“Corruption charges against Senator Saraki is a replay of the travails of his late father who was also charged by Buhari in 1984 for collecting 1million dollars bribe ”
By Ajiboye Yusuf
Irohinoodua has received fresh facts suggesting that the corruption charges against the Senate President Bukola Saraki merely reflects the dilemma of his father, the late Senator Abubakar Saraki who was the country’s former Senate leader.
The older Saraki was the Senate President under the banner of the reactionary party, National Party of Nigeria, (NPN) which laid the concrete foundation for Nigeria’s dive from grace to grass.
Ironically, the Saraki senior was also in the net of Mohammadu Buhari who was the then Head of State. Save for the military coup of the General Ibrahim Babangida, who completed the ruin of the country, the senior Saraki would have been jailed for not less than 21 years as at 1984, considering the jail terms handed over to people that committed similar offences.
Today, his son, Senate President, Olusola Bukola Saraki is facing one of the most difficult battles of his life. The Kwara born politician had emerged as the President of the Senate in controversial and less honourable game of intrigues.
In order to ward off the buzzing air of controversies around, he had approached the Court of Appeal with the hope of halting the trial.
Our correspondent reports that Saraki’s father, Senator Olusola Abubakar Saraki also had a similar running battle on serious allegations of corruption in 1984 soon after the then Head of State, Mohammadu Buhari seized power through a military coup which he did not lead but was later invited to head due to his Spartan and transparent pedigree.
Today, Saraki was expected to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal which has made a case of false declaration of assets against him. The CCB had ordered his arrest last Friday, prompting him to relocate from his private home in Abuja to the official residence of the President of the Senate.
Irohinoodua discovered that one Chief Ayo Shasanya, former chairman of Fourgerolle, a construction firm that was working in Jebba, Kwara State had implicated the older Dr Saraki in a million dollar corruption deal.
Fourgerolle is a French company that bided for the multi-million naira Ajaokuta Steel. The older Saraki was accused of collecting 1million dollars as bribe. The money was said to have been paid to the foreign account of Dr. Olusola Saraki a “respectable” Nigerian statesman and another N4.5 million paid into his Nigerian account. The I million naira dollars is equivalent of today’s 200million naira, while the 4.5million naira is about today’s 600million naira.
Alhaji Umaru Dikko, former minister of transport in Shagari’s government was said to have received N470,000 as part of the Ajaokuta ‘kickback’. Dr Saraki (senior) was expected to use the bribe to oil the hands of Senators and government officials to ensure the biding work went to Fourgerolle. The repercussion was inflated contracts and shoddy implementation of projects, contrary to conceptual specifications.
In a similar instance, Chief Melford Okilo, former NPN governor of Rivers State and latter minister of Tourism, for instance was on June 8, 1984, after jailed for having in his foreign account at Lloyds Bank International, London a sum of 1,908,751 US dollars. The money was lodged between January 21, 1982 and April 21, 1982.
Alhaji Abubakar Rimi who became late Gen Sanni Abacha’s communications minister was on September 4, 1984 sentenced to 21 years by military tribunal headed by late Vice Admiral Babatunde Elegbede. He was accused of collecting N50,000 from one Michael Ihunde, a hotelier being ‘bribe’ for selling a plot of land to Ihunde.
Two of the prosecution witnesses, Warshu Haruna and Abdulahi Abubakar, both commissioners confessed being used as conduit pipes by Rimi.