He described the government of President Muhammadu Buhari as very corrupt. Although Saraki, who spoke in a 30-minute interview on Channels Television, failed short of describing Buhari as personally corrupt, he said that since the buck stops at the President’s table, he could not be absolved of corruption, when he is protecting corrupt people in his government. Saraki also said that despite propaganda from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Nigerians were worse off today than in 2015, when he and other members of the party, came together and sacked the administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan. The Senate President was also emphatic that the President has failed to deliver on the three pillars – Security, economy and anti-corruption – on which Buhari and the APC campaigned for in 2015. He carpeted the Buhari-led government for its insincerity in fighting corruption, pointing that none of the government officials that has been involved in corruption cases have either been charged or prosecuted. He alleged massive fraud in the oil sector, stating that the 50 million litres daily consumption of fuel as claimed by the government is a big scam. He stated: “Remember, the fuel subsidy issue is one of the points that was used in the corruption allegation to campaign against the Goodluck Jonathan government, who even during his days in power was challenged when the daily fuel consumption was 22 million litres. It’s a big scam for anyone to say that we are consuming 50 milion litres of fuel daily. Nigeria cannot consume 50 million litres of fuel daily.” The Senate President said what is presently going on in the corporation was a far cry from what happened during the Jonathan administration. “There is no doubt that there are corrupt people around the president. If you represent a government, you must take responsibility. “If you head a government that is full of corrupt people and you can’t do anything about it, you are also responsible,” Saraki said, alluding to the culpability of the president. “One of the main issues we labelled the Goodluck Jonathan regime as corrupt was the fuel subsidy scam. But today, there is big time fraud in the NNPC on the fuel subsidy issue and Buhari is aware because they report to him. “The main source of our revenue is the NNPC and that is where the major corruption is. Over 50 million litres are being taken away illegally,” Saraki alleged. He averred that Buhari couldn’t be exempted from the scam since the NNPC reports to him. Saraki, who defected from the APC to the PDP last year, also said the security challenges under the Buhari government has risen compared to the last administration. “The North-East was the only place that have security challenges before 2015, but today, it has spread to the North-West and North-Central. This represents failure from all points of view.” Aside corruption and insecurity, he blasted the Buhari government over the high level of unemployment. “They promised to create jobs, but over 20 million jobs have been lost since this government took power about four years ago,” he said. Saraki accused the ruling APC of choking the PDP with the use of security agencies. “They are frustrating the whole campaign process, but we are determined to get our messages across. They are scaring a lot of people and the police are allowed to break the law and do things that are not in line with the conduct of a free and fair election. It is those that have the strong heart that can participate in this type of campaign. “The apparatus of state are going about, they are arm-twisting financial institutions. When you speak with people in financial institutions, they will tell you they have been hounded, they are intimidated and told to send us names of people who are withdrawing money. Once you do that to financial institutions, they are going to withdraw to their shells. That is happening. “What this country is used to in leading to elections and what we are seeing now is not the same. What we are seeing now does not reflect a country that is having a virile democracy.” He also accused the government of scaring away business communities from election, stressing that fund-raising associated with general elections is absent because business and private individuals are scared of being chased. “Those that should be involved in fund raising are holding back because they are afraid that financial institutions will be asked who and who have been withdrawing money and gone after by security agents,” he said. The Senate President declared that the Saraki political dynasty in Kwara State remained as strong as ever and expressed confidence that the PDP will maintain its dominance in the state. He stated that the song going into all election has always been that opposition will triumph, but it has never been so and the experience will be the same this year. He further lambasted the ruling party as a failed organisation, noting that the APC has failed in all areas, including welfare of people, but only engaged in propaganda to shore up its popularity. “The APC as a party is just engaging in propaganda than reality. Today, Nigeria is classified as the world’s capital of poverty. They promised to create more jobs, but more people have lost their jobs”, he said. On the coming elections, Saraki warned against anything that could tarnish the image of the country while giving the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) the benefit of the doubt, but asked the APC not to interfere in the affairs of the electoral umpire. “The image of the country is bigger than anybody, we can’t afford to have an election that will not be free,” he said. He also faulted the extension of the IGP’s tenure, saying that the law doesn’t support the tenure extension.]]>
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