Alleged 2015 Senate Rule Forgery: Matters Arising | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Alleged 2015 Senate Rule Forgery: Matters Arising

James Onanefe Ibori
Posted: Jul 1, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

By Tiko Okoye

All hell has literally broken loose since the Federal government filed charges at the Federal Capital Territory High Court, Abuja, against quadruplet of Senate President, Deputy Senate President, immediate past Clerk and current Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly, over the alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules. It is understandable, even if still detestable, that politicians and their supporters should choose to base their position on Buhari’s anti-corruption campaign solely on partisan grounds. But it befuddles the mind when otherwise respectable and supposedly apolitical eminent personalities heavily weigh in on the debate on largely spurious grounds.

Just last Tuesday I read a piece written by Mazi Sam Ohuabunwa in his weekly column in BUSINESSDAY in which he disclosed that something in him revolted when “the Senate President, the leader of one arm of our government – the legislature – is being harangued as a common criminal.” He loudly wondered if this was still about fighting corruption or if Saraki was being forced to fight “for his political life.” Haba Mazi! As a renowned captain of industry who presided over the Nigerian affiliate of a global pharmaceutical giant where good corporate governance was the norm, oughtn’t you to be revolted less by the picture of a senior political figure being charged to court for alleged forgery and more by the alarming possibility that those we elected to make laws for us decided to start their first business of the day with a forged order paper?

 Besides, shouldn’t they have known that those who opt to play cats must expect to be scratched? It certainly befuddles the mind that the likes of Mazi Ohuabunwa see nothing worrisome with the allegation that the leadership of an institution that’s charged with making good laws for the nation came into office on the basis of forged documents? What kinds of laws can we truly expect such a tainted legislature to pass? And this in a country where young people are locked up in jail for donkey years for merely forging educational certificates for welfare sustainability! What kind of value system are we trying to bequeath to the youths? Shouldn’t we get our priorities right?

The tragedy is that there are many supposedly independent thinkers like Mazi Ohuabunwa – as he himself conceded – who believe that Saraki is being vilified and witch-hunted because he refused to allow the anointed party candidate to emerge as Senate President. Assuming without conceding that this is true, are they then saying that a man who voluntarily chooses to subject himself to the rules and regulations of an association should be canonized for spearheading a mutiny? Won’t it have been better for such an aggrieved person to exit the party on the basis of principles and hugged the high moral ground?

And when they say that Buhari’s anti-corruption war is exclusively targeted at the opposition – the Senate PDP caucus even publicly stated that it would no longer support Buhari on account of the court case against Buhari and Ekweremadu – I keep wondering whether Saraki is a member of the APC or PDP. Why do PDP senators always seem to cry louder on issues affecting Saraki more than his APC colleagues? Do they know something the APC and the rest of us don’t know?

If the prosecution of Saraki and Ekweremadu for alleged forgery amounts to an attempt by the executive arm to ride roughshod over the Senate over its choice of leadership shouldn’t the duo be largely to blame? Is this the first time a Senate President, or even a House Speaker, has been accused of forgery? The others simply decided to resign honourably in order to spare their respective chambers loss of face. But not Saraki and Ekweremadu who chose to cling to their posts as if their lives depended on remaining there.

One last word of advice for Buhari: You must not forget why and how you won the presidential election. A vociferous minority who have access to media channels and can blow hot grammar against you should not make you change course in mid-stream because that will leave your reputation and integrity in tatters. They hardly vote in any election anyway! The silent majority – the downtrodden masses – that voted for you is still rooting for you. They are the voiceless you must give a voice and the hopeless you must render hope with your no-surrender-no-retreat, all-out war against corruption in high and low places until the hypothesis that no one is above the law becomes an established truism on these shores.