It’s blindingly obvious that the Bukola Saraki who was docked at the Code of
Conduct Tribunal Abuja on Tuesday, 22nd September, 2015, is weakened, diminished and reduced to a hollow husk. His stint as Senate President has become politically untenable and morally intolerable. But, rather than embrace this fact of life, he seems resolved to fight it.
And so Saraki resisted, for a while, the invitation to enter the accused box. He saw the accused box a proper coffin. He reckoned that if he stepped into that container and stayed in it, he would have actively participated in his own funeral.
Saraki was trying to avert the ugly optics of his appearance in that inquisition space. It was too late. He was already fatally wounded before he was boxed.
He had ruined himself by pursuing the fantasy of living a virtually impossible incongruence: He wanted to become the Senate President while being Bukola Saraki.
Saraki pinpointed the cause of his dilemma when he protested: ‘’ I am a firm believer of the rule of law. I have come here to subject myself before this tribunal. I strongly believe that I am here because I am the Senate President.’’
When Dr. Saraki intuited that ’’ I am here because I am Senate President’’, he made a correct self-diagnosis. But he was strangely unaware of the vein of truth that ran beneath his remonstration. He was right – with an equivalent of the rightness that visit past a dead clock twice a day.
Saraki meant to allude to political persecution. He had intended to assert that the charges of false assets declaration and anticipatory assets declaration filed against him were a mere pretext to punish him. He figures that the Presidency was bullying him for daring to become the President of the Senate.
Unbeknownst to Saraki, his ‘’I am here because I am Senate President’’ captures the real reason of his travail: Which is that he tried to be Senate President… while being Saraki!
Saraki, indeed, chose the most inopportune time to launch himself into national limelight. It should have been clear to him that he would be unable to survive in a prominent niche in the new zeitgeist. He was just too odd for the season.
Saraki, by the virtue of being Saraki, a living museum of baggage, should have never have attempted to vie for Senate President. He should have known that the burden of scrutiny would crumble him. It’s his ill luck that the accident of his becoming the Senate President happened as planned: because he was going to be the casualty.
The siren voice of ambition drove Saraki. He wanted to be Senate President, the third most powerful man in Nigeria. But the crisis he failed to anticipate was the natural character comparison that must result from his proximity to the upright duo of Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osibanjo in the power echelon.
‘’Senate President Bukola Saraki’’ is a proper oxymoron. The merger of the position of Senate President and person of Bukola Saraki represents a conflicted tension of meanings. His pathetic demeanor since he became Senate President Saraki shows the title and the man coexist in mutual attrition.
If Saraki were to resign today, he would be simply doing himself the favor of relieving of a self-consuming role in an unsustainable drama.
Saraki has always labored under the illegitimacy of his ‘’emergence’’. His Senate Presidency was conjured out of forged Senate rules and a flawed procedural format. Also the reinforcing the scam is the fact that he was elected ‘’unopposed’’ in an exercise where half of his colleagues, members of his own political party, were bodily absent.
To date, half of the Senate membership considers him as an impostor. Half of the people he is supposed to be leading are in court, challenging the validity of his claim to being the ‘’Senate President’’.
Saraki is not embarrassed by the contempt of half of his House. He carries on, even though the eighth Senate remains stuck in the strictures of his emergence. Apparently, the status of the Senate President, or its close approximation – pretender to the seat of the Senate President, matters more to him than the requisite credibility capital needed to do the job.
Saraki has been playing the nominal part of the Senate President – answering to the title of the Nigerian parliament, sitting on the lofty chair during the Senate session and hitting the gavel. But in reality, he has been no more than an infatuated mother rocking the cradle of her stillborn:
His Senate Presidency and Senate have never really begun. Much worse than that, his Senate and his Senate Presidency may never ever begin.
Saraki just seems incapable of winning either the respect of a sizeable number of his colleagues or procuring the promise of their tolerance of his person. He seems to emit an aura that they find abominably repulsive.
Now, the Nigerian Senate is not the congregation of honest people. In fact, it has –almost as a default configuration –a quota of characters that represent the cream of criminality. Today’s Senate boasts a pedophile (Sani Yerima) and a fugitive drug baron (Buruji Kashamu) as ‘’distinguished’’ members. The makeup of Saraki’s Senate is not much different from the one that had prompted ex-Deputy Inspector General of Police, the late Nuhu Aliyu, to lament, in the midst of a plenary session, that he was forced to share camaraderie with the fraudsters he investigated while in service.
But the Senate has historically settled for a leader that commands the perception of a threshold of decency that is slightly above the average of that of its lowest common denominators. Saraki doesn’t pass that test.
His implosion, when read dispassionately, is his past rebounding as his nemesis.
Saraki, from his central role in bankrupting his daddy’s bank to his two terms as Governor of Kwara State, had accumulated a streak of blemishes that makes him an anathema.
A measure of the man’s complexity is that his present distress could grow worse. He is a mine that has only been shallowly researched. He remains a promising ‘’The More You Look, The More You See’’ prospect.
Saraki is possessed of the delusion that he can wait this CCT saga out. He believes that if he stays resilient, the storm will fade eventually. And he will convalesce from the nightmare. And wax strong. And proceed to win the Presidency in 2019!
Saraki has always wanted to be President. He has come close to it as the Senate President, the number three man. He reasons it would be easier to notch the ultimate seat from this vantage spot.
This is hoping against hope. The reality is that his days in national prominence have expired. The passage of more time will incrementally make him a more toxic presence in his current station.
It’s hard to believe he can’t discern it’s time for him to reconcile himself to his political mortality.
That’s quite an irony for a man who, only three months ago, dazed us with a show of unprecedented punctuality!
On June 9, 2015, Saraki –according to the horse’s own mouth – ingeniously smuggled himself into the National Assembly Complex at 6.00 am, and hibernated at the car park, a clear four hours ahead of the scheduled commencement of the inauguration of the eighth Senate.
If Saraki has lost his understanding of the time and a sense of propriety, I am glad to do the charity of alerting him: It’s high time he resigned!
The thirteen count charges against him and his tangential conjugal culpability in his wife’s alleged fraudulent conduct as First Lady of Kwara State have effectively obliterated any vestige of Saraki’s fitness for office. He just can’t continue in his present post.
As a public service, Saraki needs to exit the Office of the President of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria without delay. In his current position, Saraki has become public nuisance, a shameful cynosure.
His continued association with the headship of the legislative arm of Nigeria projects his battle with the law on the screen of national cinema. And this compels the whole nation to watch the plague metastasize in the news cycle.
We need a break from Saraki’s intrusive movie. We can’t keep on watching the saturation coverage of the criminal trial of the ‘’Senate President’’. He needs to separate himself from that title and sort out himself. An entire nation cannot continue to pay him the tribute of compulsory attention.
Even if he doesn’t care about the sensibilities of the public, Saraki should resign as a personal favor to himself. He increasingly humiliates himself as he struggles to retain relevance amidst serious charges.
He needs to resign urgently. While clinging to his leadership position, Saraki, the accused, drags the Senate along –like the tortoise dragging its shell- and uses the institution as his shield.
He needs to step aside and defend himself against accusations of wrongdoing. Not bewail the President’s supposed assault on the Senate President.
But being the central character in his own tragedy, Saraki seems fated to persist in processing his ruin until he consummates his self-destruction.
Emmanuel Uchenna Ugwu; @emmaugwutheman, emmaugwu.com