Dr. Bukola Saraki is not a bastard although some people will like to call him that after his recent shenanigans in the Senate. He is the son of Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki (Turaki of Ilorin) the former strong man of Kwara State. Forget the rumours that he was born out of wedlock and was only adopted by Turaki’s wife as her own at a tender age. Forget the rumours that he broke his father’s heart by his treachery and skullduggery that accelerated Turaki’s eventual death.
Bukola has shown that he is his father’s son and is prepared to acquire and hold on to power no matter whose “ox is gored”. He and his co-travelers like Dino Melaye of the “Otuoke by Road “ fame or Abubakar Atiku the sly old ex-customs officer appear determined to truncate the change we all desire.
On 9th June 2015 Saraki and his co-travellers including his former friends in the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, executed their plan to acquire the Senate presidency and the Speakership of the House of Representatives.
In an apparently well choreographed move, Bukola Saraki along with some All Progressives Congress, APC, mutineers joined the PDP senators and elected Saraki as the Senate President and Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP as Deputy Senate President. This was contrary to APC’s well-publicized preference for Ahmed Lawan and George Akume. Once the Senate coup was executed, the House of Representatives was bound to follow and it did when it elected another PDP turncoat called Yakubu Dogara as the Speaker of the House of Representatives against the Party’s preference for Femi Gbajabiamila and Tahir Monguno. Also another “Saraki-like” member called Lasun Sanusi from the State of Osun of all places “submitted” himself to be elected as deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives. Sanusi (not the principled former CBN Governor) has been promptly disowned by his party in Osun for his acts of treachery and disloyalty.
Lest we forget, Saraki and 10 other senators defected from the PDP to the APC only last year to the warm embrace of the founding fathers of APC. There were also a host of other defectors in the House of Representatives including Yakubu Dogara. However, the recent judgment of the Supreme Court in ABEGUNDE V OSHA on the illegality of defections tends to cast doubt on whether those actions were indeed valid or not. Nonetheless most of the defectors were given APC tickets and won under the banner of the fledgling party. They were accommodated in the APC and yet it is the same party that they are defying with impunity.
It must be remembered that Saraki had dismissed the formation of the APC as a marriage that would not last. In an interactive session with correspondents last year he had said that in no time, the three alphabets that make up the abbreviation APC might go separate ways. He said “A” would go its own way; “P” would also go a separate way, while “C” would follow another direction.
When he eventually defected to the APC he proceeded in characteristic volte-face to pour invectives on his PDP colleagues when he said that the retrogressive and repressive policies of the PDP government motivated him to follow others to APC. He berated the then ruling party, describing its members as a bunch of failures. It is this same Saraki that has now colluded and connived with the PDP/FAILURES to bring his predictions of dissolution of the APC to pass.
In yet another big slap on the face of his party, Bukola Saraki sought to invoke the “my hands are tied” excuse, first made popular by Honourable Justice George Sodeinde Sowemimo at Obafemi Awolowo’s 1962 treason trial when he said he would love to have let Awolowo free but that his hands were tied because other persons had been convicted, etc.
In a letter dated 25th June, 2015 to the Chairman of APC, Bukola Saraki placed reliance on some arcane recently conjured Senate standing rules to justify his continued defiance of the party’s preference. He said his “hands were tied” by Senate standing rules, which prevented him from acting on APC’s preferred candidates for the senate principal offices. He then went on to pledge loyalty to President Buhari etc. This letter was yet another example of a self-serving attempt by Saraki to defy the same party that gave him a ticket to run. Again Yakubu Dogara and his supporters took cue and engineered the disruption of the sitting of the House of Representatives thereby truncating the adoption of the APC’s preferred candidates for the principal offices in the House of Representatives.
Honourable Justice Sowemimo’s statement while candid was hugely condemned as inappropriate then and so condemnation must also follow Bukola Saraki’s self serving statement to the party that gave him a ticket to be elected.
The APC Constitution
The most recent version of the APC Constitution anticipated this level of treachery and disloyalty and made copious provisions that are reproduced below. However, one would advise additions of offences like “sleeping with the enemy” and “resurrecting the dead/dying”. After all wasn’t PDP dying until Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara resurrected it?
Article 21 of the APC constitution is the relevant article and its relevant provisions are Article 21 (A)(i,ii,iii,vii), (B)(i&ii), D(i,f,g,h & ii)
Offences against the Party shall include the following:
A breach of any provision of this Constitution;
Anti-Party activities or any conduct, which is likely to embarrass or have adverse effect on the party or bring the party into hatred, contempt, ridicule or disrepute;
Disobedience or negligence in carrying out lawful directives of the Party;
Any act of impersonation of the Party Offices or its holders;
Giving wrong information to any Organ of the Party or unauthorized publicity of a Party dispute without exhausting all avenues for settlement or redress within the Party;
Fictionalization or creating parallel Party Organs at any level;
Flouting the rules, regulations and decisions of the Party; engaging in dishonest practices, thuggery, continuously being absent from meetings to which he/she is invited without reasonable cause; carrying out anti-Party or other activities which tend to disrupt the peaceful, lawful and efficient organization of the Party or which are inconsistent with the Aims and Objectives of the Party;
Carrying arms, offensive weapons or missile at a political rally or procession, Party meetings, Party Officers or voting centres other than in pursuance of a lawful duty;
Any other conduct or act prohibited by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Electoral Act, Electoral Guidelines or which by the Rules and Regulations of the Party, constitutes an offence;
Filing an action in a Court of Law against the Party or any of its Officers on any matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the Party without first exhausting all avenues for redress provided for in this Constitution;
In cases of alteration of Delegate lists, falsification of nomination results, and or tampering with the processes of internal democracy of the Party, the offender shall be liable to expulsion from the Party and be prosecuted.
B. DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURE:
The Procedure for the hearing and determination of complaints or allegations are as follows:
A complaint by any Member of the Party against a Public Office holder, elected or appointed, or another member or against a Party organ or officer of the Party shall be submitted to the Executive Committee of that Party at all levels concerned which shall NOT LATER THAN 7 days of the receipt of the complaint, appoint a fact-finding or Disciplinary Committee to examine the matter.
The Executive Committee concerned shall not debate or discuss the complaint or allegation before sending it to the Disciplinary Committee or fact-finding
Committee which shall hear, determine and cause its decision to be transmitted to the relevant Executive Committees of the Party concerned.
The Executive Committee concerned upon receipt of the report of the fact finding or Disciplinary Committee shall not later than 14 days thereof either ratify or reject the decision of the fact-finding or Disciplinary Committee.
The Executive Committee of the Party at the level where a complaint or allegation is made shall have original jurisdiction to her and determine such complaint or allegation provided that the assumption of jurisdiction by such Executive Committee shall not breach the rules of fair hearing.
Where either the complainant or the Party against whom a complaint is made, makes out a prima facie case of bias, intimidation or undue influence or likelihood of same by the Executive Committee seized with original jurisdiction to hear and determine such a matter or a member thereof or where the complaint is against a Party organ at the level, making it impracticable to appoint a fact finding or Disciplinary Committee, such complaint shall be transferred to the appropriate organ seized with appellate jurisdiction to hear and determine such matter save in the case of allegation against the principal Officer(s) in the National Executive Committee of the Party making it unjust to allow such Principal Officer(s) to participate in the appointment of a Fact- finding or Disciplinary Committee, the National Executive Committee shall exclude such Principal Officer from the entire arbitral process.
For the purpose of ARTICLE 21 of this Constitution:
The Ward Executive shall be the adjudicatory body of first instance over complaint and or allegation from the Polling Unit level.
The Local Government Area Executive Committee shall be the adjudicatory body of first instance over complaints or allegations from the Ward level.
The State Executive Committee shall be the adjudicatory body of first instance over complaints or allegations from the Local Government Area! Area Council level.
The Zonal Committee shall be the adjudicatory body of first instance over complaints or allegations from the State Chapter in the zone.
The National Executive Committee shall be the adjudicatory body over complaints and allegations from the zones
The right of appeal of an aggrieved member of the Party is hereby guaranteed.
The procedure for appeals shall be as follows:
i. Where a member is not satisfied with the decision of any of the adjudicatory organs of the Party, he or she shall have the right to appeal within 7 days of the decision to the immediate appellate body in the Party as prescribed in this Constitution.
ii. An appeal shall be determined by the appropriate appellate body within 14 days from the date of receipt of the appeal by the appellate body concerned.‘
iii. Where a decision or action taken by an Organ of the Party is appealed against, the decision or action shall remain in force and binding until the appeal or appeals had been determined. The decision or action shall cease to be binding if the appellate body upholds the appeal.
iv. An appeal from the decision of the Ward Executive Committee, on a complaint originating from the Ward shall lie to the Local Government Area Executive Committee and thereafter to the Local Government Area Congress which decision shall be binding on the parties.
An appeal from the decision of the Ward Executive Committee, as an adjudicatory body of first instance, on a complaint originating from the Ward shall lie to the Local Government Area Executive Committee and thereafter to the State Executive Committee which decision shall be binding on the parties.
An appeal from the decision of the Local Government Area Executive Committee on a complaint originating from the Local Government Area Chapter shall lie to the State Executive Committee and thereafter to the Zonal Executive Committee which decision shall be binding on the Parties.
An appeal from the decision of the State Executive Committee, as an adjudicatory body of first instance; on a complaint originating from the Local Government Area Chapter shall lie to the Zonal Executive Committee which decision shall be binding on the Parties.
An appeal from the decision of the State Executive Committee on a complaint originating from the State shall lie to the Zonal Executive Committee and thereafter to the National Executive Committee which shall be binding on the Parties.
An appeal from the decision of the Zonal Executive Committee, as an adjudicatory body of first instance, on a complaint originating from the State Chapter shall lie to the National Executive Committee and thereafter to the Board of Trustees which decision shall be binding on the parties;
An appeal from the decision of the National Executive Committee on a complaint originating at the National level shall lie to the Board of Trustees and thereafter to the National Convention which decision shall be binding on the parties.
D. PUNISHMENT OF ERRING MEMBERS:
The Party shall have power to impose the following sanctions on members in accordance with the nature and gravity of their offence:
d) Debarment from holding Party Office;
e) Removal from Party Office;
f) Suspension from the Party;
g) Expulsion from the Party;
h) Debarment from contesting Office on the Party platform.
In appropriate circumstances the Party shall cause the prosecution of the Member or erstwhile member of the Party concerned.
ii. Where it is proposed to expel a member of the Executive Committee, political office holder, or a member of a Legislative House from membership of the Party, such a proposal shall be submitted to the National Executive Committee, which after deliberations on the matter may confirm or reject the proposal;
iii. A decision to expel a Member of the Party taken or confirmed by the National Executive Committee shall be submitted to the Board of Trustees for ratification;
iv. The National Executive Committee shall on receipt of the report of the fact- finding committee make a decision on the matter within fourteen (14) days;
v. Any member who files an action in court of law against the Party or any of its officers on any matter or matters relating to the discharge of the duties of the Party without first exhausting the avenues for redress provided for in this Constitution shall automatically stand expelled from the Party on filing such action and no appeal against expulsion as stipulated in this Clause shall be entertained until the withdrawal of the action from Court by the Member;
vi. Each organ of the Party shall have power to remove a Party officer or officers as the case may be from office at that level for failing to discharge his/her responsibilities, neglect and dereliction of duty or misconduct during his tenure of office through a vote of no confidence passed against such officer/officers by a two-thirds majority of the members of the appropriate organ and voting subject to such officer’s right to fair hearing.
It is clear from the foregoing provisions that Dr. Bukola Saraki , Yakubu Dogara and their co-travellers have crossed the “red line” and need to be sanctioned very quickly to prevent the dissolution of the APC. The mutineers are clearly caught by the provisions of Article 21 (a) i, ii & iii) and the other disciplinary procedures leading to expulsion from the Party must be immediately followed to bring sanity and discipline to the party.
The Possible Fallout
What happens when the culprits are expelled from the party? The renegades will have the option of defecting to another party and invoking section 68 of the 1999 constitution to prevent their seats from being declared vacant claiming that the party is in crisis. Will the PDP accept them in order to swell their ranks and claim majority in the Senate and House of Representatives if possible? If they do will they allow them to retain their Presidency and Speakership or will David Mark and other carpetbaggers suddenly re-emerge to truncate the change we desired? Will Bukola Saraki, Dogara and their shadowy sponsors and co-travellers float another party to split the APC for the benefit of the PDP? Will they go to Court to stall their expulsion and create a “Chinese standoff”? Will Saraki’s sins be resurrected in order to whip him in line? Will the APC close ranks and vote Ekweremadu out as Deputy Senate President? Will Lasun Sanusi be forced to step down? Will Buhari change his principle of non-interference? Will a new crisis be resurrected in the PDP? Will APC receive new defectors from the resurrected PDP crisis in order to checkmate Saraki and others? Will Saraki and others “prevail; defy the party and cause John Oyegun’s removal? Is Saraki’s real aim the takeover of the Party machinery at the National level? Is Buhari’s anti-corruption stance the real target of Saraki and his co-travelers?
These questions and many more need to be answered very quickly or we shall be looking at the complete disintegration of the party known as APC and Saraki’s prediction of A, P & C all going in different directions will surely come to pass.
What then becomes of the dreams of patriots like Ogbonaya Onu, Bisi Akande, Muhammadu Buhari, Nasir El-Rufai, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Rochas Okorocha, Kayode Fayemi, Audu Ogbeh, Aminu Masari , John Oyegun, Chris Ngige and several others who fought for change on the platform of the APC?
In this unfolding sad movie Dr. Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara are the villains and no amount of whitewash can turn them into heroes in the eyes of the APC faithful. They betrayed the party and are well on their way to truncating the change we desire !!!!
—Ejiwunmi wrote from Lagos