Publisher of lifestyle magazine, Ovation, Dele Momodu says his support for Senate President Bukola Saraki does not mean he is no longer a follower of national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.
According to him, he supported Saraki for various reasons. “I supported him based on empirical facts of what I know,” he said, adding that Saraki himself godifies Tinubu.
Saraki had defied the APC during the National Assembly elections as he refused to stand down for the party and Tinubu’s choice for Senate presidency, Ahmed Lawan. The development was believed too have angered Tinubu and had since caused a crack in the party.
Although Momodu is not a member of the APC, he insists he knows a lot about the party through contacts built over the years.
“I know for a fact that Saraki worships Tinubu. Quote me. Maybe our Oga (Tinubu)does not know it. You know, sometimes, you don’t know those who love you if you have a lot of crowd around you. But I am saying it to you that Saraki, the Senate President, worships Tinubu,” he told Vanguard in an interview.
“Saraki was one of Tinubu disciples. In fact, when some people were saying Tinubu wanted to hijack the party by installing his men, Saraki and Amaechi [former Rivers State governor] were among those who said ‘no, we must give our leader whatever he wants; we must not humiliate our leader’, because they(new PDP) had the power at that time to install their own candidate and they would have won, because the new PDP that joined APC at that time was formidable enough. But, they insisted they must defer to Tinubu. It is what I know, not that they told me,” Momodu insists.
He says he believes that despite everything that has happened, Saraki still respects Tinubu.
“There are people who may go behind and tell the leaders lies, but I love Tinubu to the extent that I will never tell him a lie. I will tell him only what I know. So, among those who worked so hard day and night, gathered those who could support the campaign, Saraki was one of them. Amaeachi risked his entire life for that campaign. In an association of five or more political parties, I expected that immediately after victory, all of you would have come together to decide which of the parties in the association takes what. That was not the case.
“My advice to those of us who are close to Ashiwaju Tinubu is that people should prevail on him not to oppose Saraki because he is one of his men. If you have children and you show one that he is the preferred child above other ones, they will be angry. I think Saraki felt betrayed. If I were Ashiwaju, I would have done what the president did. I can almost bet my life that the President Buhari had a preferred candidate even though we didn’t know who the person was, but he said he would not interfere.
“It will get to a stage in life where two of your children are fighting for something, you stand back and let them go to the field and whoever wins, you support him, not that you tie the arms of one against the other. You have not even told us why you are supporting one against the other. I have not read it anywhere. The only thing I have so far read was that Senator Lawan is a ranking member, beyond that, what else? Beyond that, nobody sold Lawan to us.”
He noted that Tinubu’s decision to support Lawan against Saraki is part of the reasons the APC is having internal crisis now.
“That is what it will come to if you supported one child against the other. I predicted it. Go and read my article, titled, ‘’Let’s honour our heroes’’, in which I canvassed that we must honour those people who worked for the party. I saw this coming because whoever knew a little bit of the rudiment of politics would have predicted same.
“Don’t forget that the generation of today is different, the temperament is different. The man’s (Saraki) life ambition was to be Senate President, to, at least, go beyond what his father achieved of being the Senate Leader. That is the dream of everybody in life, to surpass your father’s glory. That is why you had a W. Bush, and then, a George Bush Jr. and then a Jeb Bush coming, if it happens.
“You must know that a Saraki who had that kind of ambition, you could not discourage him. If you are not going to support him, don’t discourage him. That was my position. I am not saying Tinubu had no right to support Lawan or anybody for that matter. But I know from my interactions with the senators particularly from South- West, many of them were secretly supporting Saraki but for the fear of Tinubu and the backlash, they didn’t come out in the open. And when this was about to happen, I sent people close to Ashiwaju to tell him that this was what was happening.
“Whenever I met those South-West senators, they would say, E ba ore yin soro(please talk to your friend), but I can no longer do that, those days are gone. Today, if you go to Ashiwaju’s house, it is like a market place. And in a market place, all human beings will be there, and, most of them, for one purpose or the other. The reality is that has Tinubu accepted Saraki as one of his children and did not show any open bias against him? I am speaking facts, I am not taking sides. I am one million times closer to Tinubu than Saraki. But I will always support the underdog. That is me,” Momodu said.