Between Zuma and Saraki

Between Zuma and Saraki

Sunday, August 13, 2017 4:22 pm

Tunde Asaju

By Tunde Asaju

I knew the wicked would not let Bukola Saraki enjoy his newfound freedom and relevance. You would think that the man would jump on the bandwagon of the #ReturnOrResign protest and kick in an impeachment motion. After all, if Buhari finds the courage and manliness needed to resign, it would have been a boon to the president of the sinnate. According to our constitution, the president of the sinnate automatically becomes the nation’s vice president. This is where Naija and South Africa share the same fate within the same week. Rather than openly support a coup to oust Naija’s most indispensable president, Saraki pitched his tent with the Garba Shehu led New Patriots. They’ll rather see the nation in sackcloth and ashes praying for its messiah to get well and return to work than follow the noble call for resignation.

Senate President Bukola Saraki

Earlier in the week, South African parliamentarians put their nation and their party over and above the shenanigans of their president, Jacob Zuma. Unlike Naija, where the whereabouts of the president is a guarded state secret, Zuma’s garland of national embarrassment adds colour every now and then. If he wasn’t taking a shower after trying his Viagra on a 29-year old HIV-positive woman, he is adding to his harem and if you believe Julius Malema, he may be consulting with the Gupta family on who should benefit from his corruption-ridden government. Sai Baba is well known to hate corruption and any attempt to criticize him is a vote for the restoration of the era of sleaze. On creation day when shame was being shared as a human trait, African ruiners already left.

Saint Saraki is a noble man who does not believe in revenge as a dish served hot or cold. He believes in the scripture that says of God – vengeance is mine. Anyone who witnessed the days of Saraki’s ‘persecution’; when he stood in the dock like Lawrence Anini, would vow that the big Kwaran would latch at any opportunity to hit back at his perceived chief persecutor.

Why would the South African parliament fail to garner the votes needed to oust a man whose criminal notoriety almost makes Pieter Botha a better alternative? Came crunch time last week, parliamentarians voted to keep Zuma in. A vote of no confidence on Zuma would have uprooted the very foundations of the anti-apartheid struggle because it would have seen the entire ANC out of government leaving the country in a vacuum. That was how Zuma escaped for the eighth time.

South African President, Jacob Zuma

A similar situation may have forced Saraki to voice his support for our absentee president. When it comes to the crunch, not many patriots would want to give Saraki more room than he currently has to manouevre. A Buhari resignation torpedo makes Saraki an unelected vice president but throws the upper house into the hands of the irreplaceable Ike Ekweremadu and the ousted PDP. There are still people in Naija who believe that both the APC and the PDP are different sides of the same coin. The major difference is that all former documents remain valid.

This was how Naija and South Africa share a painful moment. This is how nobody has hammered Garba Shehu for insisting that Buhari has broken no law by staying away from his elected duty post longer than constitutionally allowed and that anyone calling on the King to abdicate his throne commits treasonable felony. Ironically, the law of coercion sides with him as the police teargased the sit-out protesters at the Unity Fountain and provided cover for the rented crowd. Then the police accused Charley Boy, one of the leaders of the protest of dramatizing the event.

Politically, it is difficult to support Sai Baba’s continued absence, as it was to remove Jacob Zuma without throwing away the baby and the bath water. Zuma did not get more than his own vote, the rest apparently voted for the legacy of the anti-apartheid struggle, the iconic memory of Nelson Mandela and the struggle for the survival of the republic – they’ll rather let the hawk nibble at the kill than throw it back into the hands of the hyena which consumes not just the flesh but the bones.

London: Buhari (centre) visited by Nigerian governors

Charly Boy leads the Resume or Resign Group

In Naija, the same can be said of those sitting on the fence of the #ReturnOrResign movement. Do they want a presidency in which Saraki becomes vice and the sinnate officially goes back to the PDP? Saraki chose the opportune moment to shore up his popularity ratings with the kite that he has ‘refunded’ his humongous negotiated exit package from Kwara taxpayers. So good was the news that the usually critical Femi Falana was sucked in. In the gale of that fake news, Saraki sacked 98 personal aides apparently to cut costs! This was apparently newsworthy in a country where a state governor has been known to hire 240 special advisers.

Those who have never tasted the aphrodisiac of power are bound to ask what one official does with 98 aides in the first place. Not a legitimate question except the person asking has paid their taxes. For those who have not here is Lame Pat’s command – will you keep quiet!

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