Saraki’s troubles began on June 9, 2015, when he was elected Senate President despite being excluded from contesting by his party, the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The APC had chosen Senator Ahmed Lawan as its sole candidate for the Senate Presidency after conducting a mock poll, but this did not sit right with Saraki.
Crisis erupted in the party over the move leading President Muhammadu Buhari to call a meeting of APC lawmakers in a bid to keep the peace.
However, while the lawmakers were waiting for Buhari, Saraki went to the National Assembly and connived with senator- members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to be unanimously elected Senate President by 57 out of 108 Senators.
To reward the PDP senators for their support, he nominated one of them, Ike Ekweremaduas Deputy Senate President making it the first time in Nigeria’s political history that an opposition senator would occupy the position.
Saraki, by his actions, practically handed the Senate over to the PDP, the very party that the APC had expended vast amounts of energy and funds to dislodge.
The Senate President also made no attempt to atone for his error, an error which threw mud at his party’s image and made mockery of the “change” mantra.
Despite this, Saraki continued to claim that he was a card-carrying member of the APC.
“I remain a card carrying member of my dear party. But I’m also honoured to serve as Senate President of all Senators,” he said on September 20, 2015, after rumours of his defection to the PDP surfaced.
However, notwithstanding his denial, Saraki went on to allocate the Senate’s “juicy committees” to PDP members.
This led APC chieftain and House of Representatives member, Mohammed Musa Soba to say that the Senate President is a member of the PDP.
“Look at the scandal that is going on in the Senate. It’s very unfortunate and if they were truly APC and representing the APC interest…We all know their game plan; that means they are PDP,” Soba said.
“They were all in PDP till the last minutes and after winning elections, they came and hijacked the leadership of the National Assembly and what we are seeing is that they are out to rubbish the programmes of President Muhammadu Buhari,” he added.
Saraki’s hijacking of the Senate Presidency was initially applauded by some who thought it was a sign of a robust democracy, but time has shown that Saraki is only interested in what Saraki wants.
The Senate President is currently facing corruption charges before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and there’s a hanging threat that he will defect to the PDP if his trial, which he says is a form of political persecution, is not stopped by the APC.
“The senate president is about to be made naked by the APC. APC is in disarray and he is about to be made politically naked,” Kwara PDP Chairman, Iyiola Oyedeposaid on Monday, April 18, 2016, in Ilorin, adding that Saraki is desperate to return to the opposition party.
“He is looking for a shelter in case the broom sweeps him away, is this the time to allow him to take refuge under the umbrella? The mistake of 2003 must not be allowed to repeat itself in 2016,” Oyedepo said.
The APC obviously doesn’t want Saraki as its member anymore as Chairman, John Oyegun has said that the party is willing to sacrifice the Senate Presidency on the altar of change.
However, there’s no need to worry about Saraki returning to the PDP, because one can only return to a place where he left, and Senate President, Bukola Saraki never left the PDP.