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Witch-hunting

By Bisi Lawrence

One of the first statements made by Dr. Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, as he sat before the Code of Conduct Tribunal a few months back, was that he would not have been in the dock if he had not been the Senate President. He wanted the point to be very clear, though unnecessarily. The truth is actually that he would not have been there but for the way in which he became the Senate President, not just for being the Senate President… .

Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate
Senate President Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, the Deputy President of the Senate

He had gone against the wish of his party, the All Progressives Congress, APC, by colluding with members of the other party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to obtain the votes that gave him the position, whilst also making a member of the PDP his deputy. He had not thus only disobeyed but also disgraced the party under whose auspices he had won a seat in the Senate, in the first place.

Any self-respecting political party would resent such an action and would naturally order reprisals, especially if it was in power  and not just in government, as the Senate President’s slap on the face of his party would seem to indicate. The train of issues that have dogged his tenure could be freely attributed to the reaction of his peers who naturally feel slighted and betrayed. He may be forced to suspend his appearances at the Senate along with his deputy who is now also arraigned with him.

The support he has garnered from the number of senators who plotted him into office has been comical to some degree. They trooped after him to the tribunal in an open attempt to intimidate the court. Now they have also resorted to making inflammatory statements totally unbecoming of men and women who consider themselves, and would also wish to be considered by others, as “distinguished”. Their intransigence may only see an increase in their discomfort.

Call that a case of witch-hunting.

Olisa Metuh was very good at his job. He was a spokesman of the PDP, and adept at the use of the virulent understatement. He never lost his cool even when his party was thrust out of power. He had stepped on many toes in the past and there was no hope that he would relent. He was, of course, actively involved in the last elections but was still gathering himself together from the set-back when he became the subject of an allegation that he was involved in what has become the cause celebre of  the season—the Dasukigate. He was duly arrested and granted his day—his days—in court.

That could also pass for witch-hunting.

Femi Fani-Kayode could have acquired the honour and fame of a legal luminary, as his father, the late Remi Fani-Kayode did before him. His forebear was actually reckoned as the leading word on constitutional law among his peers. But Femi chose politics instead. As a matter of fact, his dad combined both and was the mouthpiece of the Action Group, AG, much like Olisa Metuh was to the PDP, when this country was still young and honour had meaning.

Just as Femi would do after him, Remi Fani-Kayode also had cause to defect from the AG, but on matters of principle. He was publicly probed down to his underwear, but emerged clean and free to pursue his course to a glorious end. Femi plunged into the pond of party politics in Nigeria as if he invented it. He made sure that very few people trusted him, even among his associates. He ended up hardly knowing who his associates were, anyway.

His offerings of views on national issues met with lukewarm reception, even when they seemed to make sense, because they were devoid of a clear direction. He did not help his personality by being involved in a muddy indictment about his conduct as a one-time Minister of Aviation and, indeed, sensed no dent in his public image. And so when he too seemed to have dipped his finger into the cauldron of Dasukigate and got himself tainted, he was called upon, like several others, to clear his good name. He had thus been doing so in detention as it is deemed fit by those whose profession it is.

Call it witch-hunting.

Ayodele Fayose became the Governor of Ekiti State by twice displacing incumbent governors. He will not let us forget the fact. That, to him, makes him an outstanding politician, although there have been question marks about his second victory. But be that as ever it may, he strains himself to be as offensive as possible in his utterances, especially about and against President Muhammadu Buhari. Since he seems to find the APC somewhat low for his full attention, he goes right to the top.

Fayose seems to have totally forgotten the despicable record he left behind in his first coming. Not only he, but quite a number of his supporters appear to have a leaky memory about a governor who got himself so mingled with poultry matters that he lost his position. He is now up against it again. Workers in the state are on the verge of suspending their services because their salaries are not duly paid, but Fayose is so enmeshed in his preoccupation with Buhari that all the answer he can give is that Ekiti is not the only state in that predicament.

Meanwhile, his personal account at one of the banks mentioned in connection with massive cash laundering has been frozen. Fayose says it cannot happen to anyone protected under the immunity provided by the constitution to state governors, among others. The immunity, however, is against arrest and prosecution—not investigation, and the EFCC had the mandate, with the support of a court order, to cause any bank account to be suspended if it was connected with an on-going investigation.

However, to be fair, his mention of Madam Aisha Buhari, the wife of President Buhari, as being connected with the muted Halliburton affair needs to be summarily clarified by the presidency. Of course, that really has nothing to do with his self-imposed predicament.

That is all a matter of witch-hunting, anyway.

Time out.

 


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