The Guardian
Email YouTube Facebook Instagram Twitter

Pressure on Saraki to resign ahead of CCT trial

Related

saraki• Lawmakers differ, mull Senate president pro tempore
• Report indicts NASS over alleged abuse of constituency projects

WITH the impending trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over an alleged false declaration of assets, the days of intrigues may have returned to the upper legislative chamber.

Already, Saraki has allegedly come under immense pressure from within the National Assembly to resign and face his trial. Some senators are canvassing the appointment of a Senate president pro tempore to allow Saraki effectively take care of his trial while still being assured of the safety of his position at the end of the CCT trial.

But other lawmakers still loyal to the embattled Senate president have opposed calls for his resignation citing the issue of fair hearing and justice.

The leadership crisis may be compounded by an audit report by the Media Support Centre at the weekend alleging widespread fraud in the handling of N100 billion constituency projects by lawmakers in the last three years.

This is coming barely a week after former President Olusegun Obasanjo accused the National Assembly of profligacy.

Senator Dino Melaye, who responded to the calls for Saraki to resign described the ongoing trial as political persecution rather than a fight against corruption. In a telephone interview with The Guardian yesterday, Melaye said those calling for Saraki’s resignation were part of the political group waging the political war.

“As far as we in the Senate know, this is not prosecution, it is a political persecution arising from the terrible political disgrace some people suffered during the election of principal officers of the National Assembly last June.

“The issue now is about the institution of the Senate and not of Saraki. We have resolved to protect that institution and stop people from their attempts to kill the Senate.

“Saraki is not going to resign at all. We are going to rise up to the situation and defend him and the Senate. We will no longer fold our arms. We want to assure Nigerians that this too shall pass. We will ensure that the Senate is stable,” he said.

However, the group of senators under the aegis of Unity Forum that worked against Saraki’s emergence as Senate president had renewed their efforts against him even a few days before the Supreme Court ruled that he should go and face his trial at the CCT.

Spokesman for the forum, Senator Kabiru Marafa, believed that Saraki would do the Senate proud if he announced his resignation and stepped aside to face trial.

Marafa said the image of the Senate was already bad pointing out that with Saraki presiding over the chamber while facing his trial, Nigerians would no longer have any measure of confidence ‎in the body.

“‎The most honourable thing for Saraki to do is to resign and face his prosecution. If he wins, the seat is always there and he can be re-elected if those that supported him truly believe he is the best person for the position . And if not, he will remain a senator like he was in the 7th Assembly. Must he be Senate president?”

Some other senators from the political camp favourable to him are of the opinion that an arrangement could be put in place where the Senate president could temporarily proceed on leave to face his trial.

Although those making this suggestion would not want to be on record for now, they are canvassing the idea of appointing a Senate president pro tempore pending the end of Saraki’s trial.

A senator from the North Eastern part of the country who would not want to be named said: “I think our colleagues in the Senate should be very cautious this time in how we manage this situation. It is a very serious issue that involves justice and fairness.

“I also agree that it involves the issue of the image of the Senate. While we cannot run away from the fact that Saraki deserves to be given the benefit of the doubt as well as fairness and justice, we cannot throw away the critical issue of the image of the Senate.”

He continued: “I am not an advocate of the infamous banana peel method of warfare in the Senate. So if I join in suggesting that Saraki be allowed to proceed on a sort of ‘trial leave’ while somebody is appointed to act in his place, I should not be accused of promoting the use of banana peel. Since many may not want the deputy Senate president to act, then a temporary Senate president will not be a bad idea for now.

“I must tell you that whatever happens, nobody will come from outside to remove Saraki as Senate president if we in the Senate continue to support him as we have been doing.”

According to the Executive Director of the Media Support Centre Mr. Wale Fatade , budgets for the projects are not only shrouded in secrecy but are allegedly diverted by some lawmakers.

Fatade who told journalists in Abuja that the polls covered over N100 billion appropriated for the constituency projects for period of 2013 to 2015 only said: “ It would appear nobody but the lawmakers know which projects are being executed with these monies and how much each costs.”

The executive director stated: “Our recent survey shows that a majority of Nigerians are not aware of the presence of these projects and mostly are calling for a reform, they either want the whole thing cancelled outright or that the lawmakers bring more clarity and openness to the process by publishing what each lawmaker gets and for which project so that Nigerians could track these projects.”

He said that over 78 percent of Nigerians voted for immediate scrapping of the constituency project to reduce corruption .
The audit report also called for immediate scrapping of the constituency projects fund and allow the executive arm of government to handle such projects in keeping with the anti- graft war of President Mohammed Buhari.



9 Comments
  • FirecloudOFGOD

    Saraki has a lot of baggage. He is prideful and as such, I do not see him voluntarily resigning the Senate Presidentship, even though that is the right thing to do. He will end up being forced by the hue and cry from the larger society!

  • Ademola Royhym

    Just let saraki resign if his sure he as nothing to do with the accusations on him… And as for Dino Melaye is better he allow the constitution take is own effect… Nobody is above the law.
    Things are not done that way, we have a law to abide with so let’s just follow it.

  • woman leader

    Saraki should just resign jejele

    • Nuel

      If he resigns, Ekweremadu takes over in acting capacity.. Most APC senators would rather die than live to see a PDP senator lead in an APC dominated Senate.

  • OMOLOYIN

    Necessarily Saraki should step down if he is guilty!

  • In a world where honour, honesty, integrity, reputation, nobility, dignity, self-esteem and pride dictates the affairs of men, our over-ego bloated Senate President would have done the most honourable thing left for him and resigned a long time ago. Not waiting for a prompt, just do that and step aside. But, alas, this is the Federal Republic of Nigeria where morality in office is a not a virtue and anything and everything goes as long as you have the financial muscles to call the shots. Call a Nigerian politician a liar and he will just laugh over it. Do same to a politician from an advanced political climate where decency is a watch-word, and you will be frog matched to court of law to justify and back-up your comment, even if it was made carelessly?

    The Honourable Senate President was arraigned before a Nigerian court and slammed with a 13-count charge of false asset declaration. Do our lawmakers sincerely think that this was not enough to ruffle the demeanour of our Senate President and force him to step aside while this serious corruption trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal is being concluded? It is true that he has not been found guilty of any crime yet. It is also true that he has not been discharged or acquitted in any of the 13 –count charge leveled against him. The farce of the whole charade was laid bare when some members of the NASS took a day off to accompany Saraki to the court. They claimed, to the amusement of Nigerians that they were there to give the leader a much needed “moral” support. It was therefore a huge relief to most of us when last Friday the Supreme Court dismissed Mr. Saraki’s appeal against the competence and constitution of the CCT to try him for a 13-count charge of false asset declaration. This was a highly commendable decision by the Apex Court which can go a long way to re-affirming our confidence in our Judiciary. If at the conclusion of this legal tussle Mr Bukola Saraki is acquitted of all charges, so be it, but at least Nigerians would have assured themselves that justice has been served and that our Judiciary have at last done what the good God put them in this planet to do.

    • chukwu michael

      Brother Charles, all that you said above are the very true, but where do we start from? It is a conventional attitude. It was there before Saraki. Even with Saraki, there are many in same condition. Farouk was enmeshed in bribery scandal, he sat tight in the NASS seat. It is now they began the case. Buhari whilst in the case of certificate forgery, was bent on becoming the President. I should have agreed that Saraki should resign, but since it has become a culture in Africa, let him see the end. Apart from you, those who are saying he should resign and doing so not for the love of the country but that he should vacate the seat of SP, which they never wanted him to occupy. Their own motives are selfish. For the honor of the country, he should resign, that is a candid opinion from you, but from his APC colleagues in the NASS, their reason remains that he is not their choice candidate. If their choice candidate was there, they will rally round him in this infamous situation. Because those from the NASS calling for his resignation are not sincere, let him remain and if at the end, he fails, it is the Judgment, if he wins, it is the Judgment. Nigerian Leaders do not know what honor means. If they know, Buhari should have been the first person to see himself as unfit to be the President. Once a Leader is involved in any scandal or allegation of ,the Leader becomes morally, Administratively and Officially sick and contaminated . Under that condition, he is quarantined, but in African, the leprosed Leader is even proud to show and spread his leprosy to the whole country. Please, let Saraki remain as they have always remained.

  • samtalkback

    Some have once written “we live in a day when an image is rated higher than character – A politician who hopes to make it to the top, better look good on TV. If he sweats too much in front of the camera, he will take a toll on how many will vote for him. If he is uneasy or his collar is turned off or if he’s wearing a wrinkle crumple suit, he takes his toll on public opinion. Through his sweating and his crumple looks have nothing to do with his ‘’character image’’ but we as a country will overlook his ‘’character flaws’’ if he looks good in his image’’ what a stupid values system.

    My first question is what image character is Saraki portraying? Secondly, what is his public perception? Thirdly is Saraki looking good in his image? Fourthly, if he should continue, will he earned a vote from the public opinion not from his fanfare Senators? Methinks is most appropriate for Saraki to step aside to clear is image if it is high or low OR his character rating if it is high or low, from there he can deduced public perception about his popularity.

  • Damilola

    Funny…Why three years survey?? What happen to 16years preceding?? This has never been beta in no time past neither now. Yes they should scrap it, but the rot is longer gone far more than this lazy dumb cynical three years survey.