All hail Saraki, Nigeria’s number one political Mafioso by Buchi Obichie (Opinion)

All hail Saraki, Nigeria’s number one political Mafioso by Buchi Obichie (Opinion)

Editors’ note: The writer, Buchi Obichie, analyses the superb political calculations of Senate President Bukola Saraki; especially his recent evasion of security operatives, only to appear at the red chamber and oversee the decimation of the APC! She describes him as a ‘political Mafioso’ and a force to be reckoned with; noting that with each tribulation he has encountered, the Senate president’s star has continued to rise.

I love a good crime story. I’m particularly intrigued by the Italian mafia. They live by a set of rules…a code of conduct…a way of life. Real Mafioso’s are always neatly dressed, don’t talk too much and may appear as fools, but have minds of adept criminals. They also have a humane side, a genuine respect for family and others; and they usually won’t pick a fight until someone is foolish enough to take that route first…then all hell is let loose.

The true Mafioso is shrewd, intelligent and cunning. He is always one step ahead. He gleans information by observation, and also from his trusted lieutenant – the consigliore. He is loved by his friends, feared by his enemies, respected by all. A man, a general, a king in his own world…the Mafioso reigns supreme!

Now, I ordinarily wouldn’t liken politicians to Mafioso’s because I think the former are of a different (inferior) breed. A politician is hardly ever half the man a Mafioso is. Most politicians are fickle, and usually don’t have the heart for true revolution. They seldom have concrete beliefs and ideals, and change course as the situation befits them.

However, every once in a while, there comes along a man in the field of politics, who possesses certain traits that gives one pause.

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This unique breed is dangerous because he combines a blend of qualities unique to the Mafioso and the politician. With such a man, lesser men must come to the table bearing long forks because he will not hesitate to deal a deadly blow through the heart of a friend, as well as a foe.

I call this man a political Mafioso; and of his kind, there are not many. But wherever he appears, he has only one destiny – to rise to the top.

China has its political Mafioso in Xi Xinping, just as Russia has its own in Vladimir Putin. In Nigeria however, one man seems to be a personification of this scarce creature of politics; and that man is Bukola Saraki.

Time and time again, the Senate president has proven just how capable he is of outsmarting his enemies, and leaving them in a continued state of disbelief. The man is a demi-god, on his way to becoming a legend.

Dr Olubukola Saraki is a creature of intrigue. Soft-spoken, handsome, charismatic, diplomatic, highly political…with the heart of a criminal.

Like a Cat with nine lives, Saraki has managed to run circles around his detractors and keep rising to the top. The man who won a battle against his own father, the revered Olusola Saraki, is no shrinking violet.

After beating the Jagaban of politics at his own game, striking a deal with the devil in the middle of the night and emerging as Senate president in a bizarre turn of events that shocked the APC, Saraki also managed to pull off an epic victory at the Supreme Court where he was cleared of charges of alleged false declaration of assets.

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Following that victory, Saraki became something of the prized bride, courted by the opposition PDP and the leadership of the APC which sought to prevent the defection of the Senate president and his band of R-APC men. Saraki took his time. He played out the game, seeking the best concessions.

However, the APC decided to play hard ball, and the Senate president brought out the big guns.

Saraki had been taking things easy. Through the false assets charges and even the Offa robbery shenanigans with the Police Force, the man had kept his cool and held his cards close to his chest. However, on Tuesday morning, July 24, he showed them that he still has more tricks in his hat.

While his residence was blockaded by security operatives, Bukola Saraki somehow found a way to miraculously appear at the Senate chambers and enable the defection of 15 senators from the APC!

He had somehow gotten wind of an alleged plan to impeach him by senators loyal to the Parliamentary Support Group (PSG); and came up with a counter assault.

All we heard was that he suddenly appeared in a rickety car, even as his residence was still under siege. While the security operatives showed up at his home at 6am, reports stated that Saraki beat them by an hour, leaving his residence before the crack of dawn.

When he eventually appeared at the National Assembly, he was not even flustered; and in his crisp Agbada, he took the roll call and dealt the killer blow to the APC.

I was impressed!

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In typical manner, he also did not announce his own defection…not yet…but it is only a matter of time. Bukola Saraki is not foolish; he knows that there is not much of a bright path in the APC for him at this point, but he will bid his time and make a move at the best possible moment. We are waiting.

The man has no fear; and at this rate, I wouldn’t be surprised if he emerges as president someday. Will that be good for Nigeria or not? I do not really know. However, the truth of the matter is that Dr Saraki understands the game of politics, and plays it to the hilt…a quality needed for survival in this clime.

I always say that politics in Nigeria is not for the faint of heart. Lesser mortals would have fallen to their graves when confronted with similar travails; but in the case of Bukola Saraki, the challenges have only been the yeast needed to rise.

Dr Olubukola Saraki is a smooth operator, a criminal disguised as an angel, a master chess player, a decimator of the powerful, an angel of death, the devil’s henchman; and he is also a Mafioso…a political Mafioso! Woe to the man who takes him for granted!

This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of

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