The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki (photo: above) may have subtly engineered the politically incorrect walkout by PDP senators (minus Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu) from the hallowed red chamber of the Nigerian Senate on Thursday October 29, 2015 – paving the way for the confirmation of the ex-campaign director of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Saraki would never have become President of the Senate without the help of the PDP senators. After the ruling APC found themselves outnumbered by the main opposition PDP in the red chamber that morning – after naïve 51 APC senators answered to the call by mysterious APC conveners to assemble at the International Conference Centre – to settle internal rifts and wrangling within the APC, Saraki in cahoots with PDP senatorial elements staged a coup de grâce with 57 votes on the floor of the senate on June 9, 2015 and elected Saraki as the chairman of the 8th National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Enter the momentous most controversial, most discussed, most maligned, most read and most postponed confirmation hearing of a ministerial nominee, one man, in the history of Nigerian legislative business – the ex-governor of Rivers state, Rt. Hon. Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi.
Saraki diplomatically allowed PDP senators, the main opposition to demonize Amaechi on the senate floor, vent their anger on Amaechi’s indictment, the petitions against Amaechi; and they all exhibited their vituperated anger against Amaechi, a man who single-handedly managed an organized campaign train on a pre-planned campaign trail – who vehemently worked assiduously to bring down an entrenched Nigerian presidency.
Saraki feigned ignorance of his legal and political travails with the CCT and the APC leadership – all the while totally aware of a negative outcome if Amaechi is not confirmed. The presence of the APC national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun and other APC national leaders who accompanied Amaechi to his ministerial screening – was a subtle reminder to Saraki of the ramifications of a negative outcome. When the right time came, Saraki struck with ruthlessness accustomed to wily politicians who want to survive in the Nigerian shark-infested political milieu. The PDP senators led by the politically naïve Senate Minority Leader Godswill Akpabio fell into Saraki’s rat trap.
After the staged walkout by PDP senators and at the end of confirmation of ministerial nominees earlier screened by the Senate with Saraki presiding, the political gingoism and subtle political machinations of Saraki became obvious.
It dawned on PDP senators that they had been taken on a smooth ride by Saraki and dumped when it mattered most to Saraki and his APC’s aggregated democratic image. In his many battles as the Senate President, with support from PDP senators, Saraki had managed to stabilize in office and garner all the courage he needed in the face of grinding opposition to his emergence as the senate president by his APC national leadership.
Saraki on Thursday dumped his PDP support base in the senate to set aside their obnoxious ‘Senate Rules’ to clear Rotimi Amaechi (photo: left) against the ‘recommendations’ of its Ethics Committee which advised that the matter be kept in view. It became very obvious to me at that point that the Senate President had abandoned the PDP senators mid stream. Saraki orchestrated an Amaechi confirmation exercise which had the trappings of a chess game.
With Saraki presiding over the senate in confirmation mode, the APC senators snubbed the recommendations of the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions and the Senate Minority Leader, ex-governor of Akwa Ibom state, Godswill Akpabio, having failed to convince the committee of the whole house to defer Amaechi’s confirmation (as Amaechi had gone to court to challenge his indictment), Akpabio and his PDP senators sheepishly walked out of the red chamber in protest, leaving Saraki to use his gavel to engineer the second coup de grâce of his senatorial career.
Amaechi is now a confirmed minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Dr. Bukola Saraki, Senate President and ex-governor of Kwara state – has used and dumped his erstwhile collaborators, the PDP senators – on the floor of the hallowed red chamber of the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Saraki may likely get a soft-landing by his elated party, the APC.