In a recent interview with the international news organization, Bloomberg, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki unsurprisingly declared his intention to contest the 2019 Presidency under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Against the backdrop of the litany of corruption allegations trailing the Senate President, Saraki’s declaration, brings to the fore our earlier call to anti-graft agencies to check the use of stolen public funds to finance elections in this country. We reiterate our position that the Nigerian electorate must have the opportunity to choose from candidates that can pass the integrity and anti-corruption test.
Let us refresh our memory on some of Saraki’s corruption allegations:
· Allegations of fraud which led to the collapse of the Saraki family-owned Société Générale Bank (Bukola Saraki who was Director of the defunct bank was indicted over N1bn alleged to have been looted from the bank’s treasury).
· Misappropriation of Kwara State funds, disregard of government due process and conversion of State government assets into his and cronies when he served as two-term governor of Kwara State.
· History of betrayals, treachery and sabotage – Family, political party (PDP, APC), Senate, government.
· Saraki was questioned by the Nigeria Police Special Fraud Unit over a N11 billion financial scandal at the defunct Intercontinental Bank.
· Gluttonous property acquisitions and hidden multi-billion dollar assets spread across the world as disclosed by the Panama Papers revelations.
· The multi-million dollar white elephant Shonga Agricultural Project in Kwara State when Saraki served as two-term governor.
· Falsification of Senate standing order
· Saraki’s link to the N298m armored Range Rover SUV seized by the Nigeria Customs Service.
· Saraki’s link to $19.5b Paris Club Loan refund scandal
. Oversaw budget padding in the National Assembly
· Among other numerous corruption scandals
Nigerians should be wary of a man whose personal ambition will always supersede the interest of the majority and national interest as currently displayed in the National Assembly. While Saraki refuses to reconvene the National Assembly, the 2019 election budget of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) is dangerously delayed, an action deliberately taken to sabotage INEC’s ability to conduct free, fair, transparent and credible elections in 2019.
While Saraki refuses to step down as Senate President as rightly and severally demanded by the APC-dominated Senate, he is bent on foisting a PDP-minority rule (Senate President and Deputy Senate President) in the Upper Legislative House.
The only politics that Bukola Saraki plays is self, himself only and only himself. The interest and welfare of the people of Nigeria do not mean anything to him. Now it is the Presidency Saraki wants. And we ask with what antecedents is he doing this? Conspiracy, blackmail, treachery and vaulting ambition which overleaps itself and falls on the other, as rightly captured by William Shakespeare. Bukola Saraki will rather rule in hell than serve in paradise.
Ahead of 2019 elections, Nigerians must ensure that we never again entrust the leadership of this great country to thieves whose sole aim is treasury looting and returning us to the dark ages where impunity and institutionalized corruption was the order of the day.
Mr. Yekini Nabena
Ag. National Publicity Secretar