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Saraki finally dumps APC


Senate President Bukola Saraki

Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki has, after months of speculation, dumped the ruling All Progressives Congress for his former party, the People’s Democratic Party.

“I wish to inform Nigerians that, after extensive consultations, I have decided to take my leave of the All Progressives Congress,” Saraki said on Tuesday.

Saraki defected to the APC from the then ruling party People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in January 2014 along with ten other senators.

Rumours of his defection have been rife since 2015 when he was elected as the president of Nigeria’s 8th Senate in a circumstance that the APC leadership found disturbing.

What follows his swearing-in as the Senate president was a gale of legal battles that included him being dragged before a code of conduct tribunal and being named by the Nigerian police as a person of interest in connection with a deadly robbery attack on six banks in Offa, a town in Kwara State, where he comes from.

Saraki has always denied any wrongdoing. At different times, he said his legal battles were persecution from a section of the ruling party.

He alluded to the same thing in a statement on Tuesday shortly after he announced his resignation from the party.

“While I take full responsibility for this decision, I will like to emphasise that it is a decision that has been inescapably imposed on me by certain elements and forces within the APC who have ensured that the minimum conditions for peace, cooperation, inclusion and a general sense of belonging did not exist,” Saraki said.

“They have done everything to ensure that the basic rules of party administration, which should promote harmonious relations among the various elements within the party were blatantly disregarded.”

Saraki also accused the Executive of deliberately undermining the operations of the Legislature, especially when the National Assembly took decisions that were not favourable to the presidency. This, he said, created “distrust and mutual suspicion” between the two arms of government.

“Unfortunately, the discord has been allowed to fester unaddressed for too long, with dire consequences for the ultimate objective of delivering the common good and achieving peace and unity in our country,” he said.

The Nigerian presidency has denied claims that it was undermining under organs and arms of the government.

“President Buhari will always stand by all that is noble and fair, and will reject attempts to drag him into infamy,” Femi Adesina, a spokesman for President Muhammadu Buhari, said on Monday night.

However, some analysts believe that Saraki’s switch of parties may be a step towards the realisation of his rumoured presidential ambition.

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