By Agency Report
A member of the National Assembly, Ali Ndume, has dismissed the current political ambition of the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki, as a pipe dream.
Mr Saraki, who recently defected from the ruling APC to the main opposition PDP, is aspiring to be the country’s next president in the 2019 general elections.
Mr Ndume, an APC senator representing Borno South, was a strong ally of the senate president until they fell out in 2017.
Speaking as a guest on the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) Forum in Abuja, the lawmaker said Mr Saraki was not a threat to President Muhammadu Buhari’s second-term bid.
Mr Ndume said the senate president could only win election in his home state of Kwara, adding that Nigerians would reject him at the polls if he got that far.
“I think it is good he is going for the presidency of Nigeria and he will see that it is only Kwara people that will vote for him, not Nigerians.
“We are waiting, or at best you will see that may be people from North-Central will vote (for him) because he is from North-Central, but I don’t think Saraki will be Nigeria’s president.
“When somebody cannot manage the Senate. How can he manage Nigeria?
“When you present President Buhari and Saraki for people to choose from, you know it is very clear. The difference is very clear.”
Since his declaration for the presidential race, Mr Saraki has said at different fora that the country was in dire need of a leader like him with the “demonstrable capacity to unite the nation”.
But Mr Ndume said he could not be trusted with the country’s leadership, having used his position as senate president to “antagonise and sabotage” the current government.
Where we got it wrong was where Senate President Saraki thought that the Senate is independent.
“The truth is that the legislature is not independent to the extent of operating like a different country.
“In America, the Vice President is the Senate President. Is the Vice President not a subordinate to the president?
“If it were in Nigeria, Saraki would have been the Vice President. Would he be sabotaging his principal?
“The Senate is supposed to support the government, not to sabotage the government, not to antagonise the government.”
Messrs Ndume and Saraki were strong allies and members of the bipartisan Like Minds Group in the Senate formed to, among others, protect the legislature against undue interference.
Mr Ndume said their problem started when he discovered that Mr Saraki was pursuing a personal agenda against national interest for which the group was founded.
The rift got to a head with the removal of the Borno lawmaker as Majority Leader of the Senate and his subsequent suspension for six months.