Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday, took a swipe at Ekiti State governor, Ayodele Fayose, over the former’s declaration that he (Saraki) was being blackmailed by President Muhammadu Buhari on the proposed $29.9 billion external loan.
The governor had in a statement issued by his spokesman on Wednesday, asked Saraki and the Senate to remain firm and not allow themselves to be stampeded by the President into approving the loan. But Saraki in a statement by his Special Adviser, Media and Publicity, Mr. Yusuph Olaniyonu, advised Governor Fayose and other politicians to stop peddling rumours about his recent visits to the Presidency and implored them not to trivialise serious national issues.
He said the issue of the proposed $29.9 billion external loan did not even come up in any of his visits to the Presidency, wondering where Governor Fayose got his information from. “In all his recent meetings with President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, the issue of the proposed loan never came up for discussion,” he said. According to him, the comments by some politicians on the loan issue without any factual basis were “unfortunate.”
“Like I once told the media, these politically-motivated commentaries are trivialising a serious national issue. They are presenting it as if it is a personal matter that can be decided at meetings between Saraki and Buhari. “The National Assembly which I head as Senate President has taken a position on the issue as required of it by the laws of the land and legislative conventions. “The present National Assembly will make decisions based on national interest and will always act in the interest of the people.
“That is why in spite of the fact that members belong to different parties, when national issues come to the floor, we forget party affiliations and act as Nigerians elected to protect the interest of Nigeria. “A visit to the Presidency by the Senate President is a normal thing because we need to consult, discuss, exchange ideas and make suggestions to each other from time to time. “More importantly, at this time, when the nation is facing economic crisis, there is need for frequent engagements by the Presidency and the National Assembly. “Politicians should stop playing to the gallery or drawing political capital from all issues.
Similarly, the media should exercise restraint in their reportage and commentaries in order to properly serve our people,” the statement quoted Saraki as saying. The Senate had initially thrown out the foreign loan request, saying necessary documents on repayment, loan sources and so on were not attached. However, the Presidency has pledged to attach relevant information and resubmit the loan request.
In the light of the Senate president’s reaction, Governor Fayose told Vanguard, yesterday, that he didn’t need to say more, having made his feelings known less than 24 hours earlier. Fayose, who spoke through his Special Assistant on Communication and New Media, Mr. Lere Olayinka, said: “I don’t have to react to Saraki’s statement at all. I have said my own and posterity is there to judge. Let Saraki say whatever he likes; I have said mine.”