As the dust raised by Super Tuesday events and drama begin to settle, how Senate President, Bukola Saraki survived a plot by the presidency and senators loyal to it to unseat him as president of the Nigerian Senate has emerged.
CHECKPOINTCHARLEY understood that Mr. Saraki survived by outsmarting operatives of the Department of State Security, DSS, the police and those plotting his downfall.
First, by not sleeping in his house on Monday and secondly by selling a dummy to the Police – fooling them, by positioning his convoy at his residence, to give the impression that he was there.
That was how he threw a red herring for the security operatives detailed to trail him.
Unknown to the police, who were reportedly told to prevent Mr. Saraki from getting to the National Assembly, the senate president, was already at the Senate as at the time they were blocking his convoy and laying siege to his Lake Chad Crescent home, an aide to Saraki said.
When Saraki later took control of Tuesday’s plenary, fifteen senators announced their decamping from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
It is still unclear how Saraki made his way to the National Assembly on Tuesday, but CHECKPOINTCHARLEY was informed by an aide close to the senate president that he disguised himself and drove down in a rickety car.
However, deputy senate president, Ike Ekweremadu could not attend as he was prevented from leaving his Apo residence by security operatives, who were reportedly acting in furtherance of the plot to unseat Saraki at the senate.
The siege however ended when Saraki led other senators after plenary on a solidarity visit to him.
It is understood that the plot to unseat Saraki was sabotaged by one of the conspirators due to disagreement over who will take over as senate president after the removal of Saraki.
A disgruntled anti- Saraki was said to have leaked the plan to the senate president, after he was not happy with the names mentioned as possible senate presidents.
A source familiar with the plot said that Mr. Ahmed Lawan, who was said to be leading the plan, and Ali Ndume, a former Senate Leader, led the race to succeed Saraki.
The execution of the plot started Monday night when the Nigerian suddenly remembered the Offa Robberies case and re-invited Saraki via a letter to come to one of its Abuja stations by 8.00 am on Tuesday.
The police claimed that Mr Saraki was needed to clarify aspects of his earlier statement to the police on the matter.
The plan, a security source said was for Mr Saraki to be detained by the police.
And to ensure that his deputy Mr. Ekweremadeu was prevented from acting in his absence, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), in pursuance of the plot sealed the latter’s residence very early Tuesday morning.
A letter of invitation signed by EFCC’s Head of Operations, Mohammed Abba, had requested Ekweremadu to report to the EFCC by 10 a.m. Tuesday. Curiously, the letter carried Tuesday’s date of July 24.
The commission stated it was inviting him in connection with a case of “conspiracy, abuse of office and money laundering” which it said was under investigation.
A government source the told Premium Times that in a desperate bid to stop some Senators from carrying out a mass defection, some loyalists of President Muhammadu Buhari in the red chamber sold the idea of taking over the Senate leadership to some officials of the government.
This was after all attempts to stop the exodus, by the new leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Buhari yielded no result.
According to Premium Times, a plan was therefore hatched to create vacancy in the presiding post by taking out the two presiding officers from the Senate on the same day.
“To achieve this, the police, which had kept mum on its investigation of the Offa incident for over a month, was mobilised to revisit the Offa robbery matter by inviting Mr Saraki and then detaining him pending execution of the take-over plan, the newspaper said.
EFCC was allegedly also instructed to arrest Mr Ekweremadu, so as to leave the Senate without a presiding officer.
The planners of the plot from the Senate, reportedly led by the Senate Majority Leader, Lawan, planned to use the vacuum expected to be created by the absence of Mr. Saraki and his deputy to invoke Senate Rules to appoint Senate President pro-tempo, which would have made it possible to sack the two principal officers.
Mr Lawan phone was switched off when contacted and he is yet to respond to a text message sent to him, as at the time of publishing this report.