Each time embattled Senate President Bukola Saraki appears in court in connection with his corruption trial, a retinue of legislative backers from the Senate and House of Representatives trails him. One of his staunchest lackeys is Zakari Muhammed, a member of the House of Representatives who has had longstanding political ties to M. Saraki in a relationship that has advanced the political career of Mr. Muhammed. 

Zakari Muhammed

Mr. Muhammed’s loyalty to the senator is so fanatical that a security source told SaharaReporters that the House member arranged the power outage that forced the Code of Conduct Tribunal to adjourn Mr. Saraki’s trial from April 6 to April 18 by conniving with officials of the tribunal. Mohammed is also responsible for mobilizing and renting fake protesters camping out at the CCT throughout the duration of each trial. SaharaReporters was reliably informed that Mr. Muhammed masterminded the power outage by bribing technicians who made sure the tribunal was thrown into darkness on the second as federal witness reeled out embarrassing evidence about how Saraki looted Kwara state during his tenure as governor.

However, in interviews with various sources in Abuja and Kwara State, the member of the House was portrayed as a servile acolyte of former Governor Bukola Saraki and as the senator’s first choice for dirty jobs. 

In Baruten local government area, where Mr. Muhammed hails from, one prominent politician stated that the rep’s blind loyalty to Mr. Saraki was responsible for the former’s meteoric rise within the Saraki political camp. “Since 2013, he has been touted as a possible governorship candidate, if the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, decides that power should be zoned to Kwara North senatorial district,” said the source. He added that the former governor was “more comfortable with Hon. Zakari Muhammed than any other likely candidates from that district, like Senator Ahmed Mohammed, Senator Sha'aba Lafiagi or Hon. Ahman Pategi.” 

A source in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, alleged that Mr. Saraki suspended Senator Ahmed Mohammed from the APC for one year because Mr. Muhammed reported that the suspended senator did not support Zakari Muhammed's re-election in 2015.

The source disclosed that Mr. Saraki does not trust Senator Ahmed Muhammed, a former Permanent Secretary and Secretary of the State Government, “because Senator Muhammed is a self-made man who is recognized as the political and community leader of the Batonu-speaking people of Kwara State. 

By contrast, Mr. Saraki’s favoritism for Zakari Muhammed began after the Senate President became a governor in 2003. He hired Mr. Muhammed, a former member of staff of Radio Kwara and a reporter at Kwara Television, a special assistant. “It was then that his fierce loyalty to then Governor Bukola Saraki began to manifest,” a source in Ilorin said. “Zakari Muhammed would cut down other members of the Saraki group; report on his competitors and gladly put himself forward for the dirtiest jobs for the leader, Dr. Bukola Saraki,” the source, formerly close to Senator Saraki, disclosed. 

Another source suggested that Mr. Muhammed’s poor background and his ability to make quick money shaped his slavish loyalty to Mr. Saraki.

Several sources in Ilorin and Abuja revealed that, when Mr. Muhammed was made Kwara State Commissioner for Energy, he awarded contracts worth hundreds of millions of naira to a firm owned by Olaolu Saraki, a younger brother to the then governor, to supply borehole rigs and electric transformers. Our sources claimed that even though not a single rig or transformer was supplied, Mr. Muhammed re-awarded the contract to the same Olaolu Saraki in another multi-million naira frenzy. “The payments for the second contract went down the drain of Olaolu Saraki's pocket. The Kwara state Ministry of Energy was eventually burnt down, and moved to the Ibrahim Abacha Center on Fate Road, Ilorin,” a senior civil servant in Ilorin alleged.

As an apparent reward for his loyalty, Zakari Muhammed received the ticket to run for the House of Representatives. A source in Abuja claimed that Mr. Saraki detailed his lackey to work closely with former Speaker Aminu Tambuwal in the 7th National Assembly. “He is now one of the members of the inner caucus of Speaker Yakubu Dogara. His job is to keep Dr. Bukola Saraki informed about the goings-on in the House of Reps, and to ensure that Dogara remains loyal to the Senate President,” said the source.

In Baruten local government area, one source stated that Mr. Muhammed works with the Emir of Okuta to regularly import traditional juju men from neighboring Republic of Benin to undertake “spiritual exercises for Senate President Bukola Saraki.” The source added, “Even his [Mr. Muhammed’s] wife tells people that she is a prayer warrior for Senator Saraki.” 

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