By Mumini AbdulKareem
Following the siege on the Abuja residence of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki by security operatives on Tuesday, some senators reportedly nursed fears and uncertainty over the safety of the former Kwara State governor, National Pilot can report.
The incident which attracted global attention initially raised concerns in high quarters back home in Kwara State.
Saraki, who told fellow senators during Tuesday’s plenary that he escaped the siege through divine intervention later announced the defection of 15 senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The development is coming just as a top member of the House of Representatives and chairman of a top committee told this reporter from Abuja that most of the National Assembly members perceived to be Saraki supporters are now living in “fear of the unknown”.
In a telephone chat with this medium on the issue from Abuja yesterday, a North Central Senator who craved anonymity because he was not allowed to officially speak on the matter said they were afraid at a stage while the whole drama lasted adding that it was a huge relief for them to see the Senate President in safe condition.
“The incident raised concerns among some of us and even those that are Pro-Buhari because of the widespread support Saraki has among senators.
“At a point, we became afraid about his general safety because of the feelers we were getting.
“You know the police cordoned off his Lake Chad crescent residence as early as 6:00am and they were ordering car owners to come down from their vehicle and even pedestrians were not left out of the harassment.
“The security operatives were heavily armed we learnt during the operation which we believed was reminiscent of the sting operation that was carried out against some judges sometimes ago. But we are happy that God later saved him (Saraki) from the troubling circumstance.
“There is no going back, we have left the party for good and for those that are saying this might be political suicide, let’s wait till the election slated for February. We have already had precedence and more senators will join the train as time goes on. At the end of the day, it is victory for our democracy”, the senator added.
But shedding more light on how Saraki was able to escape the police blockade, one of his close aides quoted by ThisDay newspapers said, “the Senate President was smarter than the security agencies”.
According to the report, the source who pleaded anonymity said Saraki was alerted about the “evil plans” by the security agencies, when on Monday, at about 8pm, he received a letter, asking him to report to the police over the Offa robbery case, which was said to have been concluded before now.
Apparently acting on security report about the plans by security agencies to prevent him and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, from presiding over the sitting Tuesday, the Senate President was said to have left his Maitama residence late Monday night and moved to a “house very close to the National Assembly,” even though another source said Saraki slept in the National Assembly.
To divert the security agents’ attention, his aides, which included security men, were said to have left Saraki’s residence in Maitama, Abuja about 8:30am in a convoy, and apparently acting the script of their bosses, the police were said to have blocked the convoy, thinking the Senate President was inside his official car.
But they were wrong, as Saraki was said to have entered the National Assembly before then, and settled down in one of the offices, waiting for his colleagues to arrive the chambers.
When he was sure that many of the senators sympathetic to his political course were more in numbers in the chambers, the Senate President, spotting white flowing Agbada, entered his office about 10:35am and later moved to the chambers at exactly 10:40am, the report added.
Saraki eventually presided over the Senate and announced the defection of 15 senators from the APC.