki respect the Senate? Will Saraki respect Nigeria?
Time will tell!