‘Cheap lies’ — Saraki tackles el-Rufai over restructuring comments

‘Cheap lies’ — Saraki tackles el-Rufai over restructuring comments

Bukola Saraki, former senate president, has described recent comments by Nasir el-Rufai, governor of Kaduna, about restructuring as “cheap lies”.

While speaking in an interview on Arise Television on Wednesday, el-Rufai accused Saraki of frustrating the constitutional amendment agenda of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to restructure the country when he was senate president.

Saraki was the senate president between 2015 and 2019.

But reacting through Yusuf Olaniyonu, his media aide, Saraki described el-Rufai’s comments as “cheap lies”.

Olaniyonu said the Kaduna governor is “fond of making excuses and trading blames to explain his failure and that of his party”.

He said it’s been years since Saraki left office and “within the period el-Rufai and his party have the Senate President they want and the type of Senate they want, yet they have not done anything to restructure Nigeria”.

Olaniyonu asked el-Rufai to “tell Nigerians if Saraki is also the one that is responsible for the high level of insecurity which has escalated from just the north-east to a menace that has now engulfed the whole of Nigeria under the APC administration”.

“We need him to tell Nigerians if the former Senate President is responsible for the collapsing state of the economy, spiralling inflation, huge cost of living, extremely low standard of living across the country, endemic poverty in the land, the foreign exchange rate that has moved from N200 in exchange for a dollar to N740 to a dollar, the high level of youth unemployment, the high rate of oil theft, the alarming rate of borrowing by the government, high rate of disunity among the component units that make up the country and other ills bedevilling the country under the APC administration,” he said.

“El-Rufai claimed he and his party prepared a report on restructuring and engaged with the National Assembly leadership to amend the constitution in 2018 when as of February 2016, more than two years earlier, the 8th National Assembly had commenced the constitution amendment process by setting up committees in both chambers. Members of the committees traversed the entire country and came up with reports and draft bills.

“By 2018 as El Rufai mentioned, President Muhammadu Buhari had commenced assent to constitutional amendment bills. Out of the 32 Constitution Bills considered by the National Assembly, 24 secured the required number of votes on the floors of both chambers. Also, when the 24 were sent to the state Houses of Assembly, only 12 bills got the required votes.

“This same El-Rufai was one of the governors that frustrated the passage of most of the bills by state Houses of Assembly. Eventually, the President assented to five of the 12 Bills submitted to him in 2018 and refused to sign seven others.

“Even then, it will be interesting to ask the Kaduna State Governor how his state has implemented important restructuring Bills passed by Eighth National Assembly headed by Saraki that have been signed into law like the Financial Autonomy for State Legislature and Judiciary Act.

“If the APC was elected into power in 2015 and El Rufai and his cohorts were talking about amending the constitution to implement restructuring three years later when the government had less than a year to the end of its tenure, the restructuring agenda must be an after-thought or a less important one on the hierarchy of issues on the APC’s plate.”

Olaniyonu added that el-Rufai has “now become the spokesperson of a failing presidential campaign as he struts from one television station to the other, making vile threats, throwing abuses, and spewing lies. The day of reckoning will soon be here. Nigerians will surely not reward failure or buy cheap lies”.

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