Following the allegations by the National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, on Sunday, that he left the party for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), because of his lust for the office of the President, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki has responded to the allegations.
In a statement released on Monday and personally signed by the Senate President himself, Saraki said he had always restrained from joining issues in the media with Asiwaju Tinubu based on his respect for him, adding that his response was to prevent the public for consuming his (Tinubu) ‘wrong, false and mischievous impression about the reasons for his decision to exit the All Progressives Congress (APC)’ as facts.
The former Kwara Governor who expressed surprise that the former Lagos governor would peddle falsehood about his defection to be about automatic ticket, oil blocs and sharing of resources, noted that he has been consistent in his complaints to APC leaders including Tinubu, about the style of the executive in relating with the legislature, particularly on issues that will eventually require legislative approval, as he said the National Assembly was neither constructively engaged nor carried along in key policy decisions.
“The Buhari administration consistently treats the legislature with contempt and acts as if the lawmaking body should be an appendage of the Executive. To me, this is unacceptable,” he said.
Saraki who also stated his own side to the reasons for the massive defection of members from the ruling APC, part of which he attributed to the manner in which “many stakeholders who worked strenuously to get the administration into office have now been excluded in the government and not consulted on key decisions as necessary and expected.
In fact, some of them are treated as pariahs. A party that ignores justice, equity and inclusion as basic pre-conditions for peace, unity and stability cannot sustain its membership and leadership.
I can also vividly recall that he himself always expressed his displeasure with the style of the government and also mentioned that he had equally suffered disrespect from the same government which we all worked to put in office,” he added.
Insisting that his major reason for exiting the party was because his “people and associates in the past three years have suffered alienation and have been treated as outsiders in their own party, adding that “opportunities to seek redress and correct these anomalies were deliberately blocked as a government-within-a-government had formed an impregnable wall and left in the cold, everyone else who was not recognized as “one of us.”
The Senator representing Kwara Central further said that his relationship with the APC National Leader was uncertain and complex, dates back to 2014 when he (Saraki) and other leaders of the APC opposed the Muslim-Muslim ticket arrangement about to be foisted on the APC for the 2015 polls.
“It should be noted that he has not forgotten the fact that I took the bull by the horns and told him that in the interest of the country, he should accept the need for the party to present a balanced ticket for the 2015 General Elections in terms of religion and geo-political zones. Since that time he has been very active; plotting at every point to undermine me, both within and outside the National Assembly.”
Saraki further explained that the most recent point of disagreement between Tinubu and himself was that while he expressed worries that the Buhari administrative style and attitude could change in the next four years to deliver the positive changes promised Nigerians, Asiwaju chose to support Buhari to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-West.
“It is clear that while my own decision is based on protecting the collective national interest, Tinubu will rather live with the identified inadequacies of the government for the sake of fulfilling and preserving his presidential ambition in 2023. This new position of Tinubu has only demonstrated inconsistency — particularly when one reviews his antecedents over the years.”
He reiterated that he never discussed any such personal and pecuniary benefits with anybody and challenged anyone who has contrary facts to come forward with them.