By Hammed Shittu in Ilorin
A governorship aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Kwara State, Alhaji Mohammed Ibrahim Ajia, at the weekend alleged that the President of the Senate and presidential aspirant of the party, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, was facing persecution in the hands of the federal government.
Ajia said Saraki was confronted with what he called “political trial” despite helping President Muhammadu Buhari to win 2015 presidential election against the incumbent former president Goodluck Jonathan.
He spoke in Ilorin, the state capital in an interview with journalists on the state of the nation.
The gubernatorial hopeful noted that Buhari contested election at different times to no avail but recorded victory when Saraki garnered support for him.
He recalled that the travails of the senate president dated back to his becoming the helmsman of the National Assembly, which did not go down well with some leaders in the All Progressives Congress (APC), the consequence of which was sustained persecution.
Ajia observed that there was nothing wrong for Saraki to aspire for the office of the Senate President, because politics was a game of interest.
He also condemned the linkage of the senate president to Offa robbery saga on accounts of those arrested in connection with the incident, saying that such heinous crime cannot be politicised.
“For the past three years, he has been facing a lot of political persecutions. This is a man, who helped the President to be in place. President Buhari has contested election three times in this country, he has never won. But until when Senate President joined his team, he told him this is what would be for us to win the election. And when these things were being decided, the Action Congress of Nigeria ACN block said they want the vice president (Yemi Osinbajo), he (Saraki) said he wants to be the Senate President. As a politician, it is a game of interest.
“But he (Saraki) stood there and he said no, for us to win Nigeria if we are in serious business, some personality cannot be the vice president, but we can give him the honour of producing someone that suits this character, this religion, and this happened. But these people felt slighted that he was the one that blighted them not to becoming the vice president.
“But let me tell you, Nigeria is a complex society. That single point that the Senate President used was the one that led to the victory of the current president. But how was he paid back? For three years, he has been facing serious persecutions. From Code of Conduct Bureau, CCT, to police harrasments, and of recent, the case of Offa robbery incident.
“Let us be very liberal in looking at national issues. People know my background as a police officer. The fact is if you are a politician just like me, as you are coming here now to my office, you would have seen a lot of people, but because I am a politician, they come with their friends who are my associates. I see some young people going around and saying the incident of Offa, you cannot politicise security issues for God sake”, he said.
Fielding another question, the governorship aspirant urged the youth to be active politically and shun being incited by those he identified as “accidental politicians” to attack Saraki.
“So the youth in Kwara, what are they waiting for? They constitute the highest percentage of the total population in Kwara, which is above 60 per cent. This 60 per cent we are talking about is between the ages of 14 to 18. It means in any political platform, they can win anybody.
Why would they not take advantage? And all of them should join PDP and ensure that one of them (youth) who is already aspiring becomes the candidate, and by so doing they can form the government and they can correct those impressions. We should desist and reject this doctrine that these accidental politicians are bringing to our minds”, Ajia said.