'Saraki plunged APC into crisis'

Date: 2015-09-01

The National President of Orisun Igbomina, a socio-cultural organisation in Kwara State, Chief Gbenga Awoyale, has said that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, deliberately plunged the All Progressives Congress (APC) into crisis because of his ambition.

Speaking with reporters in Lagos recently, Awoyale implored the leadership of the APC to insist on party supremacy in its efforts to resolve the leadership crisis rocking the Senate. He said the lingering crisis could have been averted, if Saraki had complied with the APC's directive over the issue.

He said: "Truth as they say is bitter, but no matter what, the truth must be told no matter whose ox is gored. It was Saraki's inordinate ambition that precipitated the crisis. Why did Saraki disobey the APC leadership on how positions should be shared at the Senate?

"He deliberately plunged the APC into this needless crisis and he is now shedding crocodile tears. Nobody should take him serious. He should be sanctioned for disobeying his party. He did the same thing while he was in PDP and this was one of the reasons the party lost the presidential election. The APC should be firm in sanctioning Saraki."

Awoyale said what Saraki did amounts to an act of treachery. He added: "It is an act of betrayal of trust. How can he ignore the party on which platform he won election to become a Senator? Can he be higher than the party? What Saraki did amounts to indiscipline; he should be punished for that.

"If he didn't have a hidden agenda, why did he sneak in and hide in the National Assembly premises at midnight on the eve of the inauguration of the Senate when other senators elected on the platform of the APC were at the International Conference Centre waiting for President Muhammadu Buhari?"

The community leader said the best way to end the crisis is for the APC and President Muhammadu Buhari to ask Saraki to step down. He said the people of Kwara State were disappointed by the turn of events at the National Assembly, particularly the way Saraki emerged as the Senate President.

Awoyale said if the Senate Presidency had been zoned to Kwara State, that the ruling party would have come up with other distinguished lawmakers who can fill the position. "We have men like Senator Shaba Lafiagi who was also a former governor of Kwara State," he added.

Urging the APC leadership to be firm and decisive in dealing with Saraki, Awoyale said: "I implore the APC leadership to treat this issue seriously. I've known Saraki for a long time. He is a ruthless politician, and an opportunist who will not stop at anything to have his way and in the process, he is also ready to betray anybody.

Did he not betray his own father, the late Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki of blessed memory? Bukola Saraki not only openly campaigned against his father's choice, but also went ahead to campaign against his father during 2011 general elections in Kwara State.

"It is only those that have short memory that could have easily forgotten what the Senate President did to his father. It was later that he sent emissaries to pacify the old man. For those who have ears, let them hear, the same scenario is playing itself out today. I urge President Muhammadu Buhari, Chief Odigie-Oyegun, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and other APC leaders to put on their thinking caps. A stitch in time, as they say, saves nine."

He called on the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to beam its searchlight on Kwara State, particularly when Saraki was governor of the state. Awoyale's words: "We implore the EFCC to look into the financial books of Kwara State between 2001 and 2015. Within that period over N500 billion was received in form of monthly allocation by the state government, but there is nothing on the ground to show for it. Workers and pensioners are being owed. No new projects were undertaken and old ones were even abandoned. Kwara State is bleeding. The EFCC and the ICPC should send their investigators to the state. I have nothing personal against Saraki. I'm only speaking out because of my love for Kwara State. I'm interested in the collective interests of our people. We have to think of the coming generations."

Awoyale added: "Saraki is not morally fit to hold the position of Senate President. He is still being investigated by the EFCC. Not only that, his wife, Toyin, is also being investigated by the EFCC. Toyin was a recent guest at the EFCC office where she was interrogated for hours. If we are preaching morality, Saraki is not fit to occupy the highly-exalted seat of the Senate President."

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