Since the defection of some senators to the PDP from the ruling APC in the National Assembly, no day passes without a Saraki news. And as we get closer to the resumption of the Senate, Saraki-related news would come in thick and fast.
It is trite saying that since he became Senate President, Bukola Saraki had always been in the news, mostly for all the wrong reasons.
It started with his emergence as the Senate President. He went against the wishes of his party at the time, the APC, and got elected Senate President after making a deal with the PDP. The APC party hierarchy was livid with rage.
Before that could happen though, sections of the senate standing rules were altered surreptitiously to make it possible to elect him without the presence of some senators.
From that moment on, the presidency had tried to give him the boot. The bungled CCT trial was one of such moves. He survived that and many more.
Now, Saraki is in a battle to save not just his position as the Senate President, but also his relevance in the nation’s politics. His desire to be the number one man in the country had swollen the ranks of his enemies.
So who are those really invested in seeing the downfall of this Ilorin Prince?
Below are some of them in no particular order.
1. Hakeem Lawal
Outside of Kwara State, not many people know of Hakeem Lawal. In the state though, the people understand the king-sized grudge he holds against the Saraki’s.
His late father, Mohammed Lawal, was the governor of the state between 1999 and 2003. Mohammed Lawal owes his ascendant as governor to late Sola Saraki, the father of the Senate President.
But in 2003, Sola Saraki withdrew his support for Lawal because he wanted Bukola Saraki to become governor. There was a big falling out between the two men.
In the end, Saraki Jnr, with the support of his father defeated, Lawal in the 2003 polls. Since then, supporters of Lawal had dedicated themselves to bringing down the Saraki dynasty in Kwara. So far they have failed.
Hakeem Lawal is now the face of the Saraki vs Lawal feud. And he wants to become governor of the state just like his father. The only thing standing in his way is Bukola Saraki’s political machine in Kwara State.
He and supporters would give anything to see the end of Saraki’s dominance of Kwara politics.
2. Iyiola Oyedepo, ex Kwara PDP state chairman
Iyiola Oyedepo must hate the name Bukola Saraki to a degree others would find hard to comprehend.
In 2014, following Saraki’s defection to the APC from the PDP, Oyedepo and his supporters who were the core APC members in Kwara State, defected to the PDP in protest over the fact that the national APC handed over the APC party leadership in the state to Saraki.
They have been in the opposition PDP for 3 years now, only for Saraki to defect back to the party and assume control of the PDP; relegating him and his crew to minor roles once again.
Oyedepo and co couldn’t stomach machine the gross injustice of it all. He, as the erstwhile PDP chairman and the machinery of the party in the state, has moved back to the APC.
They have vowed to make sure the ‘anathema’ that is Saraki is dealt with once and for all in Kwara State.
3. Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN) depositors
SGBN was a Saraki family-owned bank that collapsed in 2003. The road to that point was littered with tales of mismanagement and outright stealing of depositor’s funds by the directors of the bank.
Prior to the collapse, Bukola Saraki was one of the top directors. He, along with others, granted themselves humongous sums in loans without collateral.
Several people lost their live savings when the bank collapsed. The most famous of the depositors is one Jay Jay Okocha who reportedly lost about $1 million.
Okocha, at one time, even reached out to then President Obasanjo to help him recover his funds.
One of the allegations against the Saraki’s was that the bank’s vaults were looted to fund political activities. Interestingly, the bank collapsed finally in 2003 the year Bukola Saraki and his sister Gbemisola Saraki won their respective elections as Governor and Senator respectively.
It is easy to make the connection between the billions used to secure victory in the elections and the demise of SGBN.
The depositors who lost their savings would rather see Saraki rot in jail than continue to bestrode the political terrain like a conqueror
4. Families of the victims of the Offa robbery
On the 5th of April, several armed robbers attacked 5 banks and a police station in a coordinated attack in Offa town in Kwara State.
At the end of over one hour of operation, about 30 people were killed including policemen.
It had since emerged that the robbers were hired political thugs working for the Senate President and the Governor of Kwara State. The criminals confessed to this publicly after they were caught.
Though it is not likely Saraki was behind the robbery, the fact that he was connected to them was enough for the families of the victims.
They would do anything possible to see the downfall of the man who, because of his patronage of thugs, had left them without loved ones.
5. Principled Nigerians
With the level of partisanship in the country, it is hard to believe there are people who have not chosen a side in the APC vs PDP battle for supremacy.
But they are around and wondering when Nigerians would open their eyes to the physical and mental slavery of supporting men like Saraki.
To be fair, these people dislike all dishonest politicians. Their angst is not just restricted to Saraki alone. They would tell you an unsavory thing or two about Bola Tinubu, Adams Oshiomhole, Rotimi Amaechi and the rest of them.
To them, most of our political leaders are complicit in the raping of the country to the state it is right now. You can bet all your blessings from God they would rather see Saraki removed as a factor in politics than have him as a leader.
6. Loyal PDP presidential aspirants
In this group are those who refused to betray the party back in 2014 when top dogs like Saraki defected to the APC.
They had stayed behind and stabilized the party after so many crises that bordered on who controls the party at the National level.
One such person is Ahmed Makarfi. The former governor of Kaduna State is not happy the PDP is giving to many concessions to those party members who came back.
After the irreparable harm they did to the party in 2014, Makarfi and his ilk feels it is deplorable to grant the returnees special favors.
Makarfi wants to be the PDP presidential flag bearer in next year’s elections. Everything was going to plan until the return of the likes of Saraki, Senator Kwankwaso, Governor Tambuwal of Sokoto State and Atiku Abubakar.
PDP loyalists like Makarfi are crying for justice. In the interim, they would support any move to scuttle the ambition of Saraki.
7. Hard-core Buharists
It is obvious why staunch supporters of the President hate Saraki. To them, he is the major architect of the problems dogging the presidency since he became Senate President.
They would never forgive him for defying the President to make a deal with the opposition to install himself and a minority PDP Senator as Senate President and deputy senate president respectively.
There are many other infractions, real and imagined, they would like to burn Saraki at the stake for.
8. APC Loyalists
As far as Saraki is concerned, the interests of APC loyalists and Buharists are completely intertwined.
Anything that hurts him is fair game to them and they would do anything to further that process if given the chance.
Now that Saraki is in the opposition PDP with his supporters, there are no blurred lines in the battle to make him suffer politically. He is a target with a giant bullseye shrouding his body.