Saraki as Buhari’s Achilles’ heels, by Majeed Dahiru


Achilles, a Greek mythical figure and a man of many battles, most famous for his heroic exploits in the Trojan wars.
As written in Homer’s Iliad, Achilles was fortified from birth against all worldly vulnerabilities that may lead to his early death by Thetis, his sea goddess mother who dipped him into the powerful River Styx holding him by his heels.
The whole of Achilles’ body was fortified with impregnable strength of iron save for his heels by which his mother held him that wasn’t immersed in the waters of the River Styx.
Achilles’ heels became the weak part of his strong body that will vulnerable to a poisoned arrow, which resulted in his death.
Like Achilles’s heels, Senate President Abubakar Bukola Saraki may have become the weak point of a strong coalition of political forces that brought President Muhammadu Buhari to power in 2015, through which the emerging opposition coalition forces may democratically oust the current APC government at the centre.
In its bid to punish Saraki’s for emerging as senate president against the wish of the APC top echelon, the Buhari administration has demonstrated clear leadership weakness in the way it has deployed state power to fight a purely personal matter of clash of over bloated egos.
Rather than fortify his strong winning coalition completely by skilfully managing the crisis emanating from Sariki’s emergence as Senate president by neutral and conciliatory approach, Buhari went on a series of offensives that had alienated a critical component of his winning coalition making it vulnerable to succumbing to the poisonous arrow of the opposition PDP.
From the trumped charges of forging senate rules against the leadership of the Saraki led senate to the hurriedly packaged charges of code of conduct violation in asset declaration and a phoney link to a deadly armed robbery incidence in his home state of Kwara, Saraki’s prosecution has vividly exposed te double standards and war on corruption of the Buhari administration.
In an attempt to diminish the image of Saraki.
And when Saraki resolved to assert the traditional independence of the legislature in line with the principles of separation of powers for the purposes of checks and balance, Buhari’s reaction was that of disdain.
Heads of MDAs and the police chief often treat National Assembly summons with disdain because the executive now regard the legislature as an unwelcome irritant.
For attempting to override President Buhari’s veto on an election sequence reordering clause in the Electoral Act, thugs in company of a suspended member of the senate invaded the red chamber and took away the mace during plenary with all federal security agencies present standing down to allow for a successful operation.
This unprecedented level of dare devil assault on the National Assembly, which was calculated to intimidate the legislature sent shock waves down the entire political spectrum.
The consequence of this acts of this double standards and impunity that has characterized the relationship between the Buhari led executive and the Saraki led legislature has robbed off negatively on the quality of the overall governance of the Nigerian state.
In addition to being unable to deliver on its three pronged campaign promises of fixing the economy, security and corruption, by a largely distracted Buhari administration, Saraki’s defection from the ruling APC back to the opposition PDP, despite some last minute attempt to placate him and other defectors maybe the last straw that will break the camel’s back.
In what many have described as an attempted coup, the National Assembly complex was cordoned off on Tuesday by armed masked men of the Department of Secret Service, DSS.
This development further fuelled the already rife speculation about an imminent forceful change of leadership of the senate with or without the required constitutional threshold.
Apprehensions heightened when PDP members of the National Assembly working on a tip off from some of their colleagues in the APC caucus about a possible change of leadership converged in sufficient numbers to counter any attempt to remove Saraki were prevented from gaining entrance into the complex.
The possibility of a less than two third membership of the Senate to sit and effect a change in the leadership of the senate triggered an outrage across the Nigerian nation and beyond.
The successful removal of Saraki as senate president by less the constitutional requirement of two thirds majority would have amounted to a civilian coup as that would have paved way for democratically elected civilian dictator whose actions, programmes and policies can neither be checked nor balanced.
With immense pressure from both Nigerians from across party lines and the international community, acting President Yemi Osinbajo has fired the Director General of DSS, Lawal Daura, while also condemning the actions of his men as unlawful and denied any form of authorization of the unfortunate incidence.
This unprecedented and prompt punitive action by the presidency against the head of a security agency has been welcomed as a clear departure.
However, one critical question is left unanswered.
Who authorized the deployment of security agents with instructions to prevent lawmakers from gaining access into the National Assembly complex? For any discernable mind that has followed the Osinbano’s denial of knowledge of this unfortunate incidence begs further questions.
Is Osinbanjo also not aware of similar acts of impunity that aims to cow other arms of government such as the storming of the residences of senior members of the bench in a most brutal manner in October 2016 under the guise of a sting operation by men of the DSS? Is he not aware that DSS has continued to detain Sambo Dasuki the former NSA and Ibrahim EL-Zakzaky, the leader of IMN in disregard of several court rulings ordering their release on bail? How about gross violations of fundamental human rights of Nigerians to freedom and liberty such as the case of citizen Jones Abiri who was detained for two years without charge in DSS detention facilities? As a victim of impunity, Saraki is beginning to attract immense sympathy from a Nigerian public that has become used a freedom of a liberal democracy, which they are ready to pay the ultimate for its sustenance at times like this.
In a dramatic switching of roles.
As the leader of the new opposition coalition, Saraki will no doubt be Buhari’s Achilles ’heels in 2019.


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