A Yoruba proverb says “Oruko nroni,” which literally means your life is shaped by your name. The middle name – Mesujamba – which I christened Mr. Bukola Saraki the Nigerian Senate President, suggests that he's a traitor and inventor of crises.
The corrupt career of Mr. Bukola Mesujamba Saraki spans many years. It's a career with a footnote on corruption for our times. Unlike former Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich, Mr. Saraki wasn't trying to sell a senate seat. Unlike former Louisiana Governor Edwin Edwards, Mr. Saraki didn't try to portray himself as a lovable rogue. Instead, Mr. Saraki who's facing 13 counts related to public corruption tries to convince gullible Nigerians that the charges are all part of a “witch hunt” and “selective persecution.”
Born Olubukola Abubakar Saraki, on December 19th, 1962, to the family of Olusola Saraki and mother Florence Morenike Saraki. Mr. Saraki first came to national prominence during his tenure as a two-term governor of Kwara State. He became a Senator representing Kwara Central May 29th, 2011. He became the Senate President June 9th, 2015 by forging Senate Standing Order.
In choosing Mr. Saraki as My Person of the Year, I rely on Time magazine's definition of the Person of the Year. Time defines its Person of the Year “as the individual who, for better or worse, had the greatest impact on the news and our lives this year.”
Mr. Saraki has rewritten the history of corruption in our political enterprise. Charles de Gaulle once said, “history does not teach fatalism...People get the history they deserve.” And Mr. Saraki will get the history he deserves. There are so many runners-up in Nigeria for My Person of the Year. I believe no one person or event appropriately fits the definition more than Mr. Saraki.
Since he became the Senate President, he has on several occasions shut down the Senate in celebration of his criminal suit and appearance at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). His fingerprints are in all the corruption schemes all over the place. In spite of his compelling and shameful crimes, the dumb Nigerian Senators remain loyal, subservient, intimidated, and immobilized by Mr. Saraki. They follow him like a mob of anarchists. These inmates of the section of the National Asylum confirmed the pathetic reality of the upper chamber of our law making body.
As a cocky and contented patriarch of the Saraki Family Corruption Dynasty, he has turned his support, approval, and more importantly, his active involvement in corruption into a national specter of disease. Mr. Saraki is well known for his profligacy and serves as a shining light for the Brotherhood of Thieves in the Senate. He remains a divisive figure for his party All Progressives Congress (APC) and for the nation.
Mr. Saraki is presently the most vicious member of a degraded caste of Nigerian politics. He has proven to be a vehicle to destroy all existing political institutions, the judiciary in particular. His tenure as Senate President is everything that is disappointing with Nigerian politics. During his tenure as Senate President, the Nigerian Senate has come to be identified with his worst traits, brutally insensitive, heartless, cold, and corrupt. As Senate president and Chairman of the National Asylum, Mr. Bukola Mesujamba Saraki has been involved practically in all political scams and schemes. The most recent being his false declaration of assets
Reacting to the myriad of criminal cases against him, he characterized the motive behind the cases as,“not an anti-corruption driven case and cannot be part of the moves aimed at fighting corruption.”
“It is simply a pure malicious and politically motivated persecution,” argues Mr. Saraki, “aimed at undermining the person and office of the Senate President,” says Mr. Saraki.
Take a look at the abbreviated version of his corruption CV:
He was accused of “dual citizenship” and so cannot be the Senate President.
He was caught in the web of forgery of Senate Standing Orders. The police investigated the matter and submitted its report to the Attorney General of the Federation. So far, nothing has been done to the report.
As governor of Kwara State, he was said to have embezzled billions. As a Senator, he's awash in treasury loot i.e. CBN, Dasukigate, name it.
His wife Toyin Saraki according to EFCC was allegedly involved in a N2 billion fraud. The case still pending.
EFCC claimed Mr. Saraki and Mr. Kennedy Izuagbe were involved in Societe Generale Bank's money laundering to the tune of N3.6 billion.
The latest of the anti-corruption war against Mr. Saraki is the 13-count charge of falsification of assets declaration leveled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Mr. Saraki is popular with the annual ritual of stampedes. The harvests of death stain Mr. Saraki's hands. On November 17th, 2010, at least, 11 supporters died in his Mandate House Campaign Headquarters. On May 27th, 2011, up to 25 people died in the pandemonium following the distribution of six yards of cloth and N500 to mark the inauguration of Mr. Saraki as the Governor of Kwara State.
In 2013, the media variously reported between 10 and 20 deaths during a stampede at a gathering in Ilorin organized by Mr. Saraki where he distributed money and pieces of cloth. Premium Times quoted a mortuary source at the Sobi Specialist Hospital in Ilorin as having counted 15 corpses. The rumor mill in Ilorin put the number of deaths at 40 from the tragic stampede.
Mr. Saraki issued a teasing statement regarding the deaths of the poor Kwara people fighting over his crumbs,
“Our party's strength resides solely in the support from party faithful which gives us confidence always. It is very painful to have lost these party faithful,” the Senate President said.
There has been three or more similar stampedes with a repeated pattern of this event and a very significant loss of life.
Mr. Saraki's corruption record make today's most obnoxious candidates look timid. Mr. Saraki is certainly guilty of tremendous crimes. Mr. Saraki has corrupted the soul of Nigeria. But Nigerians and especially our decadent judicial system, keep rewarding him for his crimes. He is still the Senate President, but he is starting to look more and more like a paper tiger.
Mr. Saraki's attempt to scrap the social media in Nigeria locked the nation in an intense battle between defenders of free speech and his co-sponsors of the social media gag bill – Ibn Na'Allah and Dino Melaye – the social media terrorists. Thank goodness, we the people prevailed!
Mr. Saraki represents the more familiar and visually more memorable face of corruption. He is a striking example of sexually transmitted corruption. For being a witness against himself, for being a corruption stained senate president, for being a traitor of our March 28th Democratic Revolution, for creating a whole new mess and mockery of our judicial system, for his confused priorities, for his impure motives, for being insensitive to the cries of legion of suffering and struggling Nigerians, and for his damaging leadership that has slowed down albeit momentarily, the vigorous pursuit of war of corruption, Mr. Bukola Mesujamba Saraki is My Person of the Year.
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