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Saraki, Save Yourself From Yourself!

Posted: Sep 30, 2015 at 3:32 am   /   by   /   comments (1)

These are certainly not the best of times for the embattled president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Dr. Bukola Saraki. He is currently entangled in an extensive investigative-cum-judicial quagmire involving himself, his wife, his longstanding business associate and the alleged forgery of the 2015 senate standing rules.

And just when he thought he would seek succour on the familiar and more accommodating home front, he ran into more turbulent storms! His political godson and current Kwara state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, allegedly received worrisome security reports that badgered and frustrated public sector workers were plotting to attack Saraki whenever he showed up in the state on account of eye-popping revelations of his alleged ‘obscene wealth.’ 

Gov. Ahmed immediately conveyed the privileged information to the senate president, advising him to stay away from Ilorin but Saraki spurned all efforts to dissuade him. Anyone with an understanding of the trappings and undercurrents of power-play would readily appreciate his mindset. Saraki has an ego the size of the Pacific Ocean, and after undergoing the very brutal humiliation of sitting in the accused box of the Code of Conduct Tribunal like a caged rabbit, he needed to massage his ego as well as awe and shock the ‘political cabals’ plotting his premature retirement with his countervailing mass appeal and aura of indispensability.

And what better place to conjure a spellbinding imagery and grand symbolic gesture than in his beloved Ilorin, the one place on Planet Earth he was 101% guaranteed to be accorded a 24/7 royal treatment from doting subjects! But things did not pan out as the senate president and his strategists had planned as the widely advertised airport reception was ultimately canceled at the eleventh hour.

Gov. Ahmed reportedly made a last ditch effort to dissuade Saraki and when his entreaties fell on deaf ears, he allegedly told his godfather that he would not be attending the event. Not accompanying Saraki to the event meant Gov. Ahmed faced the risk of being accused of disloyalty and breech of protocol. But our elders say that when an antelope runs from the forest to jump into a fire, what it is running away from is more fearsome than the fire!

And just when it seemed like the security concerns were being overly exaggerated, it happened. The apparent tranquility rapidly gave way to pandemonium as an irate mob started shouting “Ole! Ole!” (meaning “Thief! Thief” in Yoruba) and hurling missiles at the tent where Saraki and other VIPs were sitting! The police and security agents on duty reportedly fired tear gas and rubber (?) bullets to scare away the rampaging protesters prior to spiriting Saraki and other VIPs off to safety.

But not before the never-say-die senate president – in a dare-devil PR stunt clearly aimed at damage control – held a very brief press conference against the background of some youth singing his praise! Which is exactly why the press statement issued by Gov. Ahmed’s media team condemning the “unprovoked and vile” attack on the senate president must have poleaxed him since it embarrassingly undermined his earlier denial that no such incidence occurred!

Saraki is obviously an adept exponent of Robert Greene’s “The 48 Laws of Power.” Not only has he learnt the art of keeping people dependent on him, winning through actions, posing as a friend but working as a spy, disarming and infuriating his opponents with the mirror effect, acting regally and using rented crowds as a bulwark against perceived enemies, among other laws, he is also a grand master at creating compelling spectacles to complement his aura of power.   

Just as certain actions increase one’s power through the observance of specific laws, others decrease – and even ruin it – through transgression of relevant laws. Saraki has severally transgressed. He impudently strove to outshine the master, inexplicably chose to offend and deceive the wrong persons and failed to deploy the surrender tactic. “The moment of victory,” wrote Greene, “is often the moment of greatest peril. In the heat of victory, arrogance and overconfidence can push you past the goal you aimed for, and by going too far, you make more enemies than you defeat.”

House Speaker Yakubu Dogara kept faith with the law when he struck a negotiated deal with his party leadership after upstaging the party’s zoning formula but Saraki transgressed the law when he allowed himself to be egged on by crooning PDP senators and a handful of APC mutineers into remaining adamantly recalcitrant.

Should Saraki resign or not resign? This would have been an unnecessary question in more democratic climes but we are still managing a patchy democracy, and the idea of honourable resignation is an anathema to Nigerian public office holders. He alone can decide whether or not the cost of maintaining his present belligerent course – in terms of peace of mind, family legacy, personal reputation and yet-to-be-accomplished political ambitions – is too high a price to pay.

It is said that Saraki’s confidence is largely bolstered by pledges made by PDP senators to remain loyal to him through thick and thin. He must not get carried away. “Power,” intoned Greene, “is a game and in games you do not judge your opponents by their intentions but by the effect of their actions. You measure their strategy and their power by what you can see and feel.” There can be no gainsaying the fact that the senate president is discovering to his chagrin that it is not the muscle that is flexed before a fight that is used when the actual fight begins. And he should be very wary of all those with hidden motives egging him on to play the tragic hero. Only Saraki can truly save himself from himself!

Pride goes before a fall and anger is arguably the most significant independent variable in the power equation. Experts posit that an emotional response to the occurrence of a risk event is the single greatest barrier to power, a mistake that will cost the transgressor a lot more than any temporary satisfaction to be gained from wearing his heart on his sleeve.

Anger not only obfuscates clarity of vision, it also imperils one’s ability to respond to a situation with any degree of control and hardens the resolve of one’s enemy to do him in. Perhaps, his best bet is to be less talkative and emotional and simply allow the judicial process to run its full course, just like current APC national leader and ex-Lagos State Governor Bola Tinubu did when he found himself in a similar situation during the Goodluck Jonathan presidency that wanted to render him politically irrelevant at all cost.

Comments (1)

  • Sep 30, 2015 at 8:56 pm Okunola James Ipinlaye

    It is left for Saraki to put away pride and resign honourablly so that is case will not be worst than former speaker of house of representative Salisu Buhari. A word is enough for a wise man.

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