The embattled Senate President perhaps did not envisage that a day like this would arrive when he threw his hat into the rings to go
against the dictates of his party in the choice of who leads the Senate. With the Supreme Court clearing the coast for Senator Saraki to
stand trial over allegations of false declaration of assets, it seems the end is nigh for the senate president writes EMMA ALOZIE

 

with relevant inherent powers
and sanctions, but that, as a
quasi-criminal tribunal/court,
it has the necessary powers to
put into effect, its mandate of
ensuring accountability, probity,
transparency, etc in public office,”
Justice Onoghen held.
With this, the coast is now clear
for Senator Saraki to have his day
in court. Reacting to this ruling,
the embattled senate president
through his special adviser
on media, Yusuf Olaniyonu
expressed disappointment with
the ruling. “After listening to the
ruling of the Supreme Court in the
appeal he filed to challenge the
process of arraigning him before
the Code of Conduct Tribunal,
Senate President, Dr. Abubakar
Bukola Saraki hereby states as
follows :
“He expresses disappointment
over the Judgment of the apex court
in the country on the six grounds
of his appeal. He however will like
to put it on record that the facts
of the substantial matter are not
before the Supreme Court since
the apex court was only invited to
rule on some preliminary issues
False Asset Declaration: As the
noose tightens on Saraki
SENATOR Bukola Saraki, the
President of the Senate is really
embattled. He has crossed many
seas, but the sea ahead seems
really ‘uncrossable’. With last
Friday’s ruling by the Supreme
Court mandating his trial to
resume at the Code of Conduct
Tribunal, CCT, the embattled
Senate President is facing stiff
opposition to vacate his seat.
In arriving at the ruling in
the appeal filed by the Senate
President, Justice Walter that
there was an attempt by Saraki
to intimidate the CCT by
claiming that it disobeyed the
order of a Federal High Court
barring it from continuing with
the proceedings pending the
determination of a suit filed by
the Senate President to challenge
the trial.
“I have looked at the
records, there is no where
such order was made. “The
lower court (Court of Appeal),
in considering the issue, had
come to the conclusion that the
Code of Conduct Tribunal is a
tribunal with limited criminal
jurisdiction. However, looking
closely at the provisions of
the 5th Schedule to the 1999
Constitution (as amended)
and Code of Conduct Bureau
and Tribunal Act, earlier
referred to in this judgment,
it is safer to hold that the said
tribunal has a quasi-criminal
jurisdiction designed by the
1999 Constitution.
“It is a peculiar tribunal
crafted by the Constitution. In
this circumstance, I hold the
view that, as a tribunal with
quasi-criminal jurisdiction,
with authority to be guided
by the Criminal Procedure Act
or Code in the conduct of its
proceedings, it can legally issue
bench warrant for the purpose
of carrying out its quasi-criminal
jurisdiction.
“I should not be understood
as saying that the Code of
Conduct Tribunal is a court of
superior record or jurisdiction
in the process of commencing the
trial.
“The Senate President believes
he will have his day in the court
to prove his innocence of the
charges preferred against him
during the trial proper. Dr. Saraki
will like to thank everyone who
has expressed support for him
from the beginning of the case. He
assures everyone that at the end
of the day truth will prevail and
justice will be served.”
This is the most opportune
moment awaited by the Senate
Unity Forum, SUF, the group in the
Senate that opposed the election of
Saraki as the Senate President has
regrouped to resume hostilities
against him. A prominent member
of the group, Senator Kabir
Marafa, APC Zamfara, who has
never hidden his disdain for
Saraki as senate president has fired
the first shot, calling on the Senate
President to resign.
“If the senate president refused
to step aside, we expect Nigerians
especially those who voted for us
to represent them at the senate to
ask questions. We expect them to
ask us why we failed to take action
“His recent legal storm at
the Supreme Court, where
he was advised to return to
his much-dreaded Code of
Conduct Tribunal should be
enough lesson to teach him
that no amount of profligacy,
supplication and political
manoeuvring can save him
from further agony and
destruction if he continues
to persist in his unrealistic
and unfeasible ambition,” the
group said in a press statement.
Femi Falana, the Lagos
based human rights crusader
has pointed out that Saraki’s
continued stay as the president
of the Senate is a huge moral
burden. Falana gave the
example of Chuba Okadigbo
and Adolphus Wabara who
willingly resigned their
positions as senate presidents
when they had allegations of
misconduct against them.
“Having undertaken to
prove his innocence at the
Code of Conduct Trubunal
Senator Saraki should resign
as senate president so as to
preserve the integrity of the
National Assembly.
“When Senators Chuba
Okadigbo and Adolphus
Wabara were indicted they
were made to step down as
senate presidents,” Falana
said.
Saraki’s case is worsened by
fact that he is not in the good
books of Danladi Umar, the
chairman of the CCT, who
has come under scrutiny over
allegations that he demanded
for N10m from one Taiwo
Rasheed, a retired Customs
officer. Umar strongly believes
that this sudden reappearance
of this accusation is being
masterminded by Saraki.
Now that the Supreme Court
has given him the all clear to
seat in trial over the Senate
President, many see this as a
veritable opportunity to get
back at Saraki. Can Saraki
survive this?
despite the bad image that the
development is creating for the
federal parliament.”
“However, if the senate
president refuses to resign and
neither the leadership nor the
entire Senate mounts any pressure
on him to do so, then we would
call on Nigerians to recall all
their representatives in the Senate
because we have failed in our
responsibilities,” Senator Marafa
said.
Also a group from the Senate
President’s home state of Kwara,
Afonja Descendants Union has
advised the senate president that
the most honourable thing to in a
situation like is to vacate his seat.
“The Afonja family located in
several parts of Ilorin Emirate
comprising Ilorin East, Ilorin
West, Ilorin South, Asa and
substantial part of Ifelodun Local
Governments in Kwara State,
take this opportunity to advise
the embattled President of the
Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki to drop
his Senate presidential position
and concentrate on his senatorial
responsibility which has been
virtually abandoned.


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