Again, APC, Saraki Trade Words Over 2019 Presidency
The acrimonious relationship between the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki, came to the fore again yesterday after they exchanged words over who will emerge victorious in the 2019 general election. Saraki, who quit the ruling party recently yesterday declared that his new party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), would win the 2019 general election and produce a new president for the country. However, the APC immediately dismissed the Senate president’s statement, admonishing him and his new party to reorganise its shaky platform and produce a challenger to the incumbent president first before thinking about wresting power from the party in 2019.The APC also vowed to defeat him in his own domain during the coming elections. LEADERSHIP reports that Saraki had made the declaration in Ilorin, Kwara State, while addressing ward and local government delegates from the old and new members of the PDP in the state during a harmonisation meeting held at the Government House Banquet Hall, Ilorin. The Senate president said: “In 2019, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) will produce the president. If we emerge victorious at the federal level, all of us will be the beneficiaries. But the APC admonished the opposition to get a presidential candidate before it can begin to make such statements, adding that it was sure to defeat the Senate president even in his ward. APC national publicity secretary, Mr Yekini Nabena, said Nigerians now know the reality about the former ruling party, PDP, and are not sympathetic to the party anymore. “Let them put their house in order and have a presidential candidate first, then we will talk. I am sure we will win the Senate president even in his own ward.” Speaking on the PDP in Kwara State, Saraki told the delegates that the party needed fairness, unity and hard work to reclaim the state. “With your support we will win the state, too. All of you here are the key players in Kwara politics. With unity of purpose, no party can contest with you.” The Senate president expressed confidence that ‘the future is better and brighter than the past’ as he promised to ensure cohesion between the old and new party members in the state. He clarified that as the leader of the PDP, he had no anointed candidate in the forthcoming elections in the state, even as he assured delegates to the meeting that he would only support the best and the most popular candidates among the people. He therefore warned party elders against using his name to interfere with the process “I am assuring all members that there will be equity, internal democracy and justice. It is not going to be winners take all. As far as I am concerned, everybody here today belongs to our political structure. There is nothing like old or new PDP. We have all become one PDP. “I am very sure that the future is bigger and brighter than the past. I want all of us to be united for the progress and development of Kwara State. As for the politics of the state, nobody can wrest the power from us if we are united. By the grace of God, in the forthcoming elections, we will emerge victorious both at the federal and state levels,” he said. Saraki insisted that he was not going to impose any candidates on the people but that candidates would emerge through fair and competitive processes. “I implore party leaders and elders not to drop my name to impose unpopular candidates. I don’t have candidate for the National Assembly. All of us will collectively choose who becomes the next governor. There will be equity, internal democracy and justice,” he said. Saraki pledged that there would be no discrimination and that every person would be carried along. “We will ensure that there is no faction but one PDP. We will ensure that meetings in the local government areas take place in one venue. And we will all work together for the interest of the party. I want to assure you all that as far as I am concerned, everybody belongs to one PDP family and there is no favouritism of one man over the other. I know that when we defected many of your leaders entertained fear that once I come we will take over everything, but there is nothing like that,” he stated. APC Making Saraki Recurring Decimal –Senators Meanwhile, the chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isah Hamma Misau, and his counterpart in the Committee on Banking, Insurance and Other Financial Institutions, Senator Rafiu Adebayo Ibrahim, have said that the persistent attack on the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, by the APC had inadvertently made him a recurring decimal in the nation’s political discourse. In a statement issued by the duo yesterday, they said the energy being expended by the APC should rather have been directed at solving national matters requiring urgent attention. Misau and Ibrahim, who defected recently from the APC, said the ruling party was not fair to Nigeria by focusing on one individual and making him the subject of all discussions instead of telling Nigerians what APC had done in the last 38 months it had been in power. “This is the first time in the history of the country that the ruling party will leave the issue of its achievements and start blaming its failure on just one individual, no matter who the individual is. It is also the first time a ruling party will plan to hoodwink Nigerians by saying everything wrong under its watch is due to the action and inaction of one man. “APC has devoted all the time and knowledge of their national chairman, national leader, publicity secretary, four senators and two presidential aides to the daily abuse of Saraki, such that it appears as if Saraki is the only politician in Nigeria today. “They have made Saraki the issue in Nigerian politics today. If these individuals devote the energy they are exerting on Saraki to finding solutions to the security problems, economic crisis and collapse of infrastructure, among them, they will come out with some action plan, except they are only skilful in mischief making.” The duo noted that the ruling party was only trying to distract the Senate president from his 2019 presidential quest. “We can see through this plot. The plan is to get Saraki so engrossed in the battle for survival in the Senate and the pummeling from the APC cabal such that he will have no time to pursue his aspiration for 2019. However, this is a short time strategy. It will not work. That is why the man remains unfazed by the antics. “We are surprised that all the decisions that the Senate took as an institution are now blamed on Saraki. Are we also going to give the credit of all the achievements of the Senate to Saraki as well?” they asked, recalling some of the legislations concluded by the Senate. Senators Misau and Ibrahim lamented that fellow senators were now being economical with the truth due to political expediency. “You blame a man for what an institution lawfully did. Is this not dishonest? Senate Leader Ahmed Lawan who moved the motion for our adjournment till September 25 and the Minority Leader Senator Godswill Akpabio who seconded the motion are in APC, yet they kept quiet when all the falsehood was being peddled (to the effect) that Saraki “unilaterally and hurriedly adjourned the Senate”. “These senators kept quiet about their roles simply because they want to be good boys. When the motion for adjournment was carried by voice vote, no dissenting voice was heard. “Many people who are grandstanding now do not care how history will record their roles. How can those who played key roles in the Senate now turn round and be blaming everything on one man?” The two senators insisted that the 8th Senate under Saraki did well not to allow itself to be a mere appendage of the executive, but an independent arm of government, even as they cautioned the APC against causing further unrest in the upper chamber “We will however warn the APC that they will meet a match in those of us in PDP if they try to foment trouble in the Senate whenever we resume. They have made many attempts to subvert this Senate, including stealing of our mace, brutalizing of members of staff of the Senate, invasion of the Senate complex with hooded and masked security agents, refusal to sign important bills, using security agents and anti-corruption agencies to intimidate members and the leadership as well as initiating malicious prosecution against members”, they said.