From Fred Itua, Abuja
One year and six months after he left office as president of the Senate, Bukola Saraki has explained why the upper legislative chamber failed to confirm some appointees of President Muhammadu Buhari and part of the reasons he had a rift with the president.
Saraki, who failed in his bid to secure the presidential ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and failed to secure his re-election to the Senate, said some of the appointees were rejected after due diligence.
In a series of tweets on his confirmed Twitter handle, he said the actions the Senate under him took was about the country and not a personal agenda.
In 2015, Saraki emerged president of the Senate against the position of his former party, the All Progressives Congress (APC). Ike Ekweremadu of the PDP emerged as his deputy.
For four years when he held sway, Saraki had a running battle with President Buhari and some of his appointee. Several attempts were made to remove him from office. He was also accused of sponsoring some armed robbers who attacked a commercial bank in Offa, Kwara State.
Saraki was also dragged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged under-declaration of assets. He won the case up to the Supreme Court.
One of the high point of Saraki’s battle with Buhari, was the refusal of the Senate then to confirm Ibrahim Magu as substantive chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Twice he was nominated and twice he was rejected by the Senate spearheaded by Saraki’s loyalists.
In the series of tweets, Saraki said: “While I was President of the 8th Senate, the decisions that we took, the positions we adopted, and the interventions that we embarked on were in the interest of the nation.
“When we didn’t confirm certain appointees, it was because we did our due diligence. When we invited the Inspector-General of Police, the security chiefs, it was because we wanted to find solutions to the issues of insecurity at the time. It was never about a personal agenda. It was always about Nigeria.”
Beside Magu, Saraki-led Senate rejected other appointees of Buhari. It also rejected plans by the administration to borrow $30 billion to fund critical projects in the country.
In 2018, Asheikh A. Maidugu was rejected as a member of the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
The Senate, in 2017, refused to confirm the nomination of Ahmed Bello Mahmud as a Resident Electoral Commissioner (REC) representing Zamfara state. 2017
Again in 2017, the Senate, rejected two, out of the 47 non-career ambassadorial nominees, sent to it by President Muhammadu Buhari on the 12th of January.
Senate committee on Foreign Affairs, had recommended that the names be sent back to President Buhari. The committee said the list could not be considered because of the series of petitions received.
All the rejected happened during the reign of Saraki as president of the Senate.