Thursday, Jun 6 2019 marks the end to the regime of Bukola Saraki, an era has ended, and also has his immunity. The question that seems to be hanging in the air right now is how long it will take before Buhari finally set his EFCC hounds on him. It is definitely old news that the EFCC has been investigating Saraki for some time, seizing some of his houses in Ikoyi. It has been quite an eventful tenure for Saraki, and the allegations that has been placed before his feet are almost innumerable. What is the fate of Saraki as he finally drops the crown to his very troubled throne?
We all know that Saraki has been alleged to be very corrupt, and to boot it all he has had a very rocky relationship with Buhari’s administration. In 2018 when Saraki had hinted that he might be running for president, the All Progressive Congress had shown the intense hatred they had for him and had gone the extra mile to show the world that he allegedly had skeletons in his cupboard.
They had subsequently released a list that they had described as corruption allegations against the senate president, and had claimed that Saraki would be using looted funds to pay his way to the presidency. Unfortunately, we did not get to find out how true was this as Saraki’s 2019 presidential career got terminated at the PDP’s primaries.
Let us take a look at the crimes Saraki has been alleged to have committed over time, and the probability of him getting arrested by the EFCC,
The allegations has been pouring in that Saraki had committed fraud which led to the total fall Société Générale Bank (owned by his family). It was alleged that 1 billion had been looted from the bank’s treasury. It was also exposed that during his time as Kwara state governor, there had been huge misappropriation of funds and subsequently the transfer of the states fund into his own personal pocket. Saraki was once questioned by the Nigeria Police Special Fraud Unit over a N11 billion financial scandal at the defunct Intercontinental Bank, these allegations are definitely no child’s play and not one that our dear President Mohammadu Buhari with his staunch principle against corruption will take likely.
There has also been allegations of multi billion dollar assets located in different parts of the world which as APC had alleged were disclosed by the Panama Paper Revelation. He was linked to a N298m armored Range Rover SUV seized by the Nigeria Customs Service and also the alleged link to $19.5 billion Paris Club Loan refund scandal. All these have been allegations that had been brought by the APC. It has proceeded to the extent that his former business associate, Kennedy Izuagbe, a former director of Societe Generale Bank Nigeria has been declared wanted by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission.
Saraki is no ordinary man and comes from a very strong lineage. To understand how powerful the Sarakis are, look at the history of their dynasty in Kwara State dating back to the late 1970s. Unlike other dynasties in Nigeria, the reign of the Sarakis has not been challenged for over 35 years. What is the probability that even if Saraki is truly guilty of these crimes that he will be convicted of them.Who dares touch the cub of a lion?
He had been accused of ‘Dual citizenship’therefore his tenure as senate president was tagged illegitimate and should not have happened at all. An online news platform, Sahara Reporters had made available a photo copy of a United Kingdom passport allegedly belonging to him. Saraki had, however, debunked this claiming it to be the dubious and the hand work of those who were trying to topple his government.
Saraki was also held accountable of falsification of senate standing order. His wife, Toyin Saraki, was accused of N2 billion alleged fraud, the Saraki’s allegedly seem to really have their fingers deep in the pot, little wonder they are known as the family who have held Kwara ransom for so long. A family to be truly feared.
It was also alleged that he had had made an attempt to break the backbone of the all powerful EFCC by blackmailing the anti corruption agency chairman Ibrahim Lamorde through Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, a first-term senator from Delta State. The senate committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions began a probe of the Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). The allegations had been that the chairman had diverted over 1 trillion which had allegedly being proceeds that had been recovered from the agency. Although Saraki had also denied his involvement in this saga. The Code of Conduct Bureau had also brought another allegation against him, the CCB had leveled a 13 count corruption charge against the senate president.
Even with all these corruption cases that has been brought against Saraki, he has always shown that he believes in the justice system and that he is ready to show the world that his hands are definitely clean. He has always promised to cooperate with any tribunal that wants to put him on trial for his alleged crimes, and has claimed that his fight against corruption and impunity has what has led to the allegations that has been brought against him.
EFCC had stated that the reason why they had decided to investigate Saraki was because they were doing their job of probity and accountability in the governance space. Well, from what has been stated so far it seems that they wold not hesitate to continue doing their “job”. An end to a tenure, what does the EFCC really have in store for Saraki?