Iheanacho Nwosu, Ndubuisi Orji and Lukman Olabiyi
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has told the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to stop wasting its time and resources in its bid to nail him at all cost, because it would fail.
Saraki said the current moves by the anti-graft agency would only end in futility. He noted that he had been investigated as Kwara State governor without blemish.
This was contained in a statement issued and signed by the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to theSenate President, Yusuph Olaniyonu.
In the statement, which was in reaction to a statement credited to the EFCC regarding Saraki’s tenure as governor of Kwara State, the Senate President said he was not bordered by all the moves of the EFCC, but urged the commission to be more professional and transparent in its conduct.
The statement read in part: “We have noted a statement issued by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) in reaction to a news story published by a national newspaper, based on the letter written by the commission to the Kwara State Government in which it demanded for all details of salaries, allowances, estacode or any other entitlement enjoyed by Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the President of the Senate, during his tenure as governor of Kwara State, between 2003 and 2011.
“While we have kept quiet over the series of letters sent to various institutions where Dr. Saraki had served or is serving in which the commission stated that it is conducting various investigations, we are compelled to make our positions known on the less-than-noble and patriotic objectives behind these investigations because we believe it is a mere witch-hunt exercise aimed at settling scores, laced with malicious and partisan motives.
“While we do not wish to obstruct the EFCC in the performance of its tasks, we reiterate our position that the commission should be professional, ethical, transparent and consistent. It cannot be deemed professional when the agency is not consistent in the application of its rules and the laws to all cases and individuals. The recent onslaught against the Senate President by the anti-graft agency is definitely a case of different laws for different folks.”
In the same vein, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), has accused the Federal Government of using EFCC to witch-hunt Saraki. The PDP, in a statement by its national publicity secretary, Kola Ologbondiyan, yesterday, said the “fresh seige” against Saraki was part of an alleged clampdown on opposition figures.
The party noted that it was obvious that the All Progressive Congress (APC) lead administration was panicky over the evidence it intends to present against the ruling party and President Muhammadu Buhari at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
The statement read in part: “The PDP alerts that the fresh siege against Senator Saraki is part of the larger plot for a renewed clampdown on key opposition figures and perceived political opponents of the APC administration, particularly to frustrate the determination to retrieve our stolen presidential mandate at the tribunal.
“The party says nothing else can explain the Federal Government’s obnoxious and distasteful resort to intimidation and evidence-fishing, just to nail Senator Saraki at all costs, even when nothing incriminating has been found in his stewardship as Governor of Kwara state, after several investigations.”
However, the EFCC, in a statement by its acting spokesman, Tony Orilade, said it was investigating Saraki’s earnings as Kwara State governor as well as his financial stewardship in the Senate.
Faulting the claim of the Senate President that it was after him for ulterior reasons and that he is a victim of persecution, the anti graft body said it took exception to comments that cast a slur on its legitimate assignment. (The Sun)
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Fred Itua, Abuja
Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has revealed how he lost his third term re-election bid to the chamber.
According to the Kwara Central senator, inadequacies, including Card Readers not used in over 70 per cent of his polling units, multiple voting, over-voting and other discrepancies, aided his defeat.
He stated that in spite of the reported inadequacies that attended the presidential and National Assembly elections in Kwara State, he wishes the candidates who emerged from the election the best of luck.
Saraki, in a statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, stated that while the election was generally peaceful, he still had issues with the outcome.
He added that the state chapter of his party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), will take a position on the right response to these inadequacies.
“However, whatever the final outcome of the election, I wish the candidates that have emerged all the best in their attempts to serve our people. It is my prayers that the good people of Kwara state will always have the best from any government both at state and federal levels.
“As a product of a family and a political structure that is, from its foundation, devoted to the service and development of our state and its people, it is my wish that our people will always have a good deal at all times. The new development will even provide the people the opportunity to compare and contrast. After all, the people who have emerged from last Saturday’s election are not my enemies. They are fellow Kwarans.
“As we prepare for the March 9, governorship and House of Assembly elections, let me reiterate my position that the candidates of the PDP in the election represent the best materials for our dear state, Kwara.
“Therefore, I enjoin our people to come out en mass on election day and vote for them. I am going to work with our party leaders to further sell the PDP candidates to the public.
“I thank all Nigerians for their goodwill and to enjoin all of us that as we patiently await the outcome of the Presidential election, we pray for peace, unity and genuine development in our country. It is also our prayers that, at all times, the wish of the people would always prevail in the choice of the leadership and the electorate will always enjoy the benefit of good governance,” Saraki stated. (The Sun)
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The Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, says he owes his appointment as minister to President Muhammadu Buhari and no one else.
In a statement issued on Monday in Abuja, the minister said it was “laughable’’ that anyone would seek to take credit for his appointment.
Mohammed was reacting to a statement by Dr. Doyin Okupe the Special Adviser (Media) to the Director-General of the PDP Presidential Campaign Council, in which he gave credit to the Senate President, Bukola Saraki for the minister’s appointment.
The minister said that the entire statement by Okupe, “is nothing but fiction writing, for which he deserves a hall of infamy award (in the fiction writing segment).
“Not one of the claims he made in his statement is true.’’
Mohammed challenged Okupe to make available to Nigerians any evidence he might have to support his assertion that the President sought the permission of Saraki to appoint him as minister.
“We understand that Dr. Okupe’s cheap attempt at mud-throwing is nothing but a proxy fight, rooted deeply in the politics of Kwara State.
“We are aware that Okupe’s boss is feeling the heat emanating from the `O To Ge’ (enough is enough) movement in Kwara.
“ And that even the strongest of men will become disoriented and disillusioned at losing the support of a people who once venerated them to high heavens.
“But that is a self-inflicted wound for which Okupe’s boss, an acclaimed slave master, has no one but himself to blame,’’ Mohammed said.
The minister said he was very proud to lead the ‘O To Ge’ movement that is set to finally bring down the Berlin Wall of political hegemony in
Kwara State and send Okupe’s boss into political oblivion.
He said the movement will also free Okupe himself from merely being his master’s voice, so he can fully devote his time to his new-found pastime – fiction writing. (The Sun)
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Sunday Aborisade and Tunde Oyekola
Hoodlums have invaded the Agbaji area of Ilorin, where the family residence of the President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki, is located.
No fewer than 11 people were reportedly injured when the hoodlums invaded the area and damaged 50 vehicles on Sunday.
Also, Solagberu and Aliagan mosques, as well as about five buildings in the area were damaged during the attack.
The incident, according to residents of the area, started at about 11.30am when armed thugs stormed the area and shot into the air to scare people away.
According to the President of Agbaji Development Association, Alhaji Olanrewaju Yusuf, the thugs were led by some stalwarts of an opposition party.
Yusuf claimed that one of the victims of the attack, a seven-year-old, died.
He said, “We learnt that a boy in Ode Alausa, just opposite this house (Saraki’s homestead), who was hit by a bullet has died. His name is Abubakare.”
When asked of about age of the boy, he said he was about six or seven years old. However, Yusuf’s claim could not be verified.
He said 11 people, who sustained injuries from gunshots, were taken to the General Hospital, Ilorin, and a private medical facility for treatment.
He said, “The thugs came around 11.30am and shot into the air. In fact, they were provided cover by the police. At least 11 people sustained injuries from bullets, while about 50 cars including that of Imam Aliagan were destroyed.
“The thugs also stole four motorcycles, money and jewelry from shops deserted by their owners”.
The violence, it was gathered, later spread to the Ajikobi and Omoda areas of Ilorin metropolis.
The Director General of the Peoples Democratic Party campaign council in the state, Prof. Suleiman Abubakar, said the violence was perpetrated by the All Progressives Congress leaders to instill fears in residents ahead of the elections.
The state Publicity Secretary of the PDP, Tunde Ashaolu, said the incident had validated the alarm raised by the Senate President on threat to his life.
Saraki hurriedly returned to Ilorin from Erin-Ile in the Oyun Local Government Area of Kwara State where he had gone to address a political rally.
Saraki, during his visit to Agbaji quarters, urged his people to remain calm, saying they should not be provoked to carry out a reprisal.
The President of the Senate visited the General Hospital, Ilorin, to sympathise with the victims of the attacks.
The police spokesman in Kwara State, Ajayi Okasanmi, said that he would forward his reaction through an SMS to one of our correspondents. His reaction was still being awaited as of press time. (Punch)
Ade Adesomoju, Abuja
A Grade I Area Court in Aco Estate, Lugbe, Abuja, has ordered the Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ibrahim Idris, to serve a summons on the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, to compel him to face a criminal complaint initiated against him by a private lawyer in respect of the bloody bank robbery in which many died in Offa, Kwara State, earlier this year.
The criminal complaint was initiated by an Abuja-based lawyer and rights activist, Oluwatosin Ojaomo, whose lawyer told the court on Monday that the IGP had given assurance that the necessary court papers would be served on the Senate President.
The police had said their investigations linked Saraki to the kingpin of the robbery operation.
The Senate President is the sole defendant in the criminal complaint initiated by the private lawyer.
The criminal complaint marked, CR/196/2018, was said to have been initiated by Ojaomo under Section 89(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act, 2015.
It sought Saraki to be summoned for allegedly ignoring police invitation to answer to an allegation involving the investigation of the suspects of the Offa robbery.
The complaint stated that Saraki’s alleged refusal to honour the invitation amounted to obstructing a criminal investigation and disobeying a public officer carrying out a lawful responsibility.
This alleged conduct, it said, was an offence punishable under Section 136 and 149 of the Penal Code Law.
The judge handling the case at the Grade 1 Area Court, Aco Estate, Lugbe, Federal Capital Territory, Abuja, Abdullahi Garuba Ogbede, had, on September 10 this year, ordered the issuance of a summons on Idris following Saraki’s absence from court.
On Monday, the complainant’s lawyer, Mr E. S. Marcus, said he was informed by a Deputy Superintendent of Police in the Legal Unit of the Nigeria Police Force Headquarters in Abuja, identified as Mahmoud, that the IGP had directed the legal unit to ensure the prompt service of the court papers on Saraki before the next hearing date of October 3, 2018.
He said, “The defendant is not in court. At the last date, the court issued a witness summons on the IGP to come and show cause why the police failed to effect service of the criminal summons, warrant of arrest and other processes on the defendant.
“The witness summons was served on the Nigeria Police Force by the court’s registry.
“However, we received a call from DSP Mahmoud of the Legal Department of the Nigeria Police Force headquarters, that the matter has been assigned by the IGP to a particular unit of the NPF to effect the service of the summons on the defendant and arrest him.”
Marcus explained in court on Monday that his client, who was supposed to bear the responsibility of serving Saraki with the complaint, had to resort to seeking the IGP’s involvement in accordance with Section 122 of the ACJA, when it became difficult for him to serve the Senate President.
According to the lawyer, the Inspector-General of Police is required, under the law, to either produce the defendant in court or attend court to explain why the defendant was absent.
He then applied to the court to grant a short adjournment to enable the police to serve the processes on Saraki.
The judge, Ogbede, granted Marcus’ request and adjourned the case till October 3.
The criminal complaint against the Senate President read, “Criminal complaint brought pursuant to Section 89(5) of the Administration of Criminal Justice Act (ACJA) 2015. Please, cause a summons for a direct criminal complaint on the defendant on the following terms:
“That you, Dr Bukola Saraki, on or about the 24th day of July, 2018 within the jurisdiction of this honourable court, did refuse to honour the invitation of the Inspector-General of the Nigeria Police Force to report at the police headquarters in FCT, Abuja to answer to an allegation involving the investigation of some criminal suspects involved in a case which the Nigeria Police Force is currently investigating, thereby obstructing a criminal investigation and disobeying a public officer carrying out a lawful responsibility.
“You thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 136 and 149 of the Penal Code Law, whereas, the complainant is praying the court to charge the defendant accordingly.” (Punch)
The ruling party kept mum about the senate president’s insistence that they lack the required number to impeach him
• Ruling party keeps mum
Romanus Ugwu, Abuja and John Adams, Minna
Senate President and presidential aspirant on the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Dr. Bukola Saraki, has said the the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) does not have the required number to impeach him.
The senate president said this in Minna, capital of Niger State, when he met with the state’s PDP members, to solicit for their support for his presidential ambition.
“They know that we are in the majority and whatever they want to do they know they don’t have the number,” he reiterated.
Saraki, however, ruled out the possibility of him stepping down when the senate reconvenes; as being demanded by the ruling party following his defection to the PDP.
“One thing is clear, I will not sacrifice the interest of the country for my personal interest, and, in the last three years, as senate president, I have demonstrated that my interest is second to that of national interest”.
He described as unnecessary, calls for the senate to reconvene from its annual recess.
“We did not adjourn the senate in the dark; there was a procedure where, at the end of the session, there was a vote and it was seconded that we should go on annual recess.
“So, it wasn’t anything done in the secret; everybody was there. It is not that some few people met somewhere and took the decision. “Everybody participated and everybody took the decision that we should adjourn for a normal, annual recess.
“The date that we agreed to resume was the same date we resumed last year and the year before, so, there is nothing abnormal about the senate adjournment.”
Saraki also pointed out that all he wants for the country is a country rooted in the rule of law and a democratic process.
“I am happy that even they that started making the noise have now agreed that they will follow the rule of law and due process.
“What is important to me is to ensure the independence of the three arms of the government, to allow rule of law, to ensure that we respect the democratic process”.
Although the national chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, had earlier declared that the party will deploy every legal means to impeach Saraki, the ruling party kept mum about the senate president’s insistence that they lack the required number to impeach him.
In earlier comments, Oshiomhole had insisted that Saraki would be impeached.
“He (Saraki) failed to understand that the Nigeria, national project is more complicated and is not that easy.
“He will not only be impeached, we will work hard to have him defeated as a senator in his own senatorial zone come 2019.
“Saraki will not be the first to be impeached and I doubt if he is going to be the last but, definitely, he will be impeached according to law and according to the democratic norms.
“The only way senator Saraki can avoid impeachment is for him to do what is honourable, which again leads to the issue of character,” Oshiomhole said then.
Yesterday,, efforts to get Oshiomhole’s reaction to Saraki’s insistence that he cannot be impeached, or the reaction of the acting National Publicity Secretary, Yekini Nabena, were unsuccessful.
None agreed to speak on the issue.
While the spokesperson kept promising to react to Saraki’s claims, after several calls and text messages to him, Nabena refused to pick the several calls. He didn’t reply the text messages either. (The Sun)
Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.
John Adams, Minna
Former military President General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida has thrown his weight behind the presidential ambition of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
Babangida said in supporting Saraki’s presidential bid, he was only returning a favour the senior Saraki paid him during his own presidential ambition.
“it is my turn to do what your father did to me,” Babangida said when Saraki visited him in Minna, on Saturday, as part of his nationwide campaign tour for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) convention.
Babangida also added that he will treat Saraki as his own son and ensure that he succeeds in his bid.
He pointed out that “I will rightly observe that you are my son, for coming to pay a courtesy visit. I remember when I was still in office, I spoke with your father, Oloye Saraki, who always provided advice on a number of things attached to this country.
“He always made himself available to me, to give advice and encouragement which will move the country forward. Your visit is historical. Now, it is your time and turn to come to me and I will do just that.”
Earlier, Saraki told General Babangida that Nigeria is now at a crossroad following the high level of hunger, insecurity and killings across the country. (The Sun)
John Alechenu and Eniola Akinkuotu
Senate President Bukola Saraki has formally declared his intention to contest the presidency on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
Saraki made the declaration on Thursday in Abuja during his meeting with Not-Too-Young-to Run-Movement.
The Senate President lamented the poor state of Nigeria’s infrastructure and growing insecurity as exemplified by acts of terrorism, kidnapping, banditry and sundry other crimes which he said he would tackle if elected.
He said, “I hereby announce my intention to run for the office of President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria in the coming General Elections in 2019 on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
“I do so with the firm conviction that I have what it takes to secure inclusive growth for Nigeria and Nigerians.
He said Nigeria was blessed with a relatively young country bursting with tremendous energy, ability and potential.
Saraki further observed that more than 70 per cent of the country’s population is under the age of 40.
The Senate President lamented that Nigerians were crying out for succour because a large number of its population of women and children were hungry and dying of avoidable or treatable diseases.
He also said many had fallen below basic living standards and were among the 87 million that sealed Nigeria’s position as the country with the highest number of people in extreme poverty.
Saraki said, “Our young people lack opportunities. The necessary education facilities and system to equip them for the future simply do not exist. We are not creating the jobs needed to usefully engage them in order to grow our economy. And too often, youths feel shut out, prevented from having any say in the direction of this nation.
“The harsh conditions of extreme poverty faced by the people, fuel the state of insecurity all over the country. Hunger, the lack of education and lack of opportunities, push many Nigerians into criminal activities including terrorism.
“Many of our communities are paralysed with fear due to incessant communal crises, kidnappings and other social ills, as well as the threat of terrorism. We are failing abysmally to tackle the problems of today and to prepare for the future.”
He expressed sadness that Nigeria had become increasingly divided along regional, religious and ethnic lines thus widening the nation’s fault lines.
Nigeria, he said, needed a new generation of leaders that are competent, with the capability to rise to the challenges of the 21st century, adding that it was time to pull the nation back together and rebuild.
“The choice we face in the forthcoming election is either to keep things as they are or make a radical departure from the old ways; to find a better way of doing things or keep repeating the mistakes of the past, to fix the problems or keep compounding them,” he said.
Saraki promised to, among other things, provide a government driven by youthful energy, innovation and a pioneering entrepreneurial spirit.
Towards this end, he said Nigerian youths will be given all the opportunities to realise their potential to the full within a national framework that guarantees inclusiveness.
He said his administration will ensure that youths who have ideas and capacity will be funded in ventures that will be beneficial to the nation in order to create jobs.
On the war against corruption, Saraki said, “Ours will not be a selective fight against corruption. The emphasis will be on strengthening institutions, with a particular focus on deterrence.
“We cannot afford to compromise our institutions with proxy wars against perceived political opponents. We see the fight against corruption as crucial to Nigeria’s economic development.”
He said the leadership Nigeria deserves is one that will be a source of pride to all, one that will be respected and admired in Africa and around the world.
“It should be a leadership that can hold its own and stand tall anywhere in the world. That is the type of leadership I offer.” Saraki added.
Meanwhile, the Not-Too-Young-to-Run movement has distanced itself from the Presidential declaration of Senate President Bukola Saraki.
The group said it had only invited Saraki and other chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party to a town hall meeting as part of efforts to ensure that youths were given some concessions ahead of the 2019 general elections.
It said it was shocking when Saraki seized the opportunity to declare his Presidential bid thereby compromising the event.
The statement read in part, “Whilst addressing participants at the town hall, Senator Saraki declared his intention to run for the office of the President in the 2019 elections. The movement wishes to express its disappointment with Senator Saraki for usurping a platform designed for young aspirants to hold dialogue with party leadership to advance his personal political ambition. We strongly condemn this act by the President of the Senate.
“The movement restates its commitment to sustain its engagement with political parties to ensure youth candidacy and democratic party primaries. As noted earlier, the movement reaffirms its identity as a non-partisan citizen-led movement dedicated to the defence of democracy, political inclusion and transformative leadership.” (Punch)
Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
The Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has disclosed what he called “the main reason” why he visited ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Monday.
Saraki had held a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo at the latter’s penthouse within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta on Monday.
Saraki, who came in a black Toyota Land Cruiser in company with some security aides, arrived the OOPL around 5.30pm.
He emerged from the meeting at 7.12pm.
Our correspondent gathered that the meeting was earlier scheduled to hold at 4.00pm but it did not start until 5.30pm when Saraki arrived at the venue.
Emerging from the meeting, Saraki told journalists that he was with Obasanjo to make up for his (Saraki’s) absence at the formal inauguration of the Presidential library held last year.
He said, “You know, I missed the official opening of the library and that is why I have decided to come and see the place and, honestly, it is beautiful.
“We are very proud of what he has done here.”
The embattled Senate President hurriedly entered his vehicle and it zoomed off when journalists asked him questions about the crisis rocking the National Assembly.
Informed sources, however, said that the meeting was not unconnected with the crisis rocking the National Assembly over the plot to impeach him by the All Progressives Congress senators. (Punch)