By Mumini Abdulkareem
Former deputy National Publicity Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, on Sunday, said the Buhari government has concluded plans to arrest and arraign the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki.
This development is coming just as Kwarans including political scientist, gubernatorial aspirants and political stakeholders in the state bore their minds on Saraki’s declaration to contest the seat of the president in 2019.
Since Saraki joined the race for the top seat last Thursday in Abuja by declaring his intention formally at a gathering of selected members of the Not-Too-Young group, the issue has gone viral in social media platforms and political circles in the country.
Following several threats by the National Chairman of the APC, Adams Oshiomhole that Saraki must be impeached for defecting to the PDP, the presidency has reportedly been closing in on the latter’s affairs.
Saraki, in a recent media report alleged that the presidency would not be comfortable having him as the Senate President challenging President Buhari for the top seat.
But according to the former deputy spokesperson of the ruling party, (Frank) said the planned arraignment was part of a renewed onslaught by the presidency and the leadership of the APC against Saraki.
In a statement issued in Abuja, he said the aim of Aso Rock and the Adams Oshiomhole-led APC is to embarrass Saraki and frustrate his chances of being nominated by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to run against Buhari during the party’s upcoming presidential primary election.
Frank said: “Events of the last three years has shown that the raison d’être for President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration’s ferocious attacks against Saraki is based on their phobia that the President of the Senate may contest for President and defeat Buhari in 2019.
“Now that their worst fears have been confirmed by the formal declaration of Saraki to contest the 2019 presidential election, last week, they are once again frantically foraging for criminal charges to hang on his neck.
“I have it on good authority that the fresh plot to arraign Saraki this week is the first out of the series of strategies being perfected by Buhari and his cronies at their ongoing ‘business trip’ in China.’
“Recall that in a statement on Friday, I had alerted the nation and the international community that Buhari’s APC Governors, Senators and heads of security agencies studded entourage is not in China to boost trade between both countries but to plot the removal of Saraki and how to rig the 2019 elections in favour of the APC.
“Recall that I have continued to cry out against the unmitigated intimidation, harassment, persecution, intolerance, vilification, arrests and kangaroo trial being unleashed against those opposed to Buhari’s re-election bid – to the exclusion of his key allies with corruption allegations against them.”
The former APC chieftain, however, called on Nigerians and members of the international community not to be deceived by the fresh charges being concocted by the Presidency against Saraki.
He insisted that the bogus charges being drafted by the assigned security agencies are simply to frustrate Saraki’s presidential ambition the same way they have tried unsuccessfully in the last three years to emasculate his leadership of the Senate and remove him from office as President of the Senate.
“It is a proven axiom that no democracy can survive without a vibrant and virile opposition, therefore any attempt to gag opposition political parties in the country and decimate their presidential aspirants for the 2019 elections amounts to another coup against democracy and I call on Nigerians and friends of Nigeria to remain vigilant and continue to speak-up to safeguard the nation’s hard earned democracy.
“Above all, I don’t want Nigerians to forget that Adams Oshiomhole has vowed to get Saraki out of office by hook or crook. He also threatened to end Saraki’s dominance of Kwara politics in 2019.
“Now that Saraki has thrown his hat into the ring for the presidential election, the party in connivance with the presidency is out to sully his name and stop him from participating in the upcoming election.”
Meanwhile, Kwarans have reacted to the declaration of Saraki for the seat of the president describing it as a welcome development and one that will give the state national and international recognition.
According to the immediate past national spokesperson of the APC, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, Saraki offers the greatest hope for the country at this critical time of our history.
He said, “I think it offers the greatest hope for Nigeria at this time that everybody is wondering what next and seeking a new deal for Nigeria. Anybody that thinks Nigeria deserves a better deal than what we are currently having should be excited about Dr. Bukola Saraki becoming the next President.
“With due respect to other aspirants, Saraki remains the best for the job with immense political skills and capacity to reunite the country now that we find it difficult to identify one. His declaration holds a lot of excitement and hope for an otherwise disillusioned nation and if he gets the ticket, I am confident of him winning since it would now be a choice between the face of one who represents a new generation and the old order that has not really taken us anywhere.”
Similarly, Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Justice, Hon Razak Atunwa described it as a welcome development adding that Saraki remains the right man for the job.
He said, “We needed a generational change to position the country for the governance of the 21st century and the Senate President is equipped with the intellectual capacity to provide that leadership this time around just as his campaign slogan to grow Nigeria.
In his words, former chairman of Kwara State Scholarship Board, Hon Isiaka Mogaji said Saraki from inception when he joined the APC sacrificed a lot to ensure that the party wins the election including spending his personal fortune in his capacity as the leader of the North Central Zone then but the leaders didn’t appreciate that and with his knowledge of the executive and legislature, he has the capacity to govern the country.
“As a firm believer in the rule of law unlike someone who believe in the pyramid, he (Saraki) knows the nitty-gritty of governance and very familiar with the terrain. He will provide digital leadership, not the analogue we are going through now,” he added.
Also reacting to the issue, a political scientist, Prof Hassan Saliu called on Kwarans who are divided over Saraki’s declaration to find a common ground.