Pushed To The Limit, Saraki Fights Back | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Pushed To The Limit, Saraki Fights Back

Posted: Jun 29, 2016 at 9:00 pm   /   by   /   comments (2)

Temidayo Akinsuyi

Lagos   – A man pushed to the wall will definitely turn and fight back.  That was the scenario that played out on Monday when embattled Senate President, Bukola  Saraki,  who is facing several cases in courts   issued a damning statement accusing some cabal  of working to remove from office by all means.  He also added that his trial was an onslaught on the legislature, adding that it posed a great danger to the democracy Nigerians fought hard to win and preserve.

Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, were taken to the court for alleged forgery of the Senate Standing Rules 2015 that was used to inaugurate the Eighth Senate on June 9 2015.  Supported by the senators from the opposition Peoples  Democratic  Party (PDP), Saraki, in a daring move ,  emerged the President of the Senate against the position of the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that supported Senator Ahmed Lawan’s candidature.

Before the latest trial on alleged forgery, the two-time governor and ex-chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF)  is also undergoing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal over alleged false declaration of assets while he was governor of Kwara State.

Saraki, in the statement said he was ready to lose his freedom to entrench democracy and stabilise governance in the country. According to him,  “a nefarious group within the government of President Buhari has seized the apparatus of Executive powers to pursue their selfish agenda”.

“Today we the leaders of the Nigerian Senate reiterate our innocence against the charges filed by the Attorney General of the Federal Government of Nigeria at the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court on the allegations of forgery of the Senate Standing Rules document.

“In our view, the charges filed by the Attorney General represent a violation of the principle of the Separation of Powers between the Executive Branch and the Legislative Branch as enshrined in our Constitution. Furthermore, it is farcical to allege that a criminal act occurred during Senate procedural actions and the mere suggestion demonstrates a desperate overreach by the office of the Attorney General. These trumped up charges is only another phase in the relentless persecution of the leadership of the Senate

“This misguided action by the Attorney General begs the question, how does this promote the public interest and benefit the nation? At a time when the whole of government should be working together to meet Nigeria’s many challenges, we are once again distracted by the Executive Branch’s inability to move beyond a leadership election among Senate peers. It was not an election of Senate peers and Executive Branch participants.

“Over the past year the Senate has worked to foster good relations with the Executive Branch. It is in all of our collective interests to put aside divisions and get on with the nation’s business. We risk alienating and losing the support of the very people who have entrusted their national leaders to seek new and creative ways to promote a secure and prosperous Nigeria. As leaders and patriots, it is time to rise above partisanship and to move forward together.”

“This latest onslaught on the Legislature represents a clear and present danger to the democracy Nigerians fought hard to win and preserve. The suit filed on behalf of the Federal government suggests that perhaps some forces in the Federal Republic have not fully embraced the fact that the Senate’s rules and procedures govern how the legislative body adjudicates and resolves its own disputes,” he said.

The Senate President maintained that he would continue to rise above all persecutions and distractions.

“Let it be abundantly clear, both as a citizen and as a foremost Legislator, I will continue to rise above all the persecution and distraction that have been visited on me. In the words of Martin Luther King Junior, “the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at a time of challenge and controversy. I will remain true and committed to the responsibilities that my citizenship and my office impose on me. Without doubt, the highest of those responsibilities is the steadfast refusal to surrender to the subversion of our democracy and the desecration of the Senate.

“This is a cross I am prepared to carry. If yielding to the nefarious agenda of a few individuals who are bent in undermining our democracy and destabilising the Federal government to satisfy their selfish interests is the alternative to losing my personal freedom, let the doors of jails be thrown open and I shall be a happy guest,” Saraki added.

The presidency has however distanced itself from the trial saying it did not originate the legal battles Saraki and his colleagues are enmeshed in.  In a strongly-worded statement by  Mr. Femi  Adesina, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, the presidency also said the allegation by Saraki that a cabal had hijacked the government is totally unfounded.

“This claim by Senator Saraki would have been more worth the while, if it had been backed with more information. If he had proceeded to identify those who constitute the “government within the government,” it would have taken the issue beyond the realm of fiction and mere conjecture.
“But as it stands, the allegation is not even worth the paper on which it was written, as anybody can wake from a troubled sleep, and say anything.
“The Attorney-General of the Federation is the Chief Law Officer of the state. It is within his constitutional powers to determine who has infringed upon the law, and who has not.
“Pretending to carry an imaginary cross is mere obfuscation, if, indeed, a criminal act has been committed. But we leave the courts to judge.
“To claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is anybody’s stooge is not only ridiculous, but also preposterous. It is not in the character of our President” Adesina said.

In his reaction, Constitutional lawyer, Fred Agbaje said embattled  Saraki should refrain from blaming the presidency and Attorney- General of the Federation,  Abubakar  Malami for his woes.

Speaking in a chat with Independent, Agbaje said the claim by  Saraki that he is being witch hunted is completely false.

“Saraki is free to say whatever he likes against the presidency.  Anybody in Saraki’s shoes will make the same allegations; moreso, when the man is being battered front, back right and centre.  But again, who is to blame for the battering?  It is Saraki only.  When you carry a worm-infested stick, you must be ready to welcome the presence of animals that will come and prey on those worms”.

“But let me say this from the point of law:  Saraki said he is being witch-hunted. I don’t think so.  An accused must always have someone to blame for his misfortune and that is what Saraki is doing.  He has forgotten when he was playing with maggot-infested stick; he clearly didn’t remember the consequences. He may be having a running battle with his party, APC but that is not to say that he is being hunted by the Attorney-General of the Federation” .

“The AGF is merely carrying out his constitutional duty. As the AGF, he can prosecute anybody. He can take over any prosecution and he can even enter a nolle prosequi against Saraki and those involved in the case at the end of the day.  In other words, that does not make the AGF abuse the doctrine of separation of powers.  All that should guide him is the public interest. That is what the constitution says”

Comments (2)

  • Jun 30, 2016 at 5:56 pm LIONSMAN

    C-h-e-i….another man language don spoil my land…(Oyinbo/English) may God help us!!!

  • Jun 30, 2016 at 1:42 am aboutonline1

    they should stop disturbing us with their political noise but work hard to make nigeria better.  http://www.healthremedy247.blogspot.com

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