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Saraki denies offer of juicy package

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President of the Senate Bukola Saraki

Saraki interacts with some constituents from the roof top of his SUV as his motorcade goes through the streets of illorinSaraki interacts with some constituents from the roof top of his SUV as his motorcade goes through the streets of illorin

By Naomi Sharang

Senate President Bukola Saraki has denied stories that he was being offered juicy package by the Presidency and All Progressives Congress (APC) to keep him in the party, but explained they were meeting on serious national issues.

He said that though there had had been discussions on some national issues, talks of offers to him by APC leadership or President Muhammadu Buhari was not only untrue but unfortunate.

A section of the media reported that the presidency and APC National Chairman, Mr Adams Oshiomhole, had made overtures to influential leaders of Reformed All Progressives Congress (R-APC), to stall their planned mass defection from the party.

The reports said that Buhari, his vice, Yemi Osinbajo and four APC governors allegedly met on Thursday with Saraki on the grievances of R-APC and some other members.

Oshiomhole was reported to have met individually with Saraki, Speaker of House of Representatives Yakubu Dogara, governors of Sokoto, Aminu Tambuwal and Samuel Ortom of Benue.

He was also reported to have met with others including political gladiators in Kano state and APC caucus in the National Assembly, with a view to dousing the defection threat.

But, in a statement on Monday in Abuja by Mr Yusuph Olaniyonu, his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Saraki said it was myopic for anybody to talk about certain offers being made to an individual.

He said that the future of the country and its democracy were at stake, and not the issue of give and take.

Saraki said: “I saw some reports talking about promise of money or oil block and nomination tickets.

“Those viewing the ongoing development in that context are simply reducing a major national issue involving many key actors to that of personal benefits and preferences.

“I believe at this point, it is important for me to make some clarifications, end speculations and make my position clear.

“It is important for Nigerians to know that the discussions that I and many others of like minds are having with the Presidency and leadership of APC is not about me and what I want.

“It involves the future of our country and her democracy. It is about making things better for our people.

“Though there are many speculations being peddled in the media, let it be known that these discussions are not about me.”

He added that whatever had happened to him in the past had passed, saying “now that God in his infinite mercy has vindicated me, I have moved on, believing that we have all learnt our lessons.

“As I said in my statement following the Supreme Court judgment on July 6, I cannot hold any grudge against any individual.

“I have forgiven all those, who played one role or the other in my persecution and likewise, I have asked for forgiveness from all those that I wronged in the past.

“Our focus should now be about Nigeria. The major issue on the table for discussion is how to strengthen our democracy, rebuild our economy and stop the spate of insecurity.

“It is also to improve the conditions of living of our people and generally chart a course for the development of this great country.

“We will be insulting Nigerians if, as the 2019 elections draw nearer, our deliberations are about personal benefits or how to pay compensation for wrongs done to an individual.

“As for my political future, we just need to continue to engage with others, listen to advice and exchange ideas because the decision is not that of mine alone.

“It is for all our supporters and associates to deliberate upon and take a decision based on the overall interest of our people.

“It is my prayers that Almighty God will guide us right in all our decisions and make a positive turn-around in our country.” (NAN)

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