The attention of Senator Dr Saraki’s office has been drawn to speculation in some media outlet that as part of the demand of the Baraje led PDP for reconciliation with the President, that Senator Saraki directly or indirectly asked that EFCC be asked not to probe him.
We would like to categorically put on record that this allegation is utterly false and at no time did Senator Saraki personally or through anyone else ask that the EFCC be influenced to stop any investigation into him.
As a law-abiding citizen who has served his state and country, as Governor of Kwara State, as Chair of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum and today as a Senator, Dr Saraki believes firmly in the rule of law and open democratic accountability.
That is why under his Governorship, Kwara State was the first state to open its accounts up to public scrutiny, and the first to gain an internationally recognised Fitch credit rating and consequently it is why today 90% of Kwara has access to electricity compared to the national average of 30%. This is in addition to Kwara State boasting an international airport, international pilot school, extensive road networks, community health insurance, the innovative Shonga Farms, and a robust and growing economy. It’s why he was recently honoured as emerging political icon of Africa by African Leadership Magazine, gracing its cover and accepting an award at an event in Atlanta, USA.
It should be noted that seven separate investigations have taken place into Senator Dr Saraki during his time in office. After each investigation the Senator always receives a clean bill of health. In September of 2006, Nuhu Ribadu, then Chairman of EFCC, took to the floor of the Senate to give a clean bill to six states, of which Kwara was one. Under Ribadu’s successor Waziri’s Chairmanship, Kwara Local Council was investigated in 2010 at the time that Senator Dr Saraki joined the presidential race. Then, in 2011 at the same time that the Senator raised a motion on the floor of the senate he was investigated by SFU, but the Ministry of Justice wrote to him clearing his name of any wrongdoing.
Notably, most of the investigations have taken place after Senator Saraki raised issues of public concern, such as the mismanagement of the fuel subsidy, or when he was pursuing his presidential ambition. The current investigations, by EFCC, which are based on two issues, one is the issue of SGBN which occurred over 12 years ago and the other during his time as Governor which ended over 2 and half years ago, point to questionable motivations for the investigations. In 2003/4, whilst Governor, Senator Saraki gave up his immunity to answer questions on SGBN and till date he is one of only two governors in the history of Nigeria to ever give up immunity, which shows his sincerity and willingness to always uphold the rule of law.
The Senator is firmly of the belief that politicians and government should not pull the EFCC or other agencies into the political arena, where the perception of their work might become questionable. Agencies should be allowed to do their jobs independently without any interference.
It should be noted that no level of intimidation whether personal or political will prevent the Senator from standing up for the rights of ordinary Nigerians.
Times are changing; the world is changing, and Nigeria and the PDP must change accordingly. Nigeria under the PDP cannot stay as it has been, it must change, otherwise the people who elected us to serve them, the people we serve, will reject us as a party.
The PDP must be the party that stands up for the rights of every Nigerian; that brings, security and safety into the lives of every Nigerian; that brings economic prosperity, opportunity and stability to the life of every Nigerian; that takes the lead on eradicating corruption; that takes a lead on eradicating poverty and ensures every Nigerian has access to education, health care, power and clean water; good roads, good markets; the PDP must be the party that leads Nigeria to take its rightful place leading the continent with a powerful voice on the global stage.
These are the concerns of Senator Dr Saraki, and the new PDP and he will continue to fight within the PDP, within the Senate for a just and fair Nigeria in which the wealth of the nation is not just those who corrupt the system but is shared for the benefit of every Nigerian man, woman and child.