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President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday, shunned former President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, on his 57th birthday.
Similarly, Saraki was silent as the nation’s leader clocked 77 years old earlier on Tuesday.
A reason for this might be ascribed to events and circumstances before and during Nigeria’s 2019 keenly-contested elections.
It was reported that the duo and the arms of government they led from 2015 till 2019 were mostly in the news for animosity.
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It was an open secret that Buhari and the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) wanted Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila (as against Saraki and Yakubu Dogara who eventually emerged) as Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives, respectively.
As fate would have it, Lawan from Yobe and Gbaja, as fondly called, are occupying the exalted positions today.
In 2018, Saraki, despite surviving alleged attempts by the presidency to impeach him, greeted the president on his birthday.
He tweeted, “Happy Birthday to President Muhammadu Buhari and many happy returns”.
In 2017, Buhari felicitated with the former Kwara State Governor.
In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, iBuhari commended Saraki for his commitment to peace of Nigeria.
He said “The President believes that at 55, and having served as a two-term governor, senator and Senate President, Dr Saraki has demonstrated commitment in the pursuit of a prosperous, united and peaceful Nigeria.
“President Buhari prays that God Almighty will grant him more years of good health, wisdom and fulfillment in the service of God and country,”
Despite efforts, the relationship between Buhari and Saraki, who narrated how he donated billions to the party’s 2015 campaign in states, totally crumbled six months to general elections.
It would be recalled that on July 19, 2018, Buhari held a closed door meeting with Saraki as head of aggrieved members APC members threatening to pull out.
The parley, at the instance of some APC Governors, followed Saraki’s meeting with PDP chieftains a day earlier in Ilorin.
In what rattled the ruling party, Saraki dumped the APC with 15 Senators. Most of them, including him, crossed to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
They were Dino Melaye, Kogi; Rabiu Kwankwaso, Kano, Lanre Tejuoso, Ogun; Shaaba Lafiagi, Kwara; Rafiu Ibrahim, Kwara; Barnabas Gemade, Benue; Abdulazeez Nyako, Adamawa.
Others were Monsurat Sunmonu, Oyo; Usman Nafada, Gombe; Suleiman Hunkuyi, Kaduna; Ibrahim Danbaba, Sokoto; Ubale Shittu, Jigawa, Isah Misau, Bauchi; Suleiman Nazif, Bauchi.
Additionally, former Speaker Dogara and a number House members defected.
At many instances afterwards, Saraki, who vied for the presidential ticket and later emerged as Campaign Director General to PDP and its presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, attacked the Buhari government.
Currently, the government appears to be fighting back. Sources confirmed to DAILY POST that the onslaught against the politics heavyweight is far from over.
In the last two months, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) got forfeiture orders on Saraki’s house in Ikoyi and Ilorin. They agency is targeting more.
Last year, Saraki and the federal government, through the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) had a prolonged battle over some of his assets
After his acquittal by the Supreme Court, President Buhari hailed Saraki’s resilience during the trial many critics said he must have endorsed.
He said: “I have seen many instances where individuals and groups seek the destruction of the judicial institution in the foolish thinking of saving their skin, instead of going through the painstaking process of establishing their innocence.
“In the case of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, I have seen him take the tortuous path of using the judicial process. He persevered, and in the end, the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, says he is not guilty as charged.
“This is what I have done in the three elections in which I was cheated out, before God made it possible for me to come here the fourth time I ran for the office.
Buhari added that Saraki’s journey “from the lowest to the highest court of the land provides an important example for Nigerians to emulate.”