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Saraki: Nigerians divided over calls for his resignation


Senate President , Bukola Saraki

Senate President , Bukola Saraki

• He Should Go • No, He Should Not
• ‘Why Sen. President Must Step Aside’
• Leader’s Trial Will Destroy APC, Warns Ex-Senator

With no signs of subsiding, arguments for and against the resignation of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, are growing louder, with more Nigerians coming out to take sides on the contentious issue.

Saraki is currently undergoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja, for alleged false declaration of assets. Several efforts by the Senate President to halt the trial have met legal brick walls, even as more allegations of massive corruption continue to emerge.

Urging Saraki to dig in and fight to the last are two former senators, Nosike Ikpo and Francis Spanner Okpozo.

Ikpo, a two-time senator in the Second Republic (Bendel East, now Delta North), said Saraki’s ordeal is the fallout of persecution by the All Progressives Congress (APC), which didn’t want him to be Senate President and is therefore seeking means to bring him down.

Warning that APC’s grouse with the Senate President has the capacity to destroy the party, Ikpo said: “I will not ask him to submit to the wishes of those who want to persecute him. I will tell him to keep fighting. He has not been found guilty. Some of his mates even said that he has a very good case as regards what they are accusing him of. We should watch and see when he starts his defence.

“The CCT should not correct Tinubu’s mistake with Saraki. The CCT admitted it made mistakes. If a mistake was made in the case of Senator Bola Tinubu, should you now correct it with Saraki? It is not right. They should have continued with the same mistake. APC is destroying itself by toying with the wonderful opportunity it has. Things are not going well for them. Things are bad in the country for everybody. If there is an election today, nobody will vote for them.”

On his part, Francis Okpozo (Delta South) also urged Saraki to “stay until the outcome of the case.” He described as premature calls for the Senate leader’s resignation when he has not been found guilty. “There is no way he can be forced out, and we should not pre-empt the court’s decision,” he added.

But former national chairman of Justice Party (JP), Chief Ralph Obioha, noted that the case against the Senate President is an indictment, hence “the honourable thing for him to do is step aside, pending the conclusion of his trial.”

He said: “Saraki cannot be sitting as head of the legislature, presiding over activities of those who may, one way or the other, have similar cases. Morally speaking, there is no justification for him to continue to hang on to power.

“A precedence has been set in this kind of circumstance. Evans Enwerem was Senate President, Chuba Okadigbo was Senate President, as well as Adolphus Wabara; they had different cases that touched on morality and they all quit their positions while their trial lasted. He can always reclaim his position when he successfully goes through his trial. I do not see it as a do or die thing. I believe it is even in his interest that he does not influence the process of the trial using his position.”

Former Chief Whip of the Senate and PDP chieftain, Roland Owie, also opposed calls for Saraki’s resignation, saying the Senate President’s ordeal is a clear case of persecution.

He said: “Saraki was governor from 2003 to 2011, elected to the Senate in 2011, and re-elected in 2015. What Nigerians need to ask the CCT is: was the CCT in detention between 2003 and June 2015, when Saraki became the Senate President?

“This is a clear case of persecution. Period! A Benin parable says, ‘a child who says his mother will not sleep won’t sleep either’. Since those fighting Saraki are just unhappy that he is Senate President, he must not resign until this case runs its full cycle to the Supreme Court.

“Agents of darkness did it to late Senator Chuba Okadigbo and Senator Adolphus Wabara. They stepped aside. And at the end of the day, when they got victory at the courts, it was too late to return as Senate Presidents. Saraki don’t resign until after the Supreme Court judgment!”

Agreeing that the better option could have been resignation, the Deputy National Secretary of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Jerry Obasi, thinks this is no longer tenable because according to him, the court has behaved like an interested party, going by alleged improper comments by the trial judge.

“In advanced societies, he should have quit until the matter is sorted out. But as it is, now, I can say the onus lies on him to resign or continue to stay in office. This is because there are certain interests that want to ensure he leaves office at all cost. Look at the outburst from the court, which is a clear indication that it has an interest it is protecting.

“I believe it is a trial on our democracy and if we must safeguard it, whatever is good should be done to make it work for us. I want to say that already many are seeing the matter as a controversial one. And that is why you cannot expressly ask the Senate President to resign and face his trial,” said Obasi.

Also backing calls for Saraki’s resignation is human rights activist, constitutional lawyer and APC chieftain in Cross River State, Chief Utum Eteng, who argued: “There have been too many controversies in his Senate Presidency, and in the face of all these, the best option is throw in the towel.”

On moral grounds, prominent lawyer, also in Cross River State, Mr. Etim Inyang, believes Saraki should step aside, as he has the burden of going to the tribunal daily. He, however, added that there is no legal premise to justify a resignation because the accused is still presumed innocent. “It is only when the court makes a pronouncement, and not even a pronouncement from the tribunal. There must be a final decision in court before he is said to be guilty or not,” Inyang noted.

Former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, described calls for Saraki’s resignation as ill conceived, stressing that the leader is still innocent.

According to him, “those calling for his resignation are merely exercising their constitutional rights. If you say he should resign, what if he finally wins the case at the CCT? What would follow?”

For Rivers State APC spokesman, Mr. Chris Finebone, however, the fall of the Senate President is only a matter of time, and his ordeal is self-inflicted.

“I am sure that everybody understands what played out, right from the very moment the National Assembly was inaugurated, and particularly the way the APC tried to take the interest of everybody into account. But in a twist of fate, it appeared some persons allowed their own personal interest to supersede that of the party. That has really put the party in jeopardy. We still feel bitter that the inordinate ambition of the present Senate President has put a lot of stumbling block on the path of the party and the Presidency,” he said.

The National Organising Secretary of Action for Democracy (AD), Abdallah Ibrahim, noted: “Saraki should come to terms with reality, resign and face his case.”

For public affairs analyst in Ogun State, Mr. Ola Roberts, the APC “should have thrown him out. He should have resigned and even resign from the political party or be forced to resign from the position by the party. I do not think I can find better words for what the senators are doing by following him to the trial, than say it is a show of shame.”

From Ilorin, home of the Senate President, APC chieftains, Ishola Balogun Fulani, Chief Wole Oke, and Yusuf Maja urged Saraki to continue in office, citing his innocence until convicted.

But Chief Iyiola Oyedepo, chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state and two human rights lawyers, Abeny Mohammed and Salman Jawondo, advised the leader to resign on moral grounds and preserve the integrity of the Senate.

According to Mohammed, “I am not saying he is guilty, but with quasi-criminal charges against him, he should not resign as a senator, but as the Senate President. I have seen sycophants at work. Because of what they think they are getting from the crisis, they are not telling him the truth. It is not morally sound for the Number Three citizen of this country to be put in the dock everyday.”

Former senator, Domingo Obende (APC), however, called for caution on the part of the party’s leadership and President Buhari.

Obende, who represented Edo North between 2012 and 2015, said: “The issue is already in court. The lawyers will have to look at it.‎ I am of the view that the party is supreme in everything, but they must sit down together, the leadership of the party and the parties, and let there be serious discussions. And if there is going to be a soft landing, let it be. But whatever the party decides, that is what will take pre-eminence.”

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  • FirecloudOFGOD

    Saraki’s insistence on staying as senate President whilst fighting the corruption allegations, is completely wrong and besmirches the august position that that title entitles. As long as Saraki continues to desperately hang on, some have argued that he is so used to the trappings of the position and would feel naked and even more vulnerable, so will he continue to put his trustworthiness, integrity and ability to make a dignified and sound judgement call, on line. I do not see how he will come out of this case with his integrity totally intact and respectable! More tragic is the fact the position of “Senate President” has dropped several notches lower in the eyes of many!

    Nigerian politicians are good at the hurly burly of politics, but have never really studied the finesse, intricacies and etiquette that is required in being part of a functional, modern, responsive and responsible democracy!

    • Engineer

      I concur…anybody who support saraki action is a cruel and bias person who is not ready to develop his or her intuition in good morality by been selfish, un faithfulness and lack leadership oriented.

    • nigeriamail2

      Anyone who supports Saraki is both unpatriotic and very likely a beneficiary of the proceeds of corruption. Or perhaps just a simple blind deaf and accursed idiot. And that is putting it mildly.

  • olusola tunde

    Why should he resign when it’s clear from all intent that they want to force him out, the stand of the law is very clear he is still innocent until supreme Court finally decides because even if he is found guilty at the code of conduct tribunal, he will end up getting justice at appeal or supreme Court, but like seriously, we are talking about code of conduct yet the evidence. this is looking like EFCC case which should go to other court, anyway we are all watching

    • KennBest

      You’re one of the sick minds online. You probably grew up with a wasted mind. CCT has not even reached a verdict and you’re talking supreme court. If you think we’re going to be dealing with just Saraki’s case in our courts, then you must be dreaming. Saraki is a corrupt man and he deserves to spend time in prison. The least honourable thing he can do right now, is to step down from the Senate Presidency. Even if he alleges attempt to strike match on his body, he’s equally guilty of rubbing fuel on his body. He stole from Nigeria and its very obvious he’s going to jail. Just wait until we #occupyNASS.

      • olusola tunde

        U re really sick and perveted Mr online judge. I don’t discuss with low mind like urs

      • G Bash

        If Saraki is a corrupt man, don’t you think the whole senate is corrupt aswell and should be in prison. We all know that every individual that has held a Govt appointment in Nigeria some how steals from the country, and I ‘m they all have records too but it hasn’t been used against them. Oga online judge be sensible with your words and think deep of the situation before you rant.

        • Suleiman Alatise

          Yes, that is the reason Saraki must be taken out, and the reason they always follow him to the tribunal, they are pretty sure they will be sought after one after the other, and that is why they are trying to help their neighbour whose house is on fire, however, not all the senators are corrupt, there are upright guys among them, though they are very few.

      • Darlington

        Why can’t you wait for CCT to rule on this case. Why convicting Saraki online?

    • Ak Ba.

      Did he commit the crime or not. Please answer honestly. If he did? Should crime be punished. Should we set all criminals free because there are other known criminals out there? Think!

      • olusola tunde

        I like ur presentation, u presented ur arguement without using abusive word, thanks for that maturity. Yes, he is alleged to have committed so we wait until he is found guilty

  • Ifeoluwa

    I agree with Fishbone.. Saraki’s over-ambitiousness is part of the current situation of the country today. Yes, he stepped on Tinubu’s toes when he moved against the Muslim-Muslim ticket, but he got ahead of himself when he stepped on the party’s agenda, cunningly snatching the senate president position. I assume this party means well and want to bring real change, and this can only be done when the language is the same. But a traitor like Saraki who has gone to dine with the enemy ( which comes at a cost), who is not in sync with his party’s objective will be unable to deliver this change. The party strategically nominated individuals who can independently execute its plan, but smart Saraki had to double cross it and hiding under the guise of votes (free right). Matter of fact, he should be suspended or sent packing from the party. But I like how they are dealing with him instead.. I was almost carried away by his letter, acting like the saint and a smart one, but I quickly remembered the pain an average Nigerian is going through as a result of this budget, and I raised my hand (in writing this note) that Saraki should be gone as Senate President. Resign!

    • Darlington

      Pls answer the following questions: when did you discover that Saraki is overambitious? When did you notice that Saraki is a traitor? When Saraki left PDP for APC, together with 15 Senators and five governors, what did you call him? Agent of change I guess? What is the difference between what Saraki did with the PDP to become Senate President and what Tambuwal did with then ACN to emerge as Speaker? The law of karma is not only catching up with Saraki as individual but APC as a party. What ACN, ANPP, CPC and few recalcitrant PDP House of Reps members sowed in 2011 to sabotage PDP, is coming back to hurt now ruling APC. A precedent was set by Tambuwal against PDP, that was what Saraki and Dogara exploited. If Saraki is removed, his loyalists will connived with PDP to enthrone PDP Senator, possibly Ekweremadu as next Senate President. Then the political battle of wits continues till 2019. The danger of all these shenanigans is that, Buhari and his government will be highly distracted, and will end up not providing the long waited change as promised. This will pave way for electorates to vote him and APC out of power in 2019.

      • Ifeoluwa

        APC had their house in order by selecting desired candidate for the senate president position. Saraki became overambitious when he neglected the decision of the party and instead aspired for the position. In fact he is answering his query right now. He became a traitor when he went to seal deals with the opposing party and now trying to appear as if they did it of their own accord. Yes, we know he is intelligent and smart, but you can’t be smarter than a party. He has no respect for guidelines and superiors. What do you expect of someone who has no respect for even his biological father who made him in the first place? This is the repercussion. This is obviously politics, and just like he called it a game, it is almost over.. Let’s watch who loses.

        • Eromosele Onoigboria

          God bless you.

  • First Class Receptions

    Section 66(1a – i) the 1999 Constitution bars certain categories of Nigerians from being members of the National Assembly. This categories include those indicted for embezzlement or fraud

    As long as those indicted and facing one criminal charges or the other are still either in the National Assembly or in government, the present administration fight against corruption would be futile.

    Governance would be affected and the masses will not enjoy the change mantra of the new administration.

  • utolason

    Guardian editor, I don’t know who you’ve been talking to, but I know Nigerians cannot be said to be divided if, as the case is, over 80% believe Saraki should resign. You can’t run the senate from the courtroom. Don’t forget that EFCC is waiting for him to finish his CCT case!

  • Engineer

    Saraki must respect his integrity and resign from senate president but not as senate. He is just too selfish with others followers supporting him. We are in era of eradicating corruption starting from the no1, no 2 and no 3 Citizen position of Nigeria ,So others citizens and cabinet and also Foreigners can also follow the footstep that Nigeria as a whole is not a lawless country anymore.. So in that case, Saraki should resign as Senate president and face his trial in court. He should also understand that by helping us to act as leader who is ready to surrender by been the number 1 who is ready to make the change we want to happen. How can u be no 3 citizens with full allegation of court cases at hand and still willing to be leading the country while u are in. Court docker everyday. It’s not possible. Even if buhari was in saraki position of corruption allegation.. we will protest for his resignation as well… Thank u

  • nigeriamail2

    The case of Saraki should be seen beyond politics. He is probably the current personification of corruption in public offence. If he had any modicum of decency and ethical morality in his wretched soul, it may be best to step aside and defend himself.

    Like they say, “every day for the thief, one day for the owner.”

    Nigerians are the ‘owners’ and Saraki (representing his ilk) personifies the (alleged) ‘thief’ in this context. I hope he is jailed for a long time and serves as an eye opener to the people of Kwara and politicians nationwide. The people are watching.

    I implore all to join hands with those looking for Deiziani (former oil minister) to ask her to return our money and stand trial.

    There is a site I saw the other day which proves Nigerians are waking up. We should support such people big time.

  • kinetiq

    The whole system is corrupt in this country, that is why with all the evidence against any criminally minded public servants, they still believe they can buy their way out of any case. It’s just a matter of how much they have set aside to spend on the judiciary.

  • Lims

    It’s no news that he’s being persecuted. Thus, until he’s proven guilty, NO RESIGNATION YET!

  • Arabakpura

    Saraki’s utterances are his albatross! Whether he resigns or not, he is already looking like a caged man and the senate is so bad for it! He has been seeking so much the face of Buhari but receiving only two exposed teeth!