Defection: Saraki Fires Back At Tinubu

Senate President Bukola Saraki

Senate President Bukola Saraki has said that he would not keep quiet and allow Sen. Ahmed Tinubu, the National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), to create what he called “wrong, false and mischievous impression” about his defection.

Saraki said this on Monday in Abuja while responding to reports credited Tinubu on the reasons why Saraki and Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal left APC.

Tinubu was quoted to have said that the duo left because they could not get what they had wanted.

Saraki, in his response, said he would not watch Tinubu present his prejudices as facts for public consumption even though he had always restrained from “joining issues” in the media in view of the respect he had for the APC leader.

“I have been consistent in my complaints to all leaders of the APC, including Tinubu.

“A situation where the National Assembly is not constructively engaged or carried along in key policy decisions, particularly those that will eventually require legislative approval, is not in the best interest of the nation.

“No genuine leader of the legislature will be comfortable that the Presidency will simply write a terse letter to the National Assembly on key issues which the federal legislature is expected to later deliberate upon and give its approval.

“The Buhari administration consistently treats the legislature with contempt and acts as if the law making body should be an appendage of the Executive. To me, that is unacceptable.

“In the same way, I find it very objectionable that 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.”

He alleged that some of them were treated as pariah, stressing that a party which ignored justice, equity and inclusion as basic precondition for peace, unity and stability would not sustain its membership and leadership.

“Let me redirect the attention of the former Governor of Lagos State to the aspect of my July 31, 2018, statement.

“In the statement, I announced my exit from APC and I emphasised that the decision “has been inescapably imposed on me by certain elements and forces within the APC.

“Forces, who have ensured that the minimum conditions for peace, cooperation, inclusion and a general sense of belonging did not exist.”

Saraki further insisted that those APC elements had done everything to ensure that the basic rules of party administration, which should promote harmonious relations among the various elements within the party were blatantly disregarded.

“All governance principles which were required for a healthy functioning of the party and the government were deliberately violated or undermined.

” Also, all entreaties for justice, equity and fairness as basic precondition for peace and unity, not only within the party, but also the country at large, were simply ignored, or employed as additional pretext for further exclusion.

“The experience of my people and associates in the past three years is that they have suffered alienation and have been treated as outsiders in their own party.

“Thus, many have become disaffected and disenchanted.

“At the same time, 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 recognised as “one of us”.

“This is why my people, like all self-respecting people would do, decided to seek accommodation elsewhere.”

Saraki stressed that he had raised those issues with Tinubu in the series of meetings he had with him when he was seeking reconciliation.

According to him, Tinubu has also complained about the style of leadership of the present government.

“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.

“I also made the point that whatever travails I have gone through in the last three years belong to the past and will definitely not shape my decisions now and in the future.

“However, during those meetings, the point of disagreement between me and him was that, while I express my worry that there is nothing on ground to assure me that the administrative style and attitude would change in the next four years, he (Tinubu) expressed a strong opinion.

“He said that he would rather support a Buhari on the hospital stretcher’ to get a second term because in 2023, power will shift to the South-West.

“This Tinubu’s viewpoint was not only expressed to me but to several of my colleagues. So much for acting in national interest.”

Saraki said that while my own decision was based on protecting collective, national interest, Tinubu would rather live with the identified inadequacies in 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 antecedent over the years.

“Again, let me reiterate my position that my uncertain and complex relationship with Tinubu has been continually defined by the event of 2014 when myself 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 geopolitical zones.

“Since that time, he has been very active, plotting at every point to undermine me, within and outside the National Assembly.”

Saraki said it was therefore, surprising that Tinubu tied defection to automatic ticket and sharing of resources.

“Members of the public will recall that when the issue of my decision to quit APC came to the fore and many APC leaders were holding meetings with me, a newspaper owned by Tinubu published a false report about the promise of automatic ticket, oil block and other benefits.

“I immediately rebutted their claims and categorically stated that I never discussed any such personal and pecuniary benefits with anybody.

“My challenge that anybody who has contrary facts should come forward with them still remains open.”

The Senate President stressed that democracy is a system that allowed people to freely make choices.

According to him, it is his choice to join others to present a viable alternative platform for Nigerians in the coming elections.

“Tinubu and leaders of the APC had better respect this decision or lawfully deal with it. As for me, Allah gives power to whom He wishes.

“Human beings can only aspire and strive to fulfill their aspirations,” he said.

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