The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki has, for the first time, opened up on the intrigues of his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal over asset declaration issues and the role of his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying that his refusal to support a Muslim/Muslim ticket for the APC in the 2015 presidential election is largely responsible for his ordeal.
Saraki who wrote a reply to an earlier article published last Saturday by Dele Momodu in his Pendulum column said the position he took on the running mate issue was his “original sin” and those whose ambition were truncated by the position had been doing everything possible to frustrate him.
He said: “I have also been accused of helping to frustrate some people’s opportunity to emerge as President Muhammadu Buhari’s running mate. But I have no problem with anybody. My concern was that it would not be politically smart of us to run with a Muslim-Muslim ticket. I doubt if we would have won the election if we had done this, especially after the PDP had successfully framed us a Muslim party. I felt we were no longer in 1993. Perhaps, more than ever before, Nigerians are more sensitive to issues of religious balancing. This was my original sin.
“What they say to themselves, among other things, was that ‘if he could conspire against our ambition, then he must not realise his own ambition as well.’ For me however, I have no regrets about this. I only stood for what I believed was in the best interest of the party and in the best interest of Nigeria. We have got to that point in our country when we no longer believe that anyone could stand for anything based on principles and convictions alone. Moreover, in the growing culture of media crucifixion and presumed guilt; it is rare to find a voice like yours that calls for fairness and justice.”
Saraki also chided his party for the role it has played so far in his trial. He said: “Let me make this point clearly. I do not expect to be shielded from prosecution because of my contribution to APC, if there was genuine basis for such action to be taken against me. But I have every reason to expect not to be persecuted by the party that I contributed so much to build. The New PDP may not have given APC victory in 2015, but it was an important factor in the dynamics that produced that victory.
“And with all sense of modesty, I was an important factor in the formation of New PDP; in leading that group to the APC; in ensuring our group’s support for the candidate during the primaries and in mobilising substantial resources for the election. For these, I have not expected any special compensation. Rather, I only expect to be treated like every loyal party member and accorded the right to freely aspire.”
On allegations that in seeking to be Senate President, he struck a deal with the PDP and made it possible for one of them to be the Deputy Senate President, Saraki said he knew it was the dominant narrative across the nation, but it was far from the truth.