There is palpable anxiety within the camp of the Senate President, Dr. Olubukola Saraki, over the ruling of the Court of Appeal on Thursday, which thwarted his hope of stopping his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
The appeal court has upheld the trial of the Senate president on 13 counts over a false assets’ declaration.
In a ruling Justice Moore Adumen said the tribunal, which tried the Senate president on September 22 and on October 21, was properly constituted.
The ruling came barely 24 hours after Saraki fell out with the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Senators who were instrumental in his emergence as the Senate President on June 9 against the wishes of the All progressives Congress on whose platform he the senatorial election.
PDP Senators had walked out shortly before the confirmation of former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, over the decision of the upper chamber to go ahead with the confirmation against the recommendations of its Committee on Ethics and Privileges.
The Ethics and Privileges Committee had recommended that the Senate keep Amaechi’s clearance in abeyance pending when his case in court over corruption allegations is dispensed with in conformity with the Standing Rules of the Senate.
Nigerian Pilot Sunday gathered that PDP Senators and leaders of the opposition party that met on Thursday night, in Abuja, are still seething with rage over how Saraki handled Amaechi’s clearance and are considering several options to take their pound of flesh from the former Kwara State governor.
A member of the PDP who craved for anonymity said the party is not very surprised that Saraki may be working hand-in-glove with Amaechi to frustrate PDP since they both belonged to the former new-PDP that defected as a group to the APC.
He said one of the options on the table for PDP that openly endorsed Saraki for the Senate Presidency is to withdraw the support of PDP members and stay neutral in the battle between Saraki and APC leaders who are still insisting that Saraki should respect the position of the party and resign.
According to him, “We are weighing the option of allowing (Bukola) Saraki to carry his cross alone since he feels he can now do without the support of our senators.
He added that Saraki cannot feign ignorance of the war between Amaechi and PDP over the Rivers State governorship and “if he (Saraki) can bend the Standing Rules of the Senate to confirm Amaechi as a minister at all cost then we too will have no alternative but to re-evaluate the strong backing we have been giving him in the Senate.”
However, though Nigerian Pilot Sunday gathered that Saraki has been reaching out to PDP senators to broker peace, his aides said the confirmation of Amaechi did not in any way affect the relationship between the Senate President and PDP Senators.
Special Assistant (Media) to the Senate President, Chuks Okocha told Nigerian Pilot Sunday in a telephone interview last night that the PDP Senators are standing by the position of the PDP Minority Leader, Dr. Godswill Akpabio that the confirmation of Amaechi has nothing to do with the leadership of the Senate.
He said, “The leader (Akpabio) has spoken that the issue of Amaechi has nothing to do with the Senator Bukola Saraki leadership of the Senate. Akpabio said that the leadership was not in doubt as he was unanimously elected. Therefore, that Amaechi was cleared has nothing to do with the leadership of the Senate and that the leadership of the Senate was not in doubt.”