Defection: Juicy offer claims untrue, myopic – Saraki


…says negotiations about Nigeria’s democracy, not me   

By Mumini AbdulKareem

Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki last night distanced himself from report that the Presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) dangled juicy offers before him to halt his speculated defection from the party.

This development is coming just as his aide on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu last night, said there was no meeting between Saraki and the leadership of the party on the issue.

Report about Saraki’s planned meeting with the presidency and leadership of the party as part of further talks to convince him and other aggrieved members to remain in the party, had gone viral on Sunday.

Saraki’s speculated defection has been a subject of intense political discourse in the country as both the ruling APC and opposition Peoples Democracy Party (PDP) mounted pressures on him to either stay or defect as the case may be.

President Muhammadu Buhari, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and four governors also met with the Senate President last week to plead with him not to defect, assuring him of better prospect in the APC.

But the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari on Sunday at a special prayer held in honour of Saraki over his Supreme Court acquittal prayed Allah to give him guidance over his next political decision.

The Emir said, “As you have become the most beautiful bride of Nigerian politics, May Allah guide your next decision and use it to elevate you and the community.

In a statement by Olaniyonu forwarded to National Pilot last night, Saraki said what is at stake is the future of the country and its democracy, adding that it will be myopic for anybody to be talking about whether certain offers have been made to an individual or if such offers would be accepted or not.

The statement reads in parts: “I saw some reports talking about promise of money or oil bloc and nomination tickets but those viewing the on-going development in that context are simply reducing a major national issue involving many key actors to that of personal benefits and preferences.

“The speculation about juicy offers being made to me and associates as part of the on-going discussions with the Presidency and leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) is untrue.

“I believe at this point, it is important for me to make some clarifications, end speculation and make my position clear. It is important for Nigerians to know that the discussions that I and many others of like minds are having with the Presidency and the leadership of APC is not about me and what I want. It involves the future of our country and her democracy. It is about making things better for our people.

“Though there are many speculation being peddled in the media, let it be known these discussions are not about me. Whatever has happened to me in the past has passed. Now that God in His infinite mercy has vindicated me, I have moved on, believing that we have all learnt our lessons.

“As I said in my statement following the Supreme Court Judgement on July 6, I cannot hold any grudge against any individual. I have forgiven all those who played any role in my persecution and likewise, I have asked for forgiveness from all those that I wronged in the past. Our focus should now be about Nigeria. The major issue on the table for discussion is how to strengthen our democracy, rebuild our economy, stop the spate of insecurity, improve the conditions of living of our people and generally chart a course for the development of this great country.

“We will be insulting Nigerians if, as the 2019 elections draw nearer, our deliberations is about personal benefits or how to pay compensation for wrongs done to an individual.

“As for my political future, we just need to continue to engage with others, listen to advices and exchange ideas because the decision is not that of mine alone. It is for all our supporters and associates to deliberate upon and take a decision based on the overall interest of our people. It is my prayers that Almighty God will guide us right in all our decisions and make a positive turn-around in our country”, he added.

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