‘Nigerians are passing through difficult times’
Octogenarian and former politician, Senator Nosike Ikpo bared his mind on the trial of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki cautioning that it was capable of sundering the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). Ikpo, a two-time Second Republic Senator who represented Bendel East now Delta North, also spoke on the current economic hardship in the country, noting that Nigerians were suffering, in this interview with HENDRIX OLIOMOGBE at his hometown in Ibusa, Delta State.
If the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is found culpable of any offence, like every human being, he should face the charge but what people are saying is that even his opponents in the rival Peoples Democratic Party are supporting him. What they are saying is that some cabals within the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) are merely persecuting him because they didn’t want him to be the President of the Senate in the first instance. So they are merely looking for every reason to bring him down.
The latest I heard from Saraki’s supporters is that most of the charges against him were not part of the charges they brought against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal. It is like they are doing everything, looking for every reason to make him guilty. He is the son of my good friend, late Senator Olusola Saraki with whom we were in the Senate together during the Second Republic. So, naturally I supported him but I discovered that he has not been on good terms with Mr. President.
What I think that they are all fighting for is a battle for 2019 because I don’t see why a party in government should be threading in this manner. In the first place, I told some of my friends in the APC to soft pedal on the issue because the party took the step in the beginning. The chairman of the party, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun took a wrong step when he invited the party’s senators to a meeting on the day the upper legislative arm was to be inaugurated by the Clerk of the Senate. I don’t see why they expected Saraki and his colleagues to disobey the Constitution by going for a party meeting. I can’t understand why they expected Saraki and company not to go to the Senate for the inauguration.
I didn’t expect Saraki to go for the Senate meeting that was Constitutional. It was wrong on the part of the party and I told some of my very good friends in the Senate. I know it is very difficult for a big man like the party chairman to admit that he made a mistake. I advised them to soft pedal on the issue because if they intend to punish Saraki, they will create problems for the party because Saraki is a fighter who even defied his own father. I don’t think that the APC is finding it easy.
Today, about 84 Senators are supporting him. Nobody can remove him as President of the Senate by a resolution. He has the support of a large majority of Senators. He has divided the APC and the PDP. The way I see it is that he may probably end up, taking a large chunk of the PDP and APC to form another party in 2019. I don’t see what they can do to him.
Today, it is the mob that is trying Saraki. He has not been found guilty. Some of his mates said that he has very good case as regards what they are accusing him of. We should wait to see what happens when he starts his defence. Let us watch how he is going to conduct his case.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal Should not correct Bola Tinubu’s mistake with Saraki. It is neither here nor there. He believes that he is being witch hunted by his political enemies; take the case of Senator Tinubu. The Code of Conduct Tribunal admitted that it made mistakes. If a mistake was made in the case of Tinubu, you now want to correct it with Saraki. It is not right. They should have continued with the same mistake. APC is destroying itself by toying with the wonderful opportunity it had. Things are not going well for the party.
Things are bad in the country for everybody. If there is election today in the country, nobody will vote for them. Even those of us who wanted change are not happy. I am not in touch with Saraki. I have no business with him. When I went to Abuja, I made efforts to see him but it was not possible. I have not seen him but he knows that I am praying for him. He is my son to all intent and purpose and I wish him well. I am in touch with my son, Senator Peter Nwaoboshi and I have told him to support Saraki. They
are the people who can stick their necks out for him.
I will not ask him to submit to the wishes of those who want to persecute him because I feel that he did not do anything wrong. The party is merely victimizing him some reason that I do not know. If it is because he disobeyed on the party’s choice for the president of the Senate then it is not tenable because the majority of the Senators wanted him. I will tell him to keep fighting. I support him.
APC will destroy itself with Saraki
I believe that the APC is fighting a very wrong battle and that it will destroy the party. I told my friend, Dr. Ogbonaya Onu long time ago to use his experience, tell his colleagues to soft pedal on the issue of Saraki otherwise it will destroy the party. When I went to Abuja, I repeated the same statement. I don’t understand but what I know is that the main fight between Saraki and the northern element is the battle of 2019. They feel that Saraki will challenge them, who just gave Buhari chance in the last one. They believe that he will definitely contest when the time comes.
State of the nation
Things are bad. The people are suffering. I am suffering as a person. I put my position in the place of every Nigerians. There is no light. I can’t buy petrol to fuel my generator. I can’t even fuel my car. There is nothing to be happy about. I was supporting Buhari for fighting corruption, impunity in the PDP.
As a foundation member of the PDP, I am not happy to see the way the party was behaving, as if PDP was all in all. I was happy that the party was defeated at the elections. I will not vote for PDP. It is too early to determine the party I’ll vote for in 2019.
I’ll not like to repeat my experience in PDP. It was nothing to write home about. I am sure APC will definitely recover. The situation can’t continue like this. I am very sure about that.