OPINION: What's up with Bukola Saraki? By Benjamin Akunna

Date: 2017-04-10

If you listen to all the recent noise in the media about the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, all you will ever hear is the commotion of a sensationalized marketplace.

However, if you choose to distill through the racket of the crowd, and pay careful attention, you will see for yourself, understand by yourself, and testify to both yourself and anyone that will listen that the man, Bukola Saraki, is one of Nigeria’s most competent public office holders.

Like a juggler in the circus, Saraki has singlehandedly outperformed his predecessors in the Senate, by steering the upper legislative chamber to record several historic achievements, while battling with powerful sections of an unfriendly sponsored press; and going through a politically-motivated case at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT).

I have heard this many times in both closed rooms and open forums, “A lesser man would have caved under all the pressure.”

Yet, despite the constant barrage from all sides, Saraki has remained determined to his primary duty of legislating for the good of the common man. Senate President Bukola Saraki In September 2016, on the heels of the announcement of Nigeria’s first economic recession, Saraki, as a first amongst equals, led the Senate’s charge to come up with 20-points that would help to get Nigeria out of the recession. In addition to this, the Senate came up with 11 priority bills that would help create over 7 million jobs across the country, and reduce poverty by double digits. Immediately these Bills were announced and the recommendations were forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari, the Senate went to work — debating and negotiating – their way towards the passage of the PIB and the other economic priority Bills.

After the laying of the Joint Committee Report of the PIB on the Senate Floor on Thursday, April 6th, 2017, the Bill which seeks to enhance Nigeria’s petroleum industry is at its farthest stage in 17 years, while the other economic priority bills, are all either at Conference Committee stage or Final Reading stage.

Yet, some elements in the media will tell you that the Senate is not working, or that Bukola Saraki is not doing anything for the country… Is it just me, or do I smell a coordinated conspiracy?

Benjamin Akunna writes from Lagos.

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