Earlier this month, news of Senator Marafa raising a point of order asking that Senate president, Bukola Saraki become the acting president hit the net like tsunami and most Nigerians were not so pleased with the move he initiated and openly slam him tagging his action as selfish.
Speaking with The Telegraph, he was told that a Coalition of Northern Youths recently described him as an enemy within for allegedly supporting Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe on an alleged motion to make the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, acting president, when Prof. Yemi Osinbajo travelled out of the country earlier this month?
It is an unfortunate development within the politics of North- West in particular. I would have discontented the publication as just a mere rubbish for two or three reasons.
One is that either the writers are envious people or they are ignorant; another reason is that I am a frontal fighter. All my life, I have never believed in hypocrisy or chasing shadows.
Looking at the publication, I believe that whoever this coalition of northern youths are, they are not my mates and they are not the writers of the garbage. So, it is definitely sponsored by one or two different groups.
One of the groups is either the enemies of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, whose interest is anybody who is fighting the Senate President. So when Marafa was fighting the cause of APC, I was their friend, and the sin of Marafa now, is why has he stopped fighting their enemy?
Another of the two groups is the one being most likely sponsored by politicians from Zamfara State, whom I have dominated and they feel they should fight me from the Diaspora. I mean from outside Zamfara State because this is a coalition of Northern youths organisations.
For that, the only thing I will say to them is that they should tell their paymasters that the battle ground is Zamfara and not the pages of newspapers or the Senate.
I am not a white collar politician; I am a frontal fighter, they know who I am, let us meet at the battle ground in Zamfara. I am a responsible lawmaker who has been responsible to his people throughout my six years in the Senate.
The body calls itself coalition of Northern youth organisations, so the word youth here tells me that whoever they are, they are my younger brothers or my children.
So, I am older than them and I have a responsibility to educate them.
There was never any motion on the floor of the Senate to make anybody an acting president. I will say two things to enlighten them; and one is that we are enlightened politicians and there is nowhere in our constitution or in our rule book that says that acting president can be nominated by the National Assembly.
So, nobody will even undertake that journey because it will be a futile attempt.
What happened that day was that Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe was given a chance to contribute to a debate on whether the Senate should accept the letter from the Acting President seeking the Senate to confirm a nominee as the Executive Secretary or Director- General of National Lottery Commission. In his contribution, he accused our government; I am APC blood and soul, that the problem is that there is vacuum in leadership.
That was an insult on our government, and I rose to defend the government and I shouted point of order.
The Senate President, who is also an APC member felt the same way and he gave me the chance to read my point of order.
I raised Order 53(4), which says “a senator must confine his observation to subject of discussion and may not introduce matters irrelevant there to.”
Secondly, you can see their ignorance; they said Senator Marafa, alongside a group in the Senate called Like Minds, but Like Minds was the group that supported Senator Saraki to become the Senate President and I don’t belong to that group, rather, I belong to the Unity Forum, which is a group that supported Ahmad Lawan. So, next time if they are addressing me, they should use the right reference.
Thirdly, they said I seconded a motion raised by Abaribe, but no motion was raised. The presidency is one body and it is the president, who Nigerians elected and gave powers to. He is the only person, who can appoint an acting president.
What do you think might be the motive of your accusers since there was no any motion on that day to which you allegedly seconded?
To show you that there is an element of envy in the publication, they said there is no vacuum in the presidency and that even if a vacuum exists, Marafa and others will not succeed in bringing in anybody from the Senate since the Acting President, Prof. Osinbajo is already on ground.
There was never a motion, Abaribe only made a comment and I countered his comment, and all APC senators supported me and that was exactly what happened.
Lastly, they said what baffles them is my inability to equip myself with the knowledge of the constitution, but please tell them that they are ignorant of the constitution as evident in this their advertorial.
I want to call on these young men to know who Senator Marafa is.
I did all I did on the floor of the Senate because of APC and not because of any other person and I am an unrepentant supporter of President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC government as well as the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo, and I will fight anybody that will fight this government.
That was exactly what I did that day, against all odds, against whatever anybody will say, I defended my government.
But for the avoidance of doubt, if the sponsors of the advert are the enemies of the Senate President, they should go and face him, they know him and he can fight his wars.
But if they are my own enemies from my state, please they should know that the Senate or pages of newspapers is not the battle ground, the battle ground is Zamfara and they know who I am in the state; I can face them.
For the avoidance of doubt, there was no such motion, there was no coup, there was only a move by an opposition senator to tarnish the image of our government and there was a counter move by the majority party senators; the APC, headed by me to defend the APC government and President Buhari, and we defended it and the Senate President acknowledged it, applauded it and commended our efforts at defending our party.
What about their allegation that you are no longer a fire brand in the Senate against its leadership since you have been given a very juicy chairmanship position of one of the standing committees?
I did not fight Bukola Saraki because he is Saraki; I fought because my party said I should fight and when my party said I should stop, I stopped. The decision to end all these hostilities and bring the two sides together was taken by APC and President Buhari himself.
It was not me or anybody. The party said let us come together, this one has won the Senate President; give them the Senate Leader and Deputy Senate Leader, and it was done.
Now you have formed committees, give them some committees, is that not what happened?
I don’t know why Nigerians forget things easily. It was the party and President Buhari that intervened. So, the assertion that I was given a juicy committee to stop fighting the Senate President is rubbish. Am I not entitled to be a committee chairmanship?
I am even more qualified to head committees by our rules; I am a ranking senator, I was the vice chairman of the Petroleum Upstream Committee in the 7th Senate for four years. It is my turn to become the chairman now.
It is only about 30 senators that made it back to the Senate in the 8th Assembly and I am one of them.
So, by the Senate rules, I am entitled to any committee, I am not saying my colleagues are not qualified, but by the rules, I am qualified to head any committee. So, I fought because my party said this is the direction and when the party said stop, I stopped.
A letter was written by the party, saying give Unity Forum this and that, and that was how Ahmad Lawan became the Senate Leader, and that was how my own committee was changed and besides, do people want me to remain irrelevant in the Senate because I am defending APC?
Do you have any advice for these youths, who by your submissions acted ignorantly against you?
For the unguided young men, I advise them to go back to school and learn the ropes. Let them know how these things are done; they should not use the name of anybody under the guise of a coalition northern youths organisations.
Northern youths don’t behave this way; this is against our religion, it is against our culture to impute wrong and perhaps wicked meanings into what somebody has said. In fact, this one is a deliberate act of twisting.
So, if they are Muslims or Christians, they should go back to God because they have offended Him, not Marafa.
At 56 years now, I have reached the age of responsibility and I can stand and defend whatever I say. The day I will say something and not be ready to defend whatever I’ve said, may I not live to witness such a day.
Source: New Telegraph