In a bombshell audio that surfaced Saturday, Senate President Bukola Saraki is heard saying his real grouse for “fighting” President Muhammadu Buhari and quitting the All Progressives Congress (APC) was because after investing about 10 billion naira for the president’s election in 2015, he was shut out of “patronage” especially regarding juicy appointments.
The audio, which had Saraki speaking in Yoruba, was published by Kayode Ogundamisi, a pro-Buhari public commentator and media contributor, via his Twitter handle. It was said to be in a recent meeting between Saraki and his loyalists in Kwara State.
The audio has not been independently verified by ORIENTAL TIMES.
In the recording, the Senate President was heard saying that during the run-up to the 2015 general elections, he bankrolled President Buhari’s campaign in every state of the country except the six South-West states.
He said he spent between N200m, N300m and N400m per state with the hope that when Buhari got into office, he would be able to recoup his investments.
But Saraki said Buhari dashed his hopes.
He said, “What is the benefit of people that are campaigning for the APC? What is their track record? Use me as an example. When I left the PDP for the APC in 2014 and was campaigning for the APC like never before, we went to every state to campaign with Buhari up until the election time.
“Out of the 36 states, I paid election money in 30. Some collected N300m while some collected N400m, some collected N200m. The only states, where I had nothing to do with was in the South-West.
“Even on the phone I was calling and giving banks instructions. Our thinking was that when we get elected, we would get the majority of appointments. I even told majority of you then that we shall all be going to Abuja together after the election.
“I thought some of you will be appointed to head federal agencies like road maintenance, like FERMA, NITDA, NPA and others. Because I know that if any Kwara son becomes even just the ED of UBEC, I know what he can approve from his desk. Whether N1m or N2m.
“But for the first time, since we joined politics, you have a President of the Senate or even speaker that cannot appoint a cleaner. I am not referring to board appointments like board appointment which just collect money per sitting. If you look at the agencies they appoint executive positions, what do you want me to say?”
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The full translation of the audio by Ogundamisi is as follows:
“All that you have complained about tonight is on point, I can not find anything you have said that is not on point, you complained about empowerment.
“Let us agree that the last 3 and a half years, things have not been easy at all, I agree and accept things have not been easy at all, particularly in the area of empowerment.
“Before 2015 I have always tried to empower the youth and get you involved in appointments, but this time around as a result of what I call human factor, things have not been the same, I believe it is the will of God.
“When you all are complaining and you give example of Gegele and co and you compare it to what is happening now, I am sure you are asking yourself, what is happening? how come all of you struggling with me are not rewarded, it is unacceptable.
“What is the point of putting everything into the emergence of a government and we could not benefit anything from the government, you are asking yourself, what have you benefited.
“If you have not benefited personally in the last 3 and a half years, how do you go to market us, won’t people ask you what you have benefited for yourself?
“It got to a stage that people will be making fond of you and asking you what you have benefited, but what is happening from Abuja, use me as an example, in 2015 I carried @OfficialAPCNg on my head around Nigeria.
“Hardly any state in Nigeria that I did not campaign for @MBuhari, up to the time of the election in 2015, out of 36 states I paid for the election of 30 states” @bukolasaraki
“Out of 36 states in Nigeria I funded @MBuhari campaign in 30 States, some states I paid 200 Million Naira, some 300 Million, some 400 Million, the only states I did not fund are South West States” @bukolasaraki
“Many times I will be calling my Banks to send money to fund elections across Nigeria for @MBuhari my thinking was that when we get elected, the next thing is that we will get majority of our people appointments.
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“In fact I had already promised some of you here that you will either be MD of Federal agencies, either road maintenance, NIPDA (inaudible) even Nigerian Ports Authority, SUBEB and so on and so forth.
“I know if I put someone amongst you from Kwara even in the smallest Federal agencies, the contract you will sign out, 1 Million, 2 Million, but for the first time that I have been in politics even speaker can’t appoint a cleaner.
“I as President of @NGRSenate I could not even appoint a cleaner not to talk of Board appointment, if you look at Executive positions I have nothing even after spending Billions for 3 and a half years, I am as angry as you are.
“I am fighting @MBuhari because of you, if it because of me I won’t fight, it is not easy to fight the federal government, the sufferings you are all going through is because they did not fulfil our agenda.
“In 2018 I told you all I wont be going with @OfficialAPCNg but in the last one or 2 months that I left I have been doing a lot for you people, my politics is for all of you, I am just here to empower you all, don’t mind the one who just bought form for 33M.
“It was not my plan not to appoint you, when when David Mark was @NGRSenatePresident, every confirmation he made for the @NGRPresident came with something, if they really love us now you will be empowered.
“In the past we they have a cut for Senate President and Speaker but not anymore, so we are no longer going with APC as soon as we joined PDP they called me National Leader when I lost election @atiku came to me immediately.
“Now we have seen the sign that if @atiku becomes @NGRPresident things will come to us, he told me I am the only one that can run his campaign, I know it is not easy for you all, but let me assure you things will be better.
“God see my “aniyan” (Arabic word) now in PDP they have brought us closer, how many people in Kwara did APC bring together in Kwara, now we will soon have power, today in APC they want us to go to @AsiwajuTinubu in Lagos.
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“If I am the only one in PDP I will fight alone, my Father made Kwara and took Kwara to the top 10 in Nigeria and I also took Kwara to between number 1 to 3 in Nigerian politics and they now want us to bow to Lagos.
“In the coming election we will put Youth into power in Kwara, let us take @Atunwa_1as he his, he will take care of you all, all those who contested against him are loyal but Atunwa will….. Inaudible (applause).
“When I was Governor I gave a lot of young people contract, they buy land etc and then empower others, I want to return you to the days of when I was Governor when you were all enjoying, @atiku will open things when we win election.
“You know as a leader I see things that followers don’t see, when we followed @MBuhari we felt after spending money, we saw that he failed to reward us, so we said this Baba is not coming back, no money, no patronage all over Nigeria.
“Even with all the problem we have with @MBuhari the little cut I get I always send to Kwara but I can tell you that we had to design a method to make the little we have, they did not involve us in sharing.
“The only agenda APC have for Kwara is to fight @bukolasaraki , they favour Osun State with empowerment, for the remaining time of @MBuhari we will still get some things, we gave them list for FIRS for 3 years they did not employ our list.
“Thank you for listening to me”
Someone declares, “@bukolasaraki gave us 3 Million Naira” (Applause).
Meanwhile, the Senate President has responded to the trending audio.
Reacting to the clip, Saraki, speaking through his Special Assistant on New Media, Olu Onemola, said the audio was doctored.
He told source “That audio file is doctored and entirely fake.”