The year was 2013. The principal actors were certain displeased governors. The act was a breakaway. The party was the “New PDP.” This was the picture of the political landscape at the time, as occasioned by a certain Goodluck Jonathan who would not look a certain Bukola Saraki in the face over what eventually turned out to be the end of a political party that prided itself as Africa’s largest.
Bukola Saraki, Rotimi Amaechi and Rabiu Kwankwaso led the other embittered governors out of the PDP, to create a gulf that proved too difficult to fill. This act was eventually the final lethal nail the coffin that put the political end to the dominance of the ‘Old PDP.
Before long, Saraki pitched tent with a crop of strong-willed political juggernauts across a multi-level platform to birth a party that would eventually end up as the ruling party in Nigeria.
Fast forward to 2015, the benefits for the APC were a bolstered national political party. The benefits for the ‘decampees’ were success at the polls. This success was replicated in Saraki’s home state, Kwara, and across the entire North central geopolitical region that he comes from.
Perhaps, it is worthy of note that Saraki’s political influence in his region is unprecedented. Since the demise of his father, Dr. Olusola Saraki, the junior Saraki has controlled the mechanism of the state quite well. Little wonder the success recorded when he signaled the arrival of the APC in the state where the PDP had held sway up until then.
Of course, the election results spoke resoundingly.
THE PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION
Bukola Saraki, some months back, had ensured that Muhammadu Buhari emerged the party’s flag bearer to the chagrin of Atiku Abubakar, a former Vice-President who led the charge and walkout from the PDP. Then onto the Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso issue – which has yet to be completely solved – judging by Kwankwaso’s disposition to Saraki in the Senate. He unarguably still nurtures the belief that had Saraki supported him, Buhari would not have emerged.
The summary was that Saraki handed Buhari the APC jackpot, which ultimately finished off the PDP. This jackpot to Buhari gave rise to what now is the APC central government.
THE LAI MOHAMMED ISSUE
Before the APC took office, Alhaji Lai Mohammed could only be likened to mere clinging brass cymbals. His criticisms of almost everything around him made him more of a nuisance, than an opposition spokesperson. He was so ‘not-good’ at his propaganda trades that Nigerians called him “Lie Mohammed.” Yes, he was that terrible. However, in all of his exhibitionisms, he was immensely skilled at hiding beneath and behind the shadows of the real fighters. They fought on the war front, while Lai Mohammed enjoyed the spoils of battle.
As the clock ticked slowly, announcing the end of September, Nigerians anxiously awaited the Ministerial List of President Muhammadu Buhari. Somehow, Lai Mohammed’s name popped up on #TheList. With that, Lai Mohammed achieved his second lifelond ambition (the first being, becoming a Governor of Kwara State), he was nominated a Minister of the Federal Republic against the chagrin of many Kwarans.
Days later, rumours had it that Lai Mohammed was going to be Nigeria’s new Information Minister, which finally laid to rest the ruckus about his nomination and confirmation. Talking about the ruckus, during his screening exercise at the Senate’s hallowed Chambers, Alhaji Lai confirmed that he “may have ruffled a few feathers” during the course of performing his job as the spokesperson of the APC.
It would be recalled that Lai Mohammed had gone to town to castigate and wash Saraki down for daring to emerge Senate President against the wish of a particular party leader that he (Lai) is loyal to. Although, Lai Mohammed is from Kwara state as Bukola Saraki is, his allegiance was more to the said leader who had chiefly opposed Saraki’s quest to become Senate President.
On the whole, one cannot but commend Saraki’s magnanimity in seeing that Lai Mohammed scaled the Senate screening hurdle. No one could have imagined it – given the disposition of Lai Mohammed to the emergence of Saraki as President of the Senate.
Come Wednesday November 11, Lai Mohammed and other confirmed nominees of President Muhammadu Buhari will be handed portfolios of office to begin to function as Ministers of The Federal Republic.
For Alhaji Lai Mohammed, when he is officially handed a portfolio of office, it won’t be down to his efforts or hard works to party success, it will be because a certain Bukola Saraki – whom he had disdained with his principal in Lagos – charted a course, was brave enough to stand up for it and stretched out his large canopy of magnanimity to accommodate him.
Written by Ade-Adedeji Adeyera