- After His Aso Rock Meeting & Plea From Pres. BUHARI
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki is in a fix right now. He is under pressure not to leave the APC for the PDP. He is also under pressure not to go to another party to contest for the Presidency.
Last week, the President, his Vice and some APC governors made deft moves to avert his impending exit to the PDP. He is believed to be the arrowhead of an impending mass movement out of the party to the PDP. Before meeting with Pres. Buhari, last Thursday, Saraki and other aggrieved bigwigs of the APC like Gov. Aminu Tambuwal (Sokoto), Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) had met with the leaders of PDP a day before in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State to weigh their options.
Saraki’s meeting with the President at the Presidential Villa last Thursday was set up by some APC governors like Alhaji Aminu Masari (Katsina State), Senator Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun State) and Senator Atiku Bagudu (Kebbi State) who after initial discussions with the Senate President at his Abuja residence last Wednesday prevailed on the President to meet with him to persuade him not to defect from the party. Over the last few days, top APC party leaders have all been persuading Saraki to stay back. The new APC national Chairman Adams Oshiomole has met with him. So also Otunba Niyi Adebayo. But will Dr. Bukola Saraki agree? Since the Supreme Court judgement absolving him of any allegation Dr. Bukola Saraki has renewed his bid for the Presidency and he is one of those bigwigs in APC who are rumoured to want to leave in a matter of weeks. He wants to be the next President. But he knows he can realise his ambition only in another party, like the PDP.
But President Buhari and Vice President Osinbajo have prevailed on him not to leave the APC. The President was said to have infact begged Sai Bukky not to leave and during their closed door meeting , the President was said to have offered Dr. Bukky Saraki a lot.
City People gathered that by the time the meeting was over the Senate President was non-committal in his response. City People gathered that the President and the top echelon of the APC believe that a Bukola Saraki leaving the APC might be suicidal for them considering all persecution he has been made to go through in the hands of the party.
Since he became President of the Nigeria’s Senate in 2015. Previously he was Governor of Kwara State from 2003 to 2011. He was first elected to the Senate in April 2011, representing the Kwara Central senatorial district, and re-elected in the March 2015 elections.
He is a current member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and previous member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and there are strong rumours that he maybe headed back to PDP.
After his re-election in the 2015 general elections, Saraki was on 9 June 2015 elected unopposed as President of the Senate by an across-the-party alliance comprising PDP and APC Senators. Saraki had faced stiff opposition from Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan who was a preferred candidate by a group of senators-elect within the APC. His deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, emerged after a tightly contested election.
His first trial began with the Code of Conduct Bureau which cited a 13-count charge of Corruption against Saraki. In charge number ABT/01/15, dated September 11, 2015 and filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Saraki is accused of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms Saraki had filed with the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara State. He was also accused of failing to declare some assets he acquired while in office as governor, acquiring assets beyond his legitimate earnings, and accused of operating foreign accounts while being a public officer.
An official of the Code of Conduct Bureau, Peter Danladi, stated in a court affidavit that the investigation of the various petitions of corruption, theft, money laundering, among others, against Saraki in 2010, was conducted jointly by the officials of the EFCC, CCB and the DSS. “The EFCC conducted its investigation on the various petitions and made findings which showed that the defendant/applicant abused his office, while he was the governor of Kwara State and was involved in various acts of corruption as the governor of the state. The defendant/applicant borrowed huge sums of money running into billions from commercial banks, particularly Guaranty Trust Bank, and used the proceeds of the loan to acquire several landed properties in Lagos, Abuja and London, while he was the governor of Kwara State.
Bukola Saraki became the first Senate President in Nigeria to be issued with arrest warrants, when Danladi Umar, Chairman of the Code Of Conduct Tribunal, issued an arrest warrant against Saraki on September 18, 2015.
On March 18, 2016, Kanu Godwin Agabi, Saraki’s lead counsel and ex-attorney general of Nigeria, led a delegation of 79 lawyers to defend Saraki at the tribunal.
Then came the EFCC issue when EFCC has reportedly indicted the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and some of his aides in the alleged laundering of up to N3.5 billion from the Paris Club Loan Refund. The EFCC investigation was presented to President Buhari in a reported delivered on March 10, five days before the senate rejected acting EFCC Chairman, Ibrahim Magu. However, in a swift reaction, Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to Saraki, Yusuph Olaniyonu, in a statement released, denied the claims.
He was discharged and acquitted. On Wednesday, June 14, 2017, the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) sitting in Abuja discharged and acquitted Saraki, in the 18 count charge of corruption in the false declaration of assets charge brought against him in September 2015 by the federal government. The tribunal held that the evidence proffered against Saraki by the federal government was bereft of probate value and manifestly unreliable to hold the charges against the defendant. The chairman of the tribunal Danladi Umar said the prosecution at the close of the case failed to establish a prima facie case against the defendant. Umar said the four witnesses called by the prosecution to testify in the matter gave contradictory evidence that were manifestly unreliable to convict the defendant or order him to enter his defense.
Umar further said that the report of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) put at the disposal of the tribunal was more of intelligence gathering rather than conventional investigation.
He said that to worsen the case, the defendant was never invited or be made to make statement so that truth can be unearthed if there are allegations against him.
Although the CCT judgment discharged Saraki of all 18 count charges on grounds that the prosecution failed to prove its allegations beyond reasonable doubt, the Federal Government of Nigeria, unexpectedly filed an appeal. The Court of Appeal then ordered the tribunal to try Saraki on three out of the 18 counts amended charges bordering on false declaration of assets brought against him by the Federal Government. The Appeal Court also held that the prosecution failed to adduce evidence to substantiate the 15 of the counts preferred against Saraki.
On Friday, July 6, 2017, the Supreme Court of the Federal Republic of Nigeria dismissed all 18 charges of corruption and false asset declaration brought against the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, by the Federal Government, following his election as Senate President. In a judgement on July 6, a five-member panel of the Supreme Court, led by Justice Dattijo Mohammed, held that the decision of the appeal court to agree with the tribunal in one breath and order Mr Saraki’s return to the CCT in another, amounted to a “judicial summersault.” Therefore, the court affirmed the June 2017 decision of the Code of Conduct Tribunal which ruled that the prosecution failed to prove the case against Dr. Saraki.
Many don’t know that Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has a rich pedigree which is a silverspoon upbringing. But how this handsome medical director who never liked politics from the beginning, turned around to beat his late dad to the game is still a mystery. He was born on 19 December 1962 to the family of Olusola Saraki, a Senator (1979–1983) and a one time Senate Leader of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. His mother Florence Morenike Saraki. He attended King’s College, Lagos, from 1973 to 1978, and Cheltenham College in the United Kingdom from 1979 to 1981 for his High School Certificate. He then studied at the London Hospital Medical College of the University of London from 1982 to 1987, when he obtained his M.B.B.S (London).
He worked as a Medical Officer at Rush Green Hospital, Essex, from 1988 to 1989. He was a director of Société Générale Bank (Nig) Ltd from 1990 to 2000. In 2000, President Olusegun Obasanjo appointed Saraki as Special Assistant to the President on Budget. During his tenure, Saraki initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill. Saraki also served on the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, where he was responsible for the formulation and implementation of several key economic policies for Nigeria.
In 2003, he ran for the governorship of Kwara State on the platform of the PDP, and won. He was sworn into office in May 2003. He ran again for re-election in 2007 and won his second term. As governor of Kwara, he led reforms in agriculture, health, education, finance and environment policy.
One of his major achievements was inviting displaced white farmers from Zimbabwe to Kwara State and offering them an opportunity to farm. This led to the establishment of Shonga Farms programme, which is now being replicated across Nigeria. His charisma among his fellow governors got him appointed chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ forum.
Saraki became Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum in 2007. Under Saraki’s Chairmanship, a reformed Forum was established, with a fully resourced secretariat, with a technical and administrative division that was entirely focused on delivery.[clarification needed] Under Saraki’s chairmanship, new processes such as the State Peer Review Mechanism were developed to ensure closer working and collaboration, and that best practices could be hared between states.
The mechanism allowed case studies to be shared between states in a number of policy fields. including power projects, primary healthcare centres for villages and other rural locations, roadworks, water, solar schemes and the construction of specialist hospitals and state universities. Projects such as these had previously remained undisclosed.
After two term tenure as governor of Kwara State, Bukola Saraki ran for the office of Senator, representing the Kwara Central Senatorial District. He won, succeeding his sister, Gbemisola Saraki-Forowa.