Saraki Visits Obasanjo, Supports Review Of Legislators’ Salaries
OSTENSIBLY as part of efforts to cement his legitimacy and acceptability and consolidate his reign, Senate President Bukola Saraki early yesterday visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his Hilltop, Abeokuta residence in Ogun State.
Saraki and his entourage arrived the residence at 9.08 am and held a two-hour closed-door meeting with Obasanjo.
At the end of his meeting with Obasanjo around 11.15am, Saraki told journalists: “I am here with some of my colleagues to pay homage to one of our fathers (Obasanjo), to seek his advice, to get his blessing and also to consult him.
“We all know Obasanjo’s value to this country and we are here to tap from his wisdom and that knowledge and that experience.”
Answering a question on the present situation in the Senate, Saraki said: “As you can see, things are moving smoothly. Definitely, be rest assured that all that (disagreement) will be put behind us very shortly. We are very confident about that.”
On whether his leadership would support a downward review of legislators’ salaries, he stated: “Well, I think already that is in progress. If you remember last time, it was about N150 billion and it is coming down to N120 billion.
“I think the situation in the country deserves that every public servant must make sacrifices and whatever sacrifice that is necessary, we will do it. And that is being done.
“So, be rest assured that we are sensitive; we are aware of the situation in the country and if we are going to lead, we must lead by example. And we would do that.”
A statement signed by his Media Assistant, Bamikole Omishore, said: “The courtesy visit to the elder statesman was in continuation of the senate president’s tour of drawing from the wealth of experience and knowledge from elder statesmen across the nation on ways to move our dear nation forward.”
It was gathered Saraki may have prevailed on Obasanjo to help him reach out to those aggrieved by his emergence. The former President was said to have assured him that channels of communication would be opened with all those concerned.
Thereafter, Saraki departed for Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, into the warm reception of Governor Abdulfatah Ahmed, the state Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Ishola Balogun-Fulani and a mammoth crowd of party supporters, associates and well wishers.
The crowd had waited patiently from 8.am till 1.35pm, when the presidential jet that conveyed Saraki and his entourage touched down at the tarmac of Ilorin Airport. Yesterday’s visit was his first visit to his home state, where he was governor for two terms Ilorin, since his election on June 9.
Those in his entourage were Senators Andy Uba, Danjuma Goje, Ahmed Sanni Yerima and Tayo Alasoadura, as well as former Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola and APC chieftain, Alhaji Kawu Baraje.
At Ilorin, it was a tug of war before the senate president could move from the tarmac to the arrival hall, as everyone struggled to catch a glimpse of him.
In a brief chat with journalists, Saraki, beaming with smiles all the way, thanked Kwarans for their support.
“It is a great reception. I will have time later to thank the people of Kwara State. It is a great opportunity for the people of Kwara State to have one of them to serve at this level. I pray and thank all the people for their support and prayers and everything and I assure them that I will not disappoint them,” he said.
From the airport, his motorcade drove to the palace of the Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari, to pay homage. After exchanging pleasantries, Saraki, the emir and other dignitaries walked from the palace to Ilorin Central Mosque to observe Juma’at service.
Later, the emir canvassed prayers for sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy and the growth of the nation. Sulu-Gambari, who expressed joy over the emergence of Saraki as senate president, prayed for his success in the new assignment.
The monarch prayed that Saraki’s tenure would positively turn around the fortunes of the country. The duo later held a closed-door meeting which lasted over 40 minutes.
Those who accompanied Saraki to the palace included his wife, Oluwatoyin, and some top government functionaries in the state.