President of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki seems to be gearing up to run for president in 2019. On Wednesday, he got the Kwara State Government to issue a press release saying that he has returned all the pensions he unlawfully collected as ex-governor of the state while he was paid as a member of the senate.
The Secretary to Kwara State Government (SSG), Alhaji Isiaka Gold said in the statement that the senate president has returned all monies paid to him as pension back to the coffers of the state government.
According to him, Saraki, who was a two-term governor of the state, has stopped receiving pension from the state since August 2015.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY has not confirmed if Saraki actually returned the money, badly needed by poor Kwara indigenes, as claimed.
That was on Wednesday. Today, (Thursday) CHECKPOINTCHARLEY learnt that Saraki has sacked the unnecessary 98 aides attached to his office at the National Assembly.
Senate source said most of the affected aides are staff of the National Assembly Management who were deployed in the Office of the President of the Senate.
But both Saraki’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu; and his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Sanni Onogu, have denied knowledge of the sackings.
The Senate President had earlier in the year ordered a staff audit exercise.
Saraki himself has denied eyeing the presidency for now, but these actions within 24hours belies his assertions.
It is now becoming crystal clear that due to health challenges, President Muhammadu Buhari would not seek relection in 2019 – that is if he even completes his first tenure. Mr. Buhari has been absent from his duties since May 7, 2017 when he embarked on his second medical trip to the United Kingdom.
If that happens, it would mean that the North, would clamour for its right to complete what would have been Buhari’s second term. That region is still grumbling over the Yar’Adua experience.
And by Saraki’s calculations, there is no Northerner better positioned to contest for the Nigerian Presidency at the moment than him. And he is a Muslim for that matter – so he thinks.
But then Saraki is burdened by an image problem, which was worsened by his celebrated trial for false declaration of assets, though he was acquitted under controversial circumstances as majority of Nigerians think. Little wonder Mr. Saraki is taking these steps to make himself marketable to Nigerians who are becoming more political conscious by the day.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY is watching as Saraki is hurriedly trying to put his chaotic house in order with the likely goal of running for president in 2019.