It is the case that 15% (i.e. 16 out 109) of all senators are ex-governors. This is part of Nigeria’s gubernatocracy. Gubernatocracy, the rule of Nigeria at federal level by ex-governors who have stolen vast amounts of money from their states’ treasuries and therefore can buy lots of political power. The logic is simple: hold one or two tenures as governor of a state then buy a seat in the Senate if not buy the Senate itself.
Ex-governors have lots of undeserved and wantonly stolen cash that they know not what to do with. It is not surprising that currently the most influential senators are gubernatocrats. However, gubernatocracy appears to be under serious threat in the country and rightly so. People are resisting it in larger numbers and it will not be surprising if people start to protest against gubernatocracy on the streets of Nigeria.
The first attack on gubernatocracy is the mass disapproval and discontent of Nigerians with the speculative “ministerial list” of President Muhammadu Buhari that was dominated by public thieving and vote stealing ex-governors (see http://wp.me/p1bOKH-mM). A few days later, gubernatocrat ex-Governor Bukola Saraki and current President of the Senate has been declared wanted for failing to turn up for a hearing to probe his alleged corruption crimes. That Saraki did not turn up for the hearing does not mean he is on the run per se. Saraki is just imitating the very supercilious contempt figures like Ibrahim Babangida, Olusegun Obasanjo and others have for Nigerian institutional justice and arbitration procedures.
Nothing happens to such people who are “self-appointed” to be above the law in Nigeria, Saraki’s warrant may change everything though or so most Nigerians hope. “Baby Doc” Saraki will be seriously shocked at the issue of the warrant for his arrest and might even be pitifully rueing the departure of “Papa” Saraki. Ex-Governor Chibuike Amaechi another gubernatocrat has publicly declared that he cannot prosecuted for his grand corruption crimes in Rivers State; what a cheek!
Every gubernatocrat that is facing prosecution for very obvious and undisputable grand corruption is trying to court public sympathy by crying “witch hunt!” as loud as they can. Witch hunts only attain credibility in the eyes of the public when good or incorruptible men and women are persecuted by corrupt powerful people. When Tam David West was sent to jail by Babangida that was a witch hunt. When Abdurrahman Shugaba Darman, a genuine Nigerian was deported to Chad due to the machinations of Umaru Dikko it was a witch hunt. Thieving gubernatocrats that have set Nigeria back by decades at a time in terms of development and the wellbeing of the public under their jurisdiction are now crying witch hunt too? Witch hunt self don suffer!
The issue of a warrant Saraki’s arrest is an omen (possibly) that portends three things in contemporary Nigeria. First, it will draw more intense critical and forensic attention to the psychotic grand thefts of gubernatocrats while they were governors and that of current governors. Civil society anti-corruption groups are doing a great job in this department. Secondly, it tells us when Nigeria has even a partial semblance of a proper democratic political climate no ex-governor, ex-president or ex-anything is above the law. Thirdly, that President Muhammadu Buhari should distance himself from every single gubernatocrat within and without of his party if he is to retain his credibility or integrity in the eyes of the vast majority of Nigerians.
Maybe we should not read too much meaning into the warrant for Saraki’s arrest but there are too many events happening at the moment in Nigeria that indicates we should, even if just provisionally.