Nigerian Senate president Saraki mulling run for Buhari’s job

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Senator Bukola Saraki looks on after being elected as the senate president of the 8th Nigeria Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

 

Senator Bukola Saraki looks on after being elected as the senate president of the 8th Nigeria Assembly in Abuja, Nigeria June 9, 2015. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

As the number of presidential aspirants in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) swells, Senate President, Bukola Saraki has said he was considering bidding for the number one political office in the country.

On the chances of the PDP in next year’s election, Saraki said the party had learnt its lesson from the loss in 2015. He, however, said the ruling “APC did not learn from its victory.”

After recently defecting from the ruling All Progressives Congress, Saraki said that if he decided to run, it would be under the banner of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party. He would need to win the party’s ticket during primary elections in October.

At odds with Buhari ever since he emerged as the Senate leader against the president’s wishes in 2015, Saraki is a former member of the PDP who, despite joining the APC, often went against the party line.

His defection back to the PDP in July came amid a wave of such departures from the APC, including dozens of senators and at least two state governors. After security operatives surrounded Saraki’s in July for undisclosed reasons, the secret police temporarily blocked access to the National Assembly on August 7, in what Saraki said was an illegal attempt to impeach him. The head of the State Security Services was dismissed over the deployment.

Talking about his return to PDP and what transpired between the Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC) he said: “While negotiating with the PDP, we listed a number of issues. We talked about how to sustain and improve the fight against corruption; the issue of providing more powers to the states; inclusion and having a more nationalistic approach on things we do; to continue to improve the environment that will ensure investments.

Investors and citizens have lost confidence in the president, according to Saraki, the nation’s third-highest-ranking official after Buhari and his deputy. Buhari’s election victory in 2015, which marked the first time an opposition party won power at the ballot box and put an end to 16 years of PDP rule, came after he pledged to fix the economy, improve security and fight corruption in Africa’s most populous nation of almost 200-million inhabitants.

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