No amount of political brinksmanship by Senate President Bukola Saraki can water down the damning verdict delivered by the people of Kwara State on his four-year stint as head of the legislative arm of government.
According to the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO), this is clearer than any skewed self-appraisal Saraki may want to do to present himsel as “one of the best Senate Presidents in the nation’s political history” and, in the process, paint the Executive in bad light.
BMO said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju and Secretary Cassidy Madueke, that what Saraki got at the polls was instant judgement for his treachery to the All Progressives Congress (APC) throughout his tenure as Chairman of the National Assembly.
“We agree with the APC’s National Leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu that the outgoing National Assembly leadership was antagonistic to President Muhammadu Buhari for the better part of its tenure.
“His predecessor David Mark was in that office for eight years and hardly was there a time he was openly confrontational against the late President Umaru YarAdua or former President Goodluck Jonathan of the same political party, except when he accused the Jonathan administration of shielding the former Pension Reform Task Team leader Abdulrasheed Maina from prosecution and issued an ultimatum to the then President to break all links with the controversial civil servant.
“Not surprising, Benue State people rewarded Mark with what looked like an indefinite Senate tenure in recognition of his contribution to an excellent Executive-Legislature relations, until he opted against a return to the upper chamber.
“This cannot be compared to the blatant rejection of Saraki and every single one of his minions who stood for different elective positions only a few weeks ago in a state that he had an almost total control of for about 16 years.
“If this is not a just reward delivered by his immediate constituents for his antagonistic and self-centred leadership of the Senate, we don’t know what it is, especially as even a neophyte knows that all politics is local,” it said.
The group noted that Saraki’s response to Tinubu’s position showed that indeed the Senate under him was bent on imposing a ‘noxious, reactionary and self-interested legislation on the nation.’
BMO said: “In an apparent bid to paint the Executive bad, Saraki, through his media aide, had argued that President Buhari sent only 11 bills to the National Assembly in four years.
“But he also shot himself in the foot, nay,7 feet, by admitting that only two of the bills had been passed as at April 22! Two Executive bills passed in almost 4 years while more than 200 private members bills were passed within the same period!
“At least 26 bills passed by the Senate were of course rejected by the President for several reasons. These include the Peace Corps Bill which several senators including the leadership were believed to have backed for selfish reasons.
“We also know that the President initially rejected the Electoral Act (amendment bill) because the lawmakers left out the Smart Card Reader, aside from the very many errors and the ‘landmines’, including electronic transmission of results so close to election date”.
BMO added that all these happened because the National Assembly in general and the Senate in particular did not have the benefit of a self-less leadership.
“Aside from indulging in subterfuge, the Senate had the misfortune of having a President who would readily abandon his duty post or shut down the upper chamber at his whims and caprices.
“At other times, he would prefer to play the role of a bagman to a failed Presidential candidate as they gallivant around the world cooking up what is now famously known as the Dubai strategy which ultimately collapsed and cost him his only claim to fame.
“So there was really no time for the Senate President to concentrate on the job, to the extent that under his watch, National Assembly staff shut down the Legislative complex on more than one occasion, and also threatened to prevent the presentation of the 2019 budget in December last year if their demands were not met.
“And when it was time for what turned out to be a referendum on the tenure of Saraki and his co-travellers in the Senate, the ever-discerning Nigerian voting public ensured that only one out of the multitude of senators who joined him to move to the PDP was re-elected”.