The Senate has come out in defence of its President, Dr. Bukola Saraki against the request made on him by some members to step down in view of the Supreme Court sanctioned continuation of the Senate President’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, over assets falsification charges. It maintained that Saraki cannot be asked to resign as his trial is “simply a case of political vendetta”.
It would be recalled that Supreme Court had last Friday ruled that Saraki must continue facing his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT. Shortly afterwards, some anti-Saraki senators, under the umbrella of the Senate Unity Forum, SUF, called for his resignation as Senate President so as not to undermine the integrity of the upper legislative chamber.
The group, while insisting that a person answering to criminal should not be allowed to lead the Senate, called for his resignation from the Office of the Senate President so that he could concentrate on his trial at the CCT.
But reacting in a statement issued on Monday, the Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi explained that after some Senators met in Abuja on Sunday and held wide consultations with their colleagues, reviewing the decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal on preliminary matters filed by Saraki on the charges he is facing at the CCT, they resolved that all calls for Saraki’s resignation were in bad faith and must be disregarded.
While cautioning against all forms of distraction of the upper chamber particularly when it is trying to pass the 2016 budget, Abdullahi declared that the Senate under Saraki has achieved some level of stability and advised the general public to ignore the few Senators agitating for the Senate President’s removal as they were only doing the wish of their paymasters.
According to the statement, ”right from the beginning of the trial last September, we have declared that this case is not about any fight against corruption. It is simply a case of political vendetta.
”Our position remains the same. We still believe that the case is politically motivated.
”We also noted that the decision of the Supreme Court given last Friday was on preliminary matters arising from the commencement of the trial.
The trial proper is yet to begin. And since the fundamental principle in our legal system is that a defendant is deemed innocent until proven guilty, we have decided to patiently observe the proceedings until the case runs its full circle in the nation’s final judicial forum.
”It is on this ground that we want to state categorically that there is no basis for the call on the Senate President to resign until after the matter is decided in that final judicial forum. Such a call at this time is premature, mischievous and unwarranted.
”We therefore reiterate our support for Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate. We stand by him as he goes through the trial at the CCT where we believe he will be able to prove his innocence.
”We also call on members of the public to ignore the rantings of a few Senators who having failed to get the wish of their sponsors done on the floor of the Senate are now launching media campaign against the leadership of the Senate.
”We want members of the public to know that the Senate under Dr. Saraki has achieved stability in the legislative institution and we do not need any negative distraction at this point.
”The focus of the Senate is on the objective consideration and timely passage of the 2016 budget and we will want all Nigerians to support us as we concentrate on this important assignment.
”We also want to say that we will not make any further statement on this case until the matter has been decided in the final judicial forum.”