Editors' note: The writer, Ibrahim Musa, in this piece which first appeared on Daily Trust, takes Senate President Bukola Saraki to task over a false claim on the nation's Nigeria’s petrol consumption. He describes Saraki as being 'delirious' and says the Senate president is like a film unraveling before our very eyes.
Bukola Saraki, president of the Senate and the director general of the Atiku Abubakar Presidential Campaign is suffering and needs urgent attention. Nothing demonstrates Bukola’s fusty state of mind than his recent hallucinations with official figures of fuel importation into the country.
Saraki had claimed during an interview on Channels Television that Nigeria’s petrol consumption is about 20-22 million litres per day and that the current import level of about 50 million litres per day is a “a big-time fraud.”
Saraki rubbished his position as the number three man in the government when he made such a grave deliberate falsification of figures without quoting any official document. The senate president glibly stated that “any expert” will tell you that Nigeria’s daily PMS consumption could not be more than 22 million litres.
Everyone understands that this is campaign season and politicians would capitalize on anything that could give them electoral victory. But it becomes an unpardonable political gaffe for anyone, especially a president of the Nigerian Senate, to lie about figures that are documented just to sell himself to the electorate.
Let us remind Saraki that the 7th Senate of which he was a member conducted several hearings on fuel subsidy and NNPC where it was publicly disclosed that the daily PMS consumption in 2014 and 2015 was 35-40 million litres. In January 2014, for example, the average monthly consumption was 38 million litres per day.
By January 2015, under the same government of PDP they reported 36 million litres per day and in March 2015 the daily consumption reported by the PDP government was 45 million litres, while importation was at levels above 80 million litres per day. These are official figures in the custody of the Senate, and most likely in the document shelve of Saraki.
It is strange that Saraki would now tell Nigerians on television years later, that fuel consumption figure had gone down to 20-22 million litres of fuel per day! It defies economic logic, and even commonsense to suggest that a country where population, rural-urban drift and vehicles are on the increase will see such a drastic fall in fuel consumption rate.
During the same interview, Saraki also exposed his fading political career when he blamed the rejection of his presidential candidate by Nigerians, especially wealthy donors, on the Muhammadu Buhari administration. He accused the administration of stifling the opposition because no one is willing to donate to his cause.
Read him: “The atmosphere does not allow the kind of campaigns people are used to. The general feeling is that the APC is choking the campaigns. If you look at support groups, fund raising dinners; fund raising dinners in 2015 were everywhere. People were having dinners with the business community trying to raise money. Now most business communities don’t even want to come out and see that they are getting involved in politics. The environment now is different”, he said.
Saraki should be ashamed of himself for blaming the administration for the rejection of his campaign. Is Saraki so delirious that he has become incapable of analyzing situations rightly? Is he so dumb that he cannot see his own political denouement? Can he not see, as most Nigerians have seen, that he, like a film unraveling before our very eyes, is coming to an end?
Anyone who doubts my views should just walk into any streets in Ilorin, the state capital, and ask questions about Saraki. It is shocking, but not unexpected, how quickly Saraki seemed to have unraveled. Today, influential clerics in the state are denouncing him and his political ideology, and urging people of the state to reject him and everything he stands for. His candidate lost the bye-election into the House of Representatives recently conducted by INEC in the senatorial district of Governor Ahmed!
Saraki also said the campaign for the forthcoming election should not be on sentiments but be based on “what we see.” And he went on to make his characteristic false claims that there were no security problems in 2015 in the north-west, north-central and north-east; but that today, all three zones have security challenges. I beg your pardon?
Did Saraki truly believed himself when he uttered those statements? Or was he just playing his usual politics of mischief and propaganda? Even school children would know Saraki was lying through his teeth.
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Where was Saraki in 2013 when cattle rustling started in Kaduna and Plateau states and scores were being killed? Where was he, in 2014, when Benue (Agatu) experienced the worst bloodletting in their history at a time their son, David Mark, was Senate president? Where was Saraki when hoodlums killed over 100 mobile policemen in a Lafia, Nasarawa state while on a mission to arrest a so-called spiritual leader of a village in 2014?
Saraki deserves pity because his days of glory are counting out. He is facing continuing revolt and rejection in his home state of Kwara where he has held sway for the past 16 years, first as two-term governor and as political godfather of the current governor Abdulfatah Ahmed.
He must ask himself questions about where and how he got it wrong. If he does, and is able to redeem himself, perhaps he may save himself from the imminent political storm.
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Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed here are those of the author, Ibrahim Musa, and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of Legit.ng.
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