Anybody who bought the cock and bull story about the federal government banning codeine and Tramadol obviously did not watch the two political rallies that held in Akwa Ibom State recently. I saw old men, many of them above 60 years old, jumping like they were on steroids, and telling lies that would leave the Devil green with envy. They were contradicting and condemning themselves with reckless abandon. And their equally ‘stoned’ audience clapped and giggled, with very few of them able to remember what they just heard, or why they were clapping in the first place. Only Tramadol, qat, glue and codeine, or a combination of all, could have induced such hyperactivity.
But I don’t want to talk about Uyo, Ikot Ekpene or even Bauchi today. I have a more ‘pressing matter of urgent national importance’ at hand: the seeming one-point agenda of both the APC and the Muhammadu Buhari presidency to impeach Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Against the backdrop of its 49 members, in a Senate of 109 members, 53 of whom are allegedly of the All Progressives Congress (APC), no Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senator has the ‘right’ to be Senate President. But if your name is Bukola Saraki, then, you probably have the right. And you know what? It is legit! And not even all the veins on Adams Oshiomhole’s clean-shaven head, and neck, can change that.
And talking of Oshiomhole, I will not join the Dancing Senator from Osun in alleging that the APC chairman does not have a First School Leaving Certificate. I am, however, convinced the former Edo State governor either reads his Constitution upside-down, or the statute book may have lost some vital details in the course of interpreting it from English to Oshiomhole’s native language.
That is the only explanation that can suffice for the conviction with which the APC chairman is going about his crusade for Saraki’s impeachment. He adds “constitutionally” almost as an afterthought when he says Saraki must be impeached. That the Kwara strongman has stolen APC’s crown and taken it to PDP. That he must either resign or be impeached.
In fact, if you listen to Oshiomhole pontificating about how Saraki took APC’s crown to PDP, you would almost think that the APC made Saraki Senate President.
But anybody who was not on Tramadol when that election held, three years ago, would recall that the APC did everything to stop Saraki. It was only a handful of APC senators, a splinter of Saraki’s loyalists within the Senate, who joined hands with the PDP to make the former Kwara State governor the primus interpares of the Senate. At the time that was going on, if I my memory still serves me well, the bulk of APC senators were in some curious meeting with the Presidency and its goons elsewhere, plotting how to install Ahmad Lawan as Senate President. They were supposed to driven in a pre-victory convoy to the National Assembly complex, where they would perfect what had been agreed upon.
But Saraki, his APC loyalists, and the PDP pulled the rug from under their feet. Before the pro-Buhari APC senators could rush back to the chambers, it was all over. Too late!
For the avoidance of doubt, PDP, not APC, made Saraki Senate President. That was why he had to go into an accord with the PDP to give it the Deputy Senate President slot.
I still recall how the outsmarted senators and their party were almost bursting a vein, swearing that the Saraki election would not stand. But it was all hot air. Saraki was on the side of the law. And, lest we forget, his election has stood, for the fourth year running.
Watching the mindless defections from APC to PDP and PDP to APC, and back again to PDP, APGA, ADC and even outright partylessness, in the case of Senator Tejuoso, and the putrid defecations that come out of the defectors mouths in justification of their defections, one is convinced that there are still several other mind-twisting substances NAFDAC has yet to take off the list.
It is even worse with us, their followers, who seem to swallow everything they say and then go ahead to break our heads over them, believing just everything they want us to believe. We must be on something cheaper than what our politicians are sniffing. That’s why there’s this inexplicable national amnesia.
Like they did with Atiku, they tell us Saraki is a thief and must, therefore, resign. We soon join the chorus, forgetting that none of the thieves leading the treble of this national sing-song has ever resigned from anything. They forget that our politicians are like the proverbial tortoise heading to its in-law’s: promising not to return until it is disgraced. Our politicians don’t leave office on their own volition. They have to be disgraced out of office. It is then left to the APC and the Presidency to perfect a way of disgracing him out of office. But while they are at it, they must also recognise the right of Saraki to put up a fight. And they must also not forget that he does not fight like a bully. He fights intelligently!
Meanwhile, all that effort to compare Saraki to Sen. Godswill Akpabio is outright intellectual timidity – or maybe someone is trying to be smart by half.
Akpabio resigned because he had no choice. Saraki did not resign because he has a choice. Akpabio resigned because he did not have the law on his side to stay on. Saraki is staying on because he has the law on his side.
But that has not stopped politicians trying to draw a parallel between them. They claim Akpabio is a man of honour, high morals and integrity – qualities they allude are lacking in Saraki. I won’t fault them. It’s just that I can’t laugh!
I guess I must be the only person foolish enough to think that, as Minority Leader, Akpabio’s office was tied to the party. He could not have left the minority party to join the majority party, and still retained his position of Minority Leader.
Saraki, on the other hand, is the president of the Senate, a position which has, by convention, been reserved for the majority party, but which can be given to just any senator – including APGA senators.
So, if I were Saraki, I would not resign. Not because it is not proper to resign, but because that is what his traducers want. They know that there is very little or nothing they can do, constitutionally, to kick out Saraki, so they are blackmailing and stampeding him to resign. They know they no longer have the numbers (two-third majority) to impeach him. They only have the numbers (simple majority) to elect a new Senate President, if Saraki resigns.
Their best bet, therefore, is to wait till 2019. They either go to Kwara and rig him out (because only rigging would stop his returning to the Senate) or they wait till he returns to the Senate in 2019, to make sure he never returns as Senate President. For I doubt if Saraki is honestly plotting to be President of Nigeria in 2019, as some of his opponents would want us believe.
But Saraki, who is now seemingly having the last laugh, having outsmarted the Presidency and APC, should not expect us to march in the streets in his support when his opponents get their act together. For as he is plotting to stay on, others are plotting to see his back. And as we say in my neighbourhood beer parlour, every drug has an expiry date.
Until then, however, Saraki’s opponents, who, by extension, are also Yakubu Dogara’s enemies, must be high on expired Tramadol to think that the two lawmakers would recall their colleagues from vacation when they are not sure of what pranks their traducers are up to. No blackmail about budget, election funds and funds for infrastructure would change the situation.
Saraki knows that all the calls for reconvening the National Assembly have nothing to do with the appropriation bill or funding for INEC. Thankfully, those making the calls also know that Saraki knows this. What is now going on is the battle for the mind of the gullible citizenry. Each camp is hiding its own selfish interest behind a veneer of national interest, even as what they are really trying to achieve is very clear: each camp is trying to incite the populace against the other camp.