Following a 13-count charge against the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Bureau, over alleged falsification of assets he declared, Senators of the upper chamber of the National Assembly have vowed to stick by the Senate President as he appears for trial before the tribunal today.
According to Blueprint Newspaper,The Senators, who separately condemned the move to summon the Senate President to stand trial, also called on the federal government to focus on governance and not engage in politically motivated trials and witch-hunt of perceived enemies.
The Code of Conduct Tribunal had, on the strength of 13-count charge bordering on alleged falsification of assets declaration and under-declaration raised against the Senate President by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), summoned him to appear before it today for trial on the charges.
Reacting, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi (APC Niger North), said all the allegations raised against Saraki by the CCB are politically motivated but “will not in anyway derail the 8th Senate from its focus of bringing about change in the positive sense, to Nigerians across the various sectors.”
He said: ” I want to believe an allegation remains an allegation; and our laws are very clear. It is an allegation until it is proven; I want to believe it remains an allegation. However, let’s take a closer look at what the allegations are, dating back to 2003 to date, I think, as far as I am concerned there is something fishy about it. It is very obvious. Of course, we know what has happened since the inauguration of the 8th Senate.
“And what I want to state here clearly is that we have a duty, based on our mandate by the electorate, to come here. A number of processes were done, and I want to believe that, unless if somebody is trying to tell us that all those processes were carried out by various security agencies were not correct, I want to believe, if they were correct, then somebody needs to ask the question: how come twelve years down the line somebody is feeling that there is something he has forgotten in those years and he wants to find out an answer for them now?
“But, I think that what the 8th Senate is looking at clearly are the issue of youth unemployment; the insurgency for which we know that based on the support of the National Assembly, we are all living witnesses to the thorough and expeditious work done to confirm the Service Chiefs, and our resolve through our legislative agenda to support our party in this particular dispensation. I want to believe that we will not be distracted from that, and whatever it is that anybody is doing, our laws are very clear. We have a responsibility, and on the basis of that we will try to do what Nigerians expect of us.
“We are also aware that the ad-hoc Committee on Power has been working. I am sure all of us here, after all these days work, I don’t know how many of you will go back home and meet light in your houses. So, these are very serious issues that Nigerians expect that we pay our attention to; and I want to assure you that the 8th Senate will not be distracted in any way.
“We will stand by our leaders because leadership is from God. And, as far as I am concerned, I didn’t come here because I am the best; it is just the will of God that we will be here. And based on the fact that we are here, we shall try as much as possible to deliver very good legislations that will move this country forward. Nigeria is great, and we want to make it greater. And I assure you, we will definitely not be distracted. The entire Senate is behind our leadership”.
Another lawmaker, Senator Hussain Salihu (APC Nasarawa South) said, “The charges against Saraki as far as I am concerned are just distractive, in the sense that we are talking about issue of thirteen years ago and people are bringing it now.
I think Nigerians should disregard such issues because they are distracting the National Assembly from doing its own constitutional work. And I don’t think that it is going to help us.
“What we are talking about now is how we are going to get power supply; how the ordinary man can send his children to school and the sick to get hospitals that will treat them. So, the allegations are non-issues.
I think the people who are doing this are not helping the country; they are not helping the President and they are not helping anybody because as far as the National Assembly is concerned, we are going to move on from all these distractions.
“As you can see, for those of us that are around we are doing our work and the place is energised to take off for effective legislative activities when we resume. So, I don’t see how these things are going to affect us. They will do it and get tired. What happened thirteen years down the line, why have they not brought it until now? So, we feel that those who are doing this are not helping the nation at all”.
According to Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP Abia North), as far as majority of senators are concerned, Saraki has led the Senate creditably well in the last 100 days and will continue to give him their total support, irrespective of any distractions from any quarters.