The separation of powers theory is what shot Baron De Montesquieu to fame. His radical ideas which the then decrepit monarchy viewed with utmost suspicion was the remote cause of the popular 1789 French revolution which made France the first country in the entire Europe to jettison the monarchy for a republic. One of his quotes is apt and evergreen ‘When the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person, or in the same body of magistrates, there can be no liberty; because apprehensions may arise, lest the same monarch or senate should enact tyrannical laws, to execute them in a tyrannical manner.
The United States of America is a surreptitious antithesis of the wonderful check and balance theory in the sense that the Vice President is also the President of the Senate. This curious arrangement was deliberated upon by the founding fathers of the nation after the war of independence from Britain. The agenda was to make him a vote tie breaker as there are one hundred senators so he/she only comes in to cast a vote in the event of a tie or deadlock as the one hundred and one person. The founding fathers as a way of preserving the ideals of Montesquieu’s theory ensured that it was the Senate Majority Leader that presided over Senate meetings.
The Nigerian experience is more straightforward as every senator has an equal vote and the delineation of the constituencies puts the number at 109, an odd number that has no need for an external tie breaker. The position of the Senate President who also doubles as the Chairman of the National Assembly is very critical as he or she is supposed to represent the aspirations of the people especially the Man on the Clapham Omnibus at the apotheosis.
The worst thing to have happened to the Nigerian National Assembly was the emergence of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki as its Chairman and Senate President. My heart bleeds that he is occupying the same position once held by the Great Zik of Africa, Akweke Abyssinia Akweke Nwafor Orizu, Dennis Chukwudebe Osadebay, Joseph Wayas, Dr. Wilberforce Chuba Okadigbo, Ken Nnamani who saved this nation from the sinister Olusegun Obasanjo led third term agenda and David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark who blocked the western liberal imperialist same sex marriage agenda.
This is a man that has hardly done a day of honest labour all his adult life. He is not known to have practiced or made a mark in medicine if he ever even hung the stethoscope after his mandatory houseman ship and national youth service corps. He simply banked on his father’s vast contacts to become an executive director in the now defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN). He has no antecedent of spearheading any revolutionary idea in an era where the likes of Tony Elumelu of Africapitalism fame, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Fola Adeola, Jim Ovia amongst many others were blazing a trail.
Being a Simpleton was bad enough, being allegedly culpable in a bank collapse was simply unacceptable and a mortal sin to boot. In his late father’s rabid quest for raw power, depositors’ funds were liquidated to finance the 2003 elections that unseated the late Rear Admiral Mohammed Lawal whose only sin was asserting his independence from the overbearing Oloye of Kwara politics.
Bukola Saraki was hurriedly drafted from Abuja where he was serving Baba Iyabo as his aide on Budget never mind that I doubt if he can initiate an intelligent discourse on budgetary matters to succeed Lawal. He is another tragic case of a reluctant politician who then becomes sucked in by the lure of power and never lets goes till perhaps the cold hands of death does him part.
He has proven to more adept than the proverbial cat with nine lives. Firstly, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission seems to have turned a blind eye to his alleged ignoble role in the crash of SGBN which left turned many depositors into overnight paupers. 2002 was a terrible year in the memory of millions of Nigeria. I can recollect vividly how a successful businessman who was a philanthropist of sorts became a mendicant to pay his children’s school fees and wife’s humongous medical bills. His committee of friends had to set up an emergency fund appeal to send him and his family on economic exile to the United Kingdom to save them from something worse than Biafran starvation. His case file seems to have ‘disappeared’ or gone ‘away on leave.’ Old things seem to have passed away since the Heritage Bank deftly re-emerged from the ashes of the SGBN.
Secondly, he has used his immense financial resources to turn his trial at the code of conduct tribunal to a persecution and maligning of his person. Things have degenerated so badly that many idle senators led by Dino Melaye offered ‘ex gratis’ moral support to his ‘hardworking’ wife, Toyin Saraki. When the Panama Papers scandal broke out, he claimed his wife and her family were the ones who should have been on the dock of public opinion before her infamous denial. Loud silence once again from the financial regulatory agencies!
Thirdly, He has followed his late father’s populist footsteps of massively impoverishing the populace and then attending to their ephemeral needs of simply providing them minuscule meals. His attempt at morphing into a folk hero has ended up in a gargantuan fiasco. The infuriated hoi polloi who eyes are opening more widely than that of Adam at the Garden of Eden nearly stoned him which prevented him from praying openly at the Mosque barely a year into his becoming the nation’s number three man.
Fourthly, His greed and lust of power is extremely nauseating. This was a man who betrayed his father who was both his financial and political benefactor by fielding the incumbent governor, Alhaji Abdulfattah Ahmed who was then his Chief of Staff against his younger sister, Gbemi Saraki, the choice of the then Strongman of Kwara politics. The shock of his eldest son and child’s betrayal must have hastened his joining of his ancestors barely a year after the election of 2011 that forced him into ‘premature’ political retirement in the manner reminiscent of how Samuel Goomsu Ikoku contested against his own father Alvan Ikoku and sent the educationist, activist, nationalist and politician into a non-pensionable retirement.
Fifthly, his avarice for filthy lucre is legendary. He and Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu a.k.a Jagaban are united in their belief of former governors having a mind boggling pension plan to take care of their whims and caprices even in death. Kwara is one of the most impoverished states in the African continent and they are providing a house in Abuja and Ilorin GRA alongside some other breath taking perks for the rest of his idle life. What manner of a law maker cum ‘law twister’ is this!
Many decent Nigerians are still in anguish over the non-confirmation of Ibrahim Magu’s appointment as the substantive EFCC Chairman only for the Turakin of Ilorin to stoke the flame and unduly heat up the already charged and tensed political stratosphere.
Saraki responded to a quip by Senate Majority Leader, Ali Ndume who opined that it was hypocritical of the Senate to allow Saraki to continue in office while he is still in court battling the corruption allegations against him. His response was akin to that of the Biblical Pontius Pilate when he lamely contended that ‘“You are jumping into conclusion that he (Magu) was rejected because of the accusation. I don’t think there was anywhere we said he was rejected based on accusations.
“We have nominees that come all the time with different issues. Two weeks ago, we screened the Chief Justice of Nigeria and he scaled through.
“Now the EFCC chairman came and he did not pass the screening. Someone else will come and may pass. This is our constitutional role and I don’t think we should personalise or politicise this.”
It is instructive to note that the silver spoon kid made this statement in faraway Morocco where he was attending an African Summit on Climate Change and Food Security ostensibly on taxpayers’ funds. Never mind that it will be easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than for Kwara or even his immediate constituency, Kwara Central to ever witness food security in his lifetime.
It is sad that he is also a Kings College Lagos alumnus. This is an institution that has produced political greats like Anthony Enahoro who moved the motion for the nation’s independence at barely 30, Francis Akanu Ibiam who was the Governor of the defunct Eastern Region, Hezekiah Oladipo Davies who played a gallant role in the country’s struggle for independence and was a two time Minister in the First Republic, Adeniran Ogunsanya whose affiliation with the Great Zik of Africa was the only thing that caused him the gubernatorial seat in 1979 against Jakande who ironically lost the right to be described as Kings College Old Boy with his expulsion from the great college, Alex Ekwueme who was the nation’s vice president in the aborted Second Republic, Femi Okunnu, arguably the nation’s best Minister for Works and Housing despite his training as a lawyer among a host of men of timbre and calibre apologies to the late Dr. Kingsley Ozumba Mbadiwe of K.O knockout fame.
The Senate should do the right thing by redeeming itself through the purge of its greatest moral albatross. As long as it obstinately refuses to do so, it has murdered sleep and we certainly cannot afford a repeat of the Macbeth tragedy!