It’s blindingly obvious that the Bukola Saraki who was docked at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on Tuesday, September 22nd, 2015 is weakened, diminished and reduced to a hollow husk. His stint as Senate President has become politically untenable and morally intolerable. But rather than embracing this fact of life, he seems resolved to fight it.
And so for a while, Saraki resisted the invitation to enter the accused box. He saw the accused box as a proper coffin. He reckoned that if he stepped into that container and stayed in it, he would have actively participated in his own funeral. However, it was too late. He was already fatally wounded even before he was boxed.
Saraki had ruined himself by pursuing the fantasy of living a virtually impossible incongruence: He wanted to become the Senate President while being Bukola Saraki. Saraki highlighted this when he protested: ‘’I am a firm believer of the rule of law. I have come here to subject myself before this tribunal. I strongly believe that I am here because I am the Senate President.’’
When Dr. Saraki intuited that ’’ I am here because I am Senate President,’’ he made a correct self-diagnosis. But, he was still strangely unaware of the vein of truth that ran beneath his remonstration.
Saraki was trying to allude to political persecution. He had intended to assert that the charges of false assets declaration and anticipatory assets declaration filed against him were a mere pretext to punish him. He figured that the Presidency was bullying him for daring to become the President of the Senate.
Unbeknownst to Saraki, his ‘’I am here because I am Senate President’’ captures the real reason of his travail: Which is that he tried to be Senate President... while being Saraki!
Saraki, indeed, chose the most inopportune time to launch himself into national limelight. It should have been clear to him that he would be unable to survive.
Saraki, by the virtue of being Saraki, a living museum of baggage, should have never have attempted to vie for Senate President. He should have known that the burden of scrutiny would crumble him.
The siren of ambition drove Saraki. He wanted to be Senate President, the third most powerful man in Nigeria. But the crisis he failed to anticipate was the natural character comparison that would result from his proximity to the upright duo of Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo in the power echelon.
‘’Senate President Bukola Saraki’’ is a proper oxymoron. The merger of the position of Senate President and person of Bukola Saraki represents a conflicted tension of meanings. His pathetic demeanor since he became Senate President Saraki shows that the title and the man coexist in mutual attrition.
If Saraki were to resign today, he would be doing himself a favor.
Saraki has always labored under the illegitimacy of his ‘’emergence.” His Senate Presidency was conjured out of forged Senate rules and a flawed procedural format. Also, reinforcing the scam, is the fact that he was elected ‘’unopposed’’ in an exercise where half of his colleagues, members of his own political party, were bodily absent.
To date, half of the Senate membership considers him as an impostor. Half of the people he is supposed to be leading are in court, challenging the validity of his claim to be the ‘’Senate President.”
Saraki is not embarrassed by the contempt of half of his House. He carries on, even though the eighth Senate remains stuck in the strictures of his emergence. Apparently, the status of the Senate President, or its close approximation - pretender to the seat of the Senate President - matters more to him than the requisite credibility capital needed to do the job.
Saraki has been playing the nominal part of the Senate President – answering to the title of the Nigerian parliament, sitting on the lofty chair during the Senate session and hitting the gavel, but in reality he has been no more than an infatuated mother rocking the cradle of her stillborn:
His Senate Presidency and Senate never really begun. Much worse than that, his Senate and his Senate Presidency may never ever begin.
Saraki seems incapable of winning the respect of a sizeable number of his colleagues and of procuring the promise of their tolerance of his person. He seems to emit an aura that they find abominably repulsive.
Now, the Nigerian Senate is not the congregation of honest people. In fact, it has – almost as a default configuration – a quota of characters that represent the cream of criminality. Today’s Senate boasts a pedophile (Sani Yerima) and a fugitive drug baron (Buruji Kashamu) as ‘’distinguished’’ members. The makeup of Saraki’s Senate is not much different from the one that had prompted ex-Deputy Inspector General of Police, the late Nuhu Aliyu, to lament, in the midst of a plenary session, that he was forced to share camaraderie with the fraudsters he investigated while in service.
Saraki, from his central role in bankrupting his daddy’s bank to his two terms as Governor of Kwara State, had accumulated a streak of blemishes that makes him an anathema.
The measure of the man’s complexity is that his present distress could grow worse. He is a mine that has only been shallowly researched. He remains a promising ‘’The More You Look, The More You See’’ prospect.
Saraki is possessed of the delusion that he can wait this Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) saga out. He believes that if he stays resilient, the storm will fade eventually. And he will convalesce from the nightmare strong and ready to win the Presidency in 2019!
Saraki has always wanted to be President. He has come close to it as the Senate President, the number three man. He reasons it would be easier to snatch the ultimate seat from this vantage spot.
This is hoping against hope. The reality is that his days in national prominence have expired.
On June 9, 2015, Saraki – according to the horse’s own mouth – ingeniously smuggled himself into the National Assembly Complex at 6.00 am and hibernated at the car park, a clear four hours ahead of the scheduled commencement of the inauguration of the eighth Senate.
If Saraki has lost his understanding of the time and a sense of propriety, I am glad to do the charity of alerting him: It’s high time he resigned!
The thirteen count charges against him and his tangential conjugal culpability in his wife’s alleged fraudulent conduct as First Lady of Kwara State have effectively obliterated any vestige of Saraki’s fitness for office. He just can’t continue in his present post.
As a public servant, Saraki needs to exit the Office of the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without delay. In his current position, Saraki has become public nuisance, a shameful cynosure.
His continued association with the headship of the legislative arm of Nigeria pu forths his battle with the law on the screen of national cinema. And this compels the whole nation to watch the plague metastasize in the news cycle.
We need a break from Saraki’s intrusive movie. We can’t keep on watching the saturation coverage of the criminal trial of the ‘’Senate President.” He needs to separate himself from that title and sort himself out. An entire nation cannot continue to pay him the tribute of compulsory attention.
Even if he doesn’t care about the sensibilities of the public, Saraki should resign as a personal favor to himself. He increasingly humiliates himself as he struggles to retain relevance amidst serious charges.
He needs to resign urgently. While clinging to his leadership position, Saraki, the accused, drags the Senate along - like the tortoise dragging its shell - and uses the institution as his shield.
He needs to step aside and defend himself against accusations of wrongdoing.
But being the central character in his own tragedy, Saraki seems fated to persist in processing his ruin until he consummates his self-destruction.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu