The Coalition of Northern Groups has said the attempt to deny the former president of the Nigerian Senate, Bukola Saraki, his legitimate place in history by the current Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, is unfair, unjust and demeaning.
The group said it was ridiculous that a current Senate President would refuse to include Saraki’s portrait among those former presiding officers of the Senate in the main gallery of the new Senate building more than three years after he (Saraki) left office.
The spokesperson for the group, Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, speaking to Sunday PUNCH in a telephone interview, noted that Saraki was also deliberately omitted from the list of those to be conferred with various categories of awards by the President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.).
The Federal Government had said it would be honouring some members of society with honorary awards to mark the nation’s 62nd independence anniversary.
Suleiman noted that it would set a dangerous precedent if the award should be seen to be politicised by the incumbent administration.
He said, “This is more so as Saraki’s successor, Senator Ahmad Lawan, is listed as a recipient of the award.
“The convention and norm have always been for a Vice President, Senate President and Chief Justice of Nigeria to be given the titles either on the assumption of office or when national awards are being generally bestowed on recipients.
“The reality is that Saraki has not been conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger because Buhari did not confer the awards before now.
“It is the height of condescension for Saraki’s name to have been removed after the committee set up to recommend deserving Nigerians to the Presidency listed him.
“Though Saraki may have differed on some of the policy decisions taken by the Buhari administration while serving as Senate President, he should not be denied his legitimate place in the 2022 honour list.
Without a doubt, Saraki is more popular with the people and is credited to have achieved more while in office and therefore deserves the award based on his achievements.”