Saraki Receives Support of Political and Civil Society Heavyweights as Trial Nears By Saka Olawale
Following the high-level machinations and shenanigans that have gone on at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) case of the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, several political, legal and civil society heavyweights have come out in support of the Senate President.
With the APC’s virtual silence on the Saraki case, Comrade Timi Frank, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the party has faulted the case, and called on the party to intervene in the matter that several political analysts have called a political persecution, as opposed to a legal prosecution. Frank had this to say:
“I also want to say that the leaders of our great party have unfortunately remained quiet in the face of evil. I don’t believe we have forgotten that the victory of the APC during the last general elections could not have been possible without courageous strategists like Saraki who lent their political weight in favour of the APC at the risk of their own lives and personal survival. I don’t think we have forgotten how Saraki led scores of Senators to cross over to the APC on the floor of the Senate… It is time to rally round our generals who have fought valiantly and led us to victory. To abandon Saraki is to abandon a worthy comrade.”
Meanwhile, the Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) has also called for caution in the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), saying that if care is not taken by all parties, Nigerians will begin to see that the trial is a facade for political punishment.
The group, in a statement titled: “The Trial of Bukola Saraki: Prosecution or Persecution?”, signed by its President, Igho Akeregha and Head, Programmes and Labour Rights, Chris Onyeka, stressed the need to ensure sanity in the polity of the country to avert the truncation of the anti-corruption battle, defame and destroy the judiciary.
“CLO believes and supports the drive to combat corruption in all its ramifications from our polity” the group said, “but we recognise that with the CCT Trial Of Dr. Bukola Saraki, there are imperfections that have increasingly come to the fore as a result of [the] prosecution, therefore we urge the CCT handling this case to be fair and upright in its adjudication by not giving in to any form of intimidation, inducement or harassment. Anything to the contrary poses a grave danger to the judiciary and the nation’s democracy.”
Additionally, several legal titans have come to speak out against the case, with foremost constitutional lawyer and academic, Prof. Ben Nwabueze; former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Alfa Belgore; former President of the Nigerian Bar Association, Mr. Olisa Agbakoba; Senior Advocate of Nigeria, Chief Mike Ozekhome; former Justice of the Supreme Court, Justice Samson Uwaifo (rtd) and many others citing discrepancies in the adjudication of the case, and warning that the reckless precedents being set by the Chairman of the CCT, Dan Ladi Umar, are dangerous for Nigeria’s democracy.
As it stands, the Nigerian public has been patiently watching and waiting to see which way the pendulum swings. However, many are beginning to see the writing on the wall – based on the calls from the legal experts, the CSOs, and the political heavyweights. Nigerians are starting to understand that the Saraki case has been rigged to favour his conviction, which begs the question: does the injustice perpetrated by the government in Saraki’s case lend credence to the fact that we are truly fighting corruption? Or, has this administration come into power to eradicate perceived political dissidents?