Nigerians woke up Tuesday morning to the stories of siege on the residence of Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Saraki, and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu.
Saraki later relieved the saga to his colleagues saying he escaped by the “intervention of the almighty God”.
According to online news medium, Premium Times, hatching of the plot began Monday night with the police divulging content of a letter signed by the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris, inviting Saraki for questioning. Saraki was invited in connection with Offa robbery which occurred in his state of Kwara in April.
Police had in the aftermath of the incidence alleged links between the suspected robbers and Saraki.
An earlier invitation to Saraki to appear before police investigators, the paper noted, was suddenly withdrawn and a written explanation from the senate president demanded instead.
The letter on Monday said Mr Saraki was needed to clarify aspects of his statement. He was ordered to report to the police by 8 a.m. on Tuesday. Mr Saraki said the letter was delivered to his office at 8 p.m. on Monday.
However, as Saraki’s convoy purportedly planned to leave his house for the police’s offices, a detachment of police personnel stopped the convoy from moving out of the street.
A security source knowledgeable about the actions of the police told Premium Times the plan was for Saraki to be arrested by the police at that point.
In what appeared more like a choreographed happenstance than a coincidence, operatives of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) arrived at the residence of Ekweremadu around the same time.
A letter of invitation signed by EFCC’s Head of Operations, Mohammed Abba, seen by Premium Times requested Mr Ekweremadu to report to the EFCC by 10 a.m. Tuesday. The letter carried Tuesday’s date of July 24.
The commission said it was inviting Mr Ekweremadu in connection with a case of “conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering” which it claimed to be investigating.
“This commission is investigating the above mentioned case in which your name feature prominently and the need to obtain certain clarification from you become imperative,” the letter partly reads.
How it failed
A principal actor in the anti-Saraki camp of the Senate revealed Tuesday morning that the plan, which he described as the second attempt at taking over the Senate, after the mace theft saga, was thwarted on the altar of “hypocrisy”.
The paper noted that the source said a few senators led by Ahmed Lawan sidelined other loyalists of the president, including the Parliamentary Support Group, led by Abdullahi Adamu, in executing the latest plan.
“There is too much hypocrisy and selfishness. Those who planned it wanted to be the sole beneficiaries of the leadership change,” the senator said, asking not to be named.
A decision among the senators on who succeeds Saraki, in the event they succeeded, reportedly punctured the plan.
Two names were prominent: Lawan, who was leading the putsch, and Ali Ndume, a former Senate Leader who was removed from his post and suspended allegedly at the instance of Saraki.
A senator from the South-south Premium Times reported said that presenting an “acceptable candidate” like Ndume, who he described as a “friend of all” would have helped the cause of the Buhari loyalists. Ndume however claimed ignorance of the plan when contacted Tuesday afternoon.
He was quoted thus: “I just got back to Abuja last night. I cannot comment. Some of us told them that it would be illogical and amount to insensitivity to take the Senate President slot to the North-east, the same zone as the Speaker of the House of Representatives”.
And since the Speaker [Yakubu Dogara] is very strong at the House of Representatives and there is nothing we could do about him, the best thing was to keep the Senate President position in the North-Central,” another APC senator explained.
The altercations over who takes the throne eventually led to the leakage of the plan by the Buhari loyalists to Saraki who played a fast one.