“It was also Saraki’s determination that saved at least two nominees including Alhaji Lai Mohammed and Brigadier-General Mohammed M. Dan-Ali (retd) from Zamfara State during the confirmation process as the PDP’s ‘nay’ nearly dwarfed the ‘aye’ by the APC. But Saraki’s strategies of saving Amaechi were instructive. He ensured that the PDP had their say and delayed the confirmation when the matter was too hot to handle. Amaechi was made to wait at the Senate on three occasions without being screened, while the confirmation was further delayed till the very last moment”.
Following the confirmation, some of the party leaders, supporters and even the ministerial nominees who were initially opposed to Saraki’s emergence and were vocal in calls for his resignation suddenly made a dramatic u-turn by showing apathy to the ongoing trial at the CCT. However, those who are opposed to his continued stay in office said the federal government must pursue the trial to a logical conclusion.
According to a leader of the APC in Rivers state, who spoke to Independent on condition of anonymity, the presidency ought to be grateful to Saraki over the manner he handled the ministerial confirmation. He said “ As a party man, I didn’t support the below-the-belt tactics approach by Saraki in becoming the Senate president. No loyal party man will do that. I believe that singular action really dragged the Buhari administration back a mile. It is also responsible for the budget crisis we are having today”.
“Having said that, I believe Saraki has made up for that gaffe with his maturity while handling the ministerial confirmation. But for him, people like Lai Mohammed and Rotimi Amaechi will not be ministers today. I am particularly concerned about our man, Amaechi. Imagine the level of hostility shown to him, even by the Rivers senator. Saraki has clearly shown that he harboured no ill-feelings towads the presidency over his trial. I believe the federal government instigated the trial, if they want to stop it, they have all the powers to do that” he said.
Also speaking, another federal lawmaker from Kwara also confirmed that notable chieftains of the APC are singing discordant tunes over the continued trial of the embattled Senate president. According to him “ A lot of the party chieftains are no longer in support of the trial. We all know the case was brought up over the manner Saraki emerged. But the issue now is,most of these party leaders are trying to be careful so as not to be victimised and you can’t blame them for doing so. Take for instance, the national chairman of the party, John Odigie- Oyegun, whom a lot of people believe is on the side of Saraki. Look at the statement he made on the trial, which he just retracted. If the national chairman of a party chairman can do that, how much more ordinary party members?”
“A lot of them are not happy with the trial. You can see some people like Kawu Baraje and Timi Frank have summoned the courage and spoken out. Many of the leaders in APC believe that the trial is polarising the party. They know that when it comes to funding the party, majority of those who have been assisting the party are mostly in Saraki’s camp. Since the trial started, the party leadership cannot approach them for assistance and this has seriously left the party in dire straits” he said.
However, another lawmaker representing Lagos State in the House of Representatives said President Buhari should not allow sentiments get the better part of him in his anti-corruption crusade. He added that Nigerians who have been following the president’s anti-corruption crusade and giving him commendations will be highly disappointed if the ongoing trial is skewed in favour of the senate president.
“I am aware some leaders in APC have condemned the trial and have been prevailing on the President to do something about it. But we have a president who has time and again, restated his unalloyed commitment to rule of law. So, the law must take its course. The trial is ongoing and the senate president may be declared innocent at the end of the day. So, why are some people jittery and calling for a discontinuation of the trial” he asked?