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Senate President Bukola Saraki, has reacted to speculations that he is not loyal to President Buhari and his administration. Speaking in an exclusive interview with DailyTrust, Saraki said he is indeed loyal to the President. According to him, loyalty isn’twhat people do in front of you, it is what they do behind your back.

“The people who are saying that this Senate President is against President Buhari, I say to them, when President Buhari was away for two months and rumours were flying everywhere as to the real situation, President Buhari received many guests [in London] but who was the person who came out and said, ‘President Buhari is fine and is coming back home’? Tell me, who was it? Senate President. Loyalty is not what people do in front of you. It is what they do behind your back. This propaganda is just to cause head-on collision and we know why they are doing it. When the time comes, we will tell you why they are doing it”. 

On the Ali Ndume suspension, Saraki said the move by the Borno state senator to speak on the certificate scandal and importation of Range Rover SUV linked to Dino and himself, before the senate, only escalated the issue. According to Saraki, Ndume knew better to call his colleagues to ask in person if the allegations leveled against them were indeed true or false. He said Ndume who is currently on a 6 months suspension, only escalated the scandal and that he doesn’t believe that referring the case to the senate Committee on Ethics and priviledges gave them a chance to clear their names. 

 I don’t think so because the issue of the car, when it came up, the management issued a statement. When government appointees buy an official car, it is not their car. Government provides a car to you by virtue of your job. The National Assembly Management said no car was imported in Senator Saraki’s name, and Senator Ndume knew that. Even if you think that your colleague is not qualified, did he call him and say ‘Colleague, is it true that you don’t have a genuine certificate?’ There are many ways of addressing these issues. Coming to the Senate floor escalated the whole issue. What the committee was saying was did you check this thing very well before you came to the floor and said your privilege was… So it is not that he gave me an opportunity to prove it because the management had already said that no car was brought in under my name, and Ndume knew it. He brought the issue to embarrass both myself and the institution. I am not an importer. I don’t agree with you that he gave us a chance to clear ourselves because we had already been cleared”he said

On whether he would forgive Ndume, Saraki said “I wish I have all these powers. I am only the presiding officer. I was not the one who approved his suspension with a memo, like they do in the Executive Branch, so you cannot send another memo to me and say, ‘Please review it.’ He was suspended at the Senate plenary, so all the senators must sit again and look at it. All I can say is that this Senate has a large heart. We used to have dissenting voices before but we are now back as one family. Sooner or later we may have a political solution somewhere and Ndume may be back in the fold. That’s another thing people are saying. That those senators that once opposed to you, you gave them juicy committee assignments and they are silent now”.

Saraki says there are so many factors that suggest that his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal is abnormal and political

 As I said from Day One, that case should never have gone to CCT. EFCC has no business taking a case to CCT. CCB is saying all these things; we don’t know anything about them. This is the first time that CCB will take anyone to court without first asking him to come and write a statement. This is the first time that EFCC will prosecute a case at CCT. So many things in that trial are abnormal. People who have been following that case already know that it has collapsed. So I have no fear about it and we will not put it on the table. Certainly we were not pleased by it, to see the head of one arm of government sent to a trial that is more political than anything else. That was what those senators were talking about. But for the last two years did it stop us from working? We are carrying on, doing our best in working for people’s welfare. So while senators are not happy, I don’t think we should misinterpret what they said. This trial cannot be the reason for any rift between the two arms of government”he said.

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