Embattled former governor of Kwara State, Senator Bukola Saraki has debunked reports that the faction of Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, led by Abubakar Kawu Baraje has made the withdrawal of his investigation by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) a condition for reconciliation with President Goodluck Jonathan.
Saraki said this in a statement signed by his special assistant on media, Bamikole Omishore.
The governor-turned senator declared that he remains unshaken in the face of politically motivated investigations of his tenure as an Executive Director of the defunct Societe Generale Bank of Nigeria (SGBN) over 12 years ago and his time as governor of Kwara which terminated over 2-years ago.
According to the statement, “We would like to categorically put on record that this allegation is utterly false and at no time did Senator Saraki personally or through anyone else ask that the EFCC be influenced to stop any investigation into him”.
The former governor said seven separate investigations have been launched into his tenure as governor in the past and that notably, the investigations took place only after he might have raised issues of public concern or when he was pursuing his presidential ambition.
Saraki insisted that the motives for the current investigations against him by the EFCC are sinister since he had always received a clean bill of health after each investigation.
“In September of 2006, Nuhu Ribadu, then chairman of EFCC, took to the floor of the Senate to give a clean bill to six states, of which Kwara was one. Under Ribadu’s successor Waziri’s chairmanship, Kwara Local Council was investigated in 2010 at the time that Senator Dr Saraki joined the presidential race. Then, in 2011 at the same time that the Senator raised a motion on the floor of the senate he was investigated by SFU, but the Ministry of Justice wrote to him clearing his name of any wrongdoing” the statement added.
He said as a law-abiding citizen, who has served his state and country, as governor of Kwara State, as chair of the Nigeria Governor’s Forum and today as a Senator, he believes firmly in the rule of law and open democratic accountability.
According to Saraki, “Times are changing; the world is changing, and Nigeria and the PDP must change accordingly. Nigeria under the PDP cannot stay as it has been, it must change, otherwise the people who elected us to serve them, the people we serve, will reject us as a party”.
While insisting that relevant agencies be allowed to do their jobs independently without any interference, Senator Saraki warned that if politicians and government drag the EFCC or other agencies into the political arena, the perception of their work might become questionable.
“These are the concerns of Senator Dr Saraki, and the new PDP and he will continue to fight within the PDP, within the Senate for a just and fair Nigeria in which the wealth of the nation is not just [for] those who corrupt the system but is shared for the benefit of every Nigerian man, woman and child”, the statement concluded.