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Saraki: I escaped abduction on inauguration day

Saraki: I escaped abduction on inauguration day
June 28
04:45 2015

Bukola Saraki, president of the Nigerian senate, has alleged that those opposed to his bid to lead the senate intended to abduct him on June 9, the day that the 8th assembly was inaugurated.

Saraki said even his supporters in the red chamber were amazed over how he escaped the abduction plot.

Describing the emergence of Ike Ekweremadu as his deputy as “unfortunate”, Saraki blamed the development on the absence of most lawmakers of the All Progressives Congress (APC) at the senate on the day of the election.

He was speaking on Saturday during his maiden press conference as the president of the upper chamber of the national assembly.

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“On the morning of the inauguration, I didn’t finish at a meeting until 4:00am of that day and I had got information that efforts would likely be made to make sure that I didn’t get access into the chamber,” he said.

“As early as 4am, I had made contingency plans that I must get into the national assembly because the plan before was that senators-elect should go to Transcorp Hilton Hotel around 8:00clock and 9am to proceed to the national assembly.

“But I was advised that it would not be safe or it would not be secure for me to do that because if some people made sure I didn’t get into the chamber, it would not be possible for me to be nominated, for the nomination to be seconded and for me to accept the nomination.

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“I can tell you today that I was in the national assembly complex as early as 6 in the morning and I stayed in the car park till quarter to 10. Even my people were worried; it was only when I got into the chamber that they were relieved.

“It was just there {at the car park} that I got information that the clerk to the national assembly had entered the chamber. So, I got out of the small car I was inside, stretched myself and put on my Babariga because I didn’t have it on before then.

“I walked from the car park into the chamber. That was why some of you would have seen that I looked very tired that morning.”

Saraki said he was not aware that APC lawmakers were supposed to converge on the International Conference Center (ICC) for a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari before proceeding to the national assembly.

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“Anybody who said he spoke to me to go to the ICC was not being truthful because I didn’t even know what was going on. All I was monitoring was how people were arriving the complex.  That is the truth,” he said.

“Even when I was in the chamber, I didn’t know what had transpired earlier. The only thing I observed was that it appeared that some of our senators were not in the chamber, but because of the fact that my colleagues arrived in batches, I had the opinion that they were on the way and, by 10am, the programme started. Before I knew it, my election had come and gone.”

On the emergence of Ekweremadu, he said: “It is unfortunate that we have a PDP man as deputy senate president. It is painful for every APC member because that was not what we signed for when we went through the struggle.

“It is not fair to put the blame on one side because it is a combination of errors and miscalculations that led us to have, that morning, some senators were at another place instead of being there.

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“Never in our wildest imagination did we envisage that some senators would not be present on the day of the inauguration.”

Dismising the perception that he entered an alliance with the PDP to get the enviable position, Saraki said his campaign and hardwork helped in convincing his former party to support him.

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“First of all, the PDP senators had announced to the public that they were supporting me without even meeting me because, in their own meeting, majority had decided to vote for me,” he said.

“In my own view, and, in the view of some of those who worked closely with me, I worked hard for my election. I had direct contact with every single senator, one on one; weeks leading to the election, I did not rely on anybody. I worked hard; both in our party, the APC and out of it.

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“I approached every senator, I talked to them, we built confidence, not only in the APC, but, also, in the PDP. I talked to them. That was why I laughed when people said I had a deal with Ekweremadu or I had a hand in the emergence of Ekweremadu.

“Across party lines, that day they believed in me and that this is the senate president that can lead us, there was no deal.

“I didn’t need any deal to win. I had penetrated, there was no deal; I didn’t need any deal in the first place. I had worked hard such that everybody who was a Senator, I campaigned hard and canvassed for their votes and won their confidence.

He shed more light on how the PDP got to retain the position of deputy senate in an assembly dominated by APC.

“With regards to the deputy, when they told us that they had a candidate, we, too, told them we had a candidate for deputy senate president in the person of Senator Ali Ndume!

“After our own meeting, it was our thinking that it was after the election of the senate president that the two groups in APC would meet and we would agree on a candidate. We never in our imagination thought they would not turn up. By the time we got there, we were only 24 while the PDP was more than 40.

“I wonder how some of our colleagues found themselves at the ICC. If it had been a case that the clerk of the national assembly had made an announcement and the event had been postponed or it was no longer holding, plus, the invitation, I’m sure some are asking now, what really happened?”

3 Comments

  1. jossy
    jossy June 28, 05:54

    This is a white lies from a dubious Senate President. And prosperity shall judge him at appointed time.

    Reply to this comment
  2. sawstonite
    sawstonite June 28, 12:49

    It shows the level of desperation by Saraki to become the Senate president that he sat at the National Assembly car park in his car from 6:00am. Is it the love for Nigeria or perosnal ambition? If he was so confident of the support of his colleagues why was he not prepared to compete with his peers for the position but instead went and negotiated with the opposition?

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  3. Ellis Marlik
    Ellis Marlik June 28, 17:36

    Your comment.. senate president Saraki has no blame, neither PDP, the entire blame goes to APC and its leadership that called for the meeting on the inauguration day morning, without being around to urgently instruct and allow them to go for the battle. Its like having a wrestling contest and when is time for you to be inside the ring, you are at witch doctor for winning charm and by the time you get to the ring, they have declared your opponent winner.

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