Senate President Bukola Saraki will be investigated over his tenure when a new Senate is inaugurated in June, ranking senators told Daily Trust on Sunday yesterday.
The senators, who won a return to the upper legislative chamber in last week’s presidential and National Assembly elections, said the Senate would be interested in knowing how Saraki managed its resources and handled national budgets over the four years he held sway as its president.
Saraki became president for the 8th Senate in 2015 through a controversial circumstance that created a rift between the Federal Government and the All Progressives Congress (APC)-dominated Red Chamber of the Assembly.
The Senate President subsequently left the ruling APC over the irreconcilable differences and rejoined the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
He, however, lost his re-election bid, as well as the opportunity to return to the Senate when he was defeated in the contest for the Kwara Central senatorial district last week. A ranking senator told Daily Trust on Sunday yesterday that the outgoing Senate President maybe probed if infractions were established against him during the four years he superintended over the Senate.
To stop that from happening, the lawmaker said Saraki would be willing to support a candidate that would not yield to demands to probe him for the Senate Presidency.
“There’s a possibility of probing him (Saraki) if there are infractions. But we know he would prefer a person that won’t probe him. So, among the contenders, it’s possible for Saraki to go for somebody he believes is close to him.
“But the truth of the matter is that if there are established infractions, we will push for a probe of the Saraki Senate Presidency, except if we don’t have our way.
“We’ll look at issues related to how budgets were handled and how our internal budget was spent within his four years,” the senator, who won re-election, told Daily Trust on Sunday on condition of anonymously.
Another senator, who spoke separately on the planned investigation, said the new Senate would question Saraki on a number of issues.
“This is obvious; the new leadership would check how he managed the resources of the National Assembly. It would be an in-house matter because the Legislature is independent. The Senate would also look at ways to avoid excesses, such as sabotaging the Executive through withholding or refusing to act on important bills,” he said.
Also, another lawmaker accused Saraki of working to plant his loyalists in leadership positions in the Senate and House of Reps, a move he said they had uncovered and would scuttle.
He said Saraki was going that length to protect his interest and continue to influence things in the country even when out of power.
“We discovered that immediately after his defeat in the Kwara Central senatorial contest, the Senate President started working on how to enthrone his stooges as new leaders in the National Assembly to protect his hegemony,” he said.
“He is already talking with many senators who have secured another mandate …and this is from both the APC, which has the majority, and the PDP. He wants them to produce the new Senate President, though he, too, has not given up on coming back,” he added.
He said they were working hard to see that all those suspected to be working for him did not get close to any principal office in the National Assembly.
No comment – Saraki’s spokesman
When contacted to react to the likelihood of a probe of the Saraki Senate Presidency, his special adviser on media and publicity, Yusuph Olaniyonu, declined comment, saying he did not have answer to the inquiry.