Saraki: Is APC becoming vulnerable?

When the All Progressives Congress (APC) was formed
in 2013, the primary aim of the party was to wrest
power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), after
16 years in the saddle. A year after coming on board as
a political party, the dream of APC came to fruition as it
unseated the PDP at the federal level through an
overwhelming support from Nigerians.
The pack of goodwill the party received across the
length and breadth of the country before, during and
after the March 28 elections was as a result of the
acknowledgment by Nigerians that the party will uphold
the principles of internal democracy and focus on
issues that concern the citizenry. All seem to be going
‘rosy’ in the party until different vested interests started
angling to take charge of the leadership of the
legislative arm of government.
The intrigues turned the once knitted fold into a den of
mutual suspicion. With the outcome of the Senate
leadership election going the way of Senator Bukola
Saraki, it was only a matter of time before the epic
battle within the APC becomes the lead headline.
A slice of the brewing crisis was an extract from an
article penned by the Lagos State Publicity Secretary of
the APC, Mr. Joe Igbokwe, where he poured venom on
the Senate President and his supporters.
Igbokwe said: “Because of the inordinate ambition of
one man and lust to be the Senate President by all
means, Saraki ignored the President, the Vice-
President, APC governors, Senators, House of
Representatives members etc. to sacrifice the unity of
his party. Senator Saraki compounded the problems of
APC, and mounted a major roadblock for its smooth
take-off considering that it is just coming to power after
16 years in opposition.
“This man put spanners in the works and initiated a
serious internal crisis within the ruling party that nearly
made Nigerians who massively voted for APC to begin
to lose hope.
Saraki and his gang of 40 thieves devastated the
master plan of our great party to choose the right
people to serve as the Principal Officers in the National
Igbokwe’s statement which came at a time Saraki is
being tried at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, was seen
in some quarters as an instigated position, thereby
creating suspicions that the whole drama of trial is
sheer power game or fight against graft. For some
analysts, the choice of Saraki as the sacrificial lamb of
President Muhammadu Buhari’s anti-graft crusade
appears curious, owing to the inconsistency with the
modus operandi of the trial.
For those in this school of thought, the trial of Saraki is
more political than a genuine resolve to unravel any
wrongdoing and establish justice. Apart from the
obvious political underhand, a number of procedural
flaws have been identified in the trial, these flaws to
analysts call for concern about the future of a
government that is fully yet to take-off, over 100 days
after assuming office.
For example, some analysts identified Section 24 of the
Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act that contends
that any charge to be preferred against any person
under the Act can only be handled by the Attorney
General of the Federation (AGF) or whoever he (the
AGF) has authorised to do so.
They averred that this provision is completely non-
existence in the Saraki prosecution. They posit that at
the time of starting the trial, President Buhari is yet to
have his own Attorney General and the government is
unable to wait to get an AGF in place before proceeding
with Saraki’s trial simply because to appoint one, he
has to appear before the same Saraki and others for
Thus, the political meditation that the plan is to get rid
of Saraki before appointing an Attorney General and
others sounds plausible.
Another hitch identified in the probe is the flagrant
nature that the CCB ignored its own procedure because
Section 3 (d) of the Act requires it to offer the accused
public officer the opportunity to either deny or admit to
the noncompliance or breach and that it is only in the
event of a denial that the matter can be forwarded to
the Tribunal.
Section 3(d) of the CCB Act states that: “The functions
of the Bureau shall be ….to receive complaints about
non-compliance with or breach of this Act and where
the Bureau considers it necessary to do so, refer such
complaints to the Code of Conduct Tribunal established
by Section 20 of this Act in accordance with Section 20
to 25 of this Act.
Provided that where the person concerned makes a
written admission of such breach or non-compliance,
no reference to the Tribunal shall be necessary.”
Interestingly, the provision was sidelined as the Saraki
team claimed to have first known about the charges
through the regular news medium like every other
person. Since the trial started, one question has been
constant at many fora and it is the fact that would
government had put Saraki on trial if he was not the
Senate President? The other leg to the question is: will
government continue with this trial if he bows out as
Senate President?
For one, Saraki’s sin, as it were, is in two-fold. First, he
challenged the authorities and defeated them to
become the Senate President. Some analysts noted
that the president had committed himself by saying he
belongs to nobody but all.
They averred that the president pretended he didn’t
mind the emergence of Saraki but also asked at the
same time that party supremacy must be upheld. In the
alternative, therefore, he wanted Saraki to make use of
the list the party gave him for senate leadership
positions since a few of the “president’s men” were
But Saraki didn’t see the opening as well as the trap
and announced that his hands were tied. He went
ahead to announce the other list preferred by the
senators since it is the prerogative of the senators to
choose their leaders. As it is, the whole arrangement is
to limit Saraki’s option and choke him out of his current
seat that seems to threaten the existence of the
president, it is either they watch him go down fighting
or bounce off the other option.
The other option to have him resign and elect a new
president of the senate seems remote, but whether he
goes down fighting or resigns and the situation opens
up the door for a new senate president, the more
vulnerable APC becomes and the president had better
prepare to live with a most likely PDP Senate President.
Presently, there are insinuations that even with the
Saraki trial yet to start, the party leadership has begun
to subtly look for a replacement from the North-
Central, preferably a Muslim. So, what does the
equation look like in the zone? If it is not predominantly
new intakes, it is populated more by Christians, who are
The implication of this, therefore, is that the APC may
be playing to the hands of the PDP, whose 49 is not
only intact, but will bountifully reap from APC’s divided
house (like the Tambuwal experience) and most likely
elect a David Mark as Senate President.
In sum, some analysts have argued that with the way
Saraki is being treated, it is clear that the APC seems
handicapped to protect their own and would offer
anyone for sacrifice whenever it chooses to if such
person is seen as anti-establishment. With the centre
not holding for the party, the variegated colours of the
change emblem are fast blurring out and it is only left
to be seen how the party will tie its shoe lace for the
task ahead.



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