Saraki Splits APC, As PDP Senators Allege Witch-Hunt | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Saraki Splits APC, As PDP Senators Allege Witch-Hunt

Posted: Sep 21, 2015 at 12:05 am   /   by   /   comments (8)

By Tony Ezimakor, Abuja, Tunde Opeseitan (Lagos) and By Emmanuel Nzomiwu (Enugu)

As Senate President, Bukola Saraki, battles for his political life in the wake of the 13-point assets declaration allegation leveled against him by the Federal Government, some Senators have alleged political witch-hunt by enemies of the former two-term Kwara State governor.

Dr Bukola Saraki

Dr Bukola Saraki

Saraki’s assailants, a ranking PDP Senator claimed last night, have congregated around aggrieved members of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) who, according to our source, are yet to come to terms with his emergence as President of the 8th Senate, defying the party’s leadership.

Leading this group, the source who spoke on condition of anonymity claimed, “is a former Nigerian President, whom we gathered, is bent on carrying out a vendetta.”

The source however restated support for Saraki, assuring that members of the PDP would stand by the former governor in his present travail.

The allegation of watch-hunt against Saraki, is not however new, considering that it had been cited as possible reason Senator Saraki constituted a committee to probe award of contracts in the power sector dating back to 2003, in a bid to get even with his assailants.

The development is coming as it emerged at the weekend that the APC may have split ‘along interest lines’ over the unfolding war of attrition.

According to one loyalists of Saraki who refused to be named in print, the party is not together in this persecution of the Senate President.

“It is all too obvious that what is going is a witch-hunt and an attempt to get from the backdoor what they could not get from the floor of the Senate. It was clear to us that the administration has not accepted what the red chamber did when it voted in Saraki as President of the 8th Senate.
What we are seeing now is a backlash of the effort of the Senate to assert itself,” stated our source who is a member of “ Senators with Like Minds”.

Asked why the hitherto vocal  group has suddenly gone cold in the face of the ongoing onslaught against Saraki, the Senator assured that the group would come out at the right time.

“We are not speaking openly because the matter is already in court and as such, it is not advised to come out to condemn it. But from all indications, the whole thing is political”.

He said those opposed to the election of Saraki have not stopped accusing his group of working against the interest of the APC, thereby giving the opposition party room to ‘ harvest where it did not sow’.

He claimed that the unfolding drama may just be prelude to a similar attack aimed removing the Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu.

APC Faults Calls

Also on Sunday, Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Comrade Timi Frank, faulted the call on Saraki to resign following his travails at the  Code of Conduct Bureau over alleged faulty assets declaration, describing those calling for his resignation as “ignorant and myopic.”

Condemning the CCB for issuing a warrant of arrest on the Senate President, Frank, in a statement in Abuja, said those who purportedly gave Saraki such ultimatum on the basis of allegations yet to be proven, were suffering from “acute kwashiorkor in terms of knowledge.”

Northern Ethnic Nationalities Unity Congress (NENUC), had on Saturday given Senator Saraki a three-day ultimatum to resign or face mass protests from its members and other Nigerian youth organisations.

Frank, however, described the group as amorphous, because a quick check showed that there was no youth group  by such name.

“Therefore they cannot purportedly speak on behalf of northern youths as “you cannot put something on nothing,” he said, stressing that the organisation is not known to law and the people of the region it claims to represent.

Besides, Frank continued, the supposed convener, Bako Benjamin, remained a shadowy figure who was apparently paid to take a shot at a great man, insisting that “at best, NENUC is an impostor organisation hurriedly packaged to do a dirty job the behest of Saraki’s traducers, with the sole aim of assailing his towering image.

“Their ignorance of the law, that a man is presumed innocent until proven guilty by a court of competent jurisdiction, is also most profound.

“Is the judiciary no longer the last hope of the people? Saraki had faulted the charges against him as being politically motivated. He had also gone to the Federal High Court to seek redress.

“But those who are eager to get him out will do everything to stop the wheel of justice in this case, hence the warrant of arrest issued by the Code of Conduct Tribunal and the spurious calls for his resignation.

Frank further accused the ‘impostor group’ of attempting to infringe on Saraki’s inalienable rights to fair hearing by purportedly giving him ultimatum to resign before the cases are heard and disposed off.

  Lawyers Disagree

Meanwhile, lawyers, activists and a university teacher, among others, offered divergent views on the legality of the case on Sunday, with the Dean, Faculty of Law, Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT), Professor Frank Asogwa, faulted the CCT for going ahead with last Friday’s proceedings despite an order of the Federal High Court (FHC) summoning the tribunal.

But an activist and legal practitioner, Olu Omotayo, and another senior lawyer who does not want to be named, disagreed.

While Professor Asogwa said the High Court, where Saraki obtained an order stopping his trial, is superior to the tribunal, Omotayo said the CCT is not subject to supervisory jurisdiction or otherwise of any court in Nigeria.

In a telephone interview, Asogwa told Daily Independent that in law, a high court is a superior court to any tribunal, arguing that if Saraki had obtained an order from a FHC restraining the CCT from further hearing, the order of the tribunal is a nullity.

“The tribunal has to wait until the high court, which is superior court vacates the order before it can proceed with that matter,” Asogwa said.

Asogwa maintained that the position of high court remained superior to any tribunal, noting that the restraining order does not mean that the court had taken side but a way of telling the tribunal to allow it to hear the suspect’s matter.

But, making reference to the decision of the Supreme Court in the case of Ahmed vs. Ahmed (2013), Omotayo who is the President of Civil Rights Realisation and Advancement Network (CRRAN), a civil rights group, argued that Section 12 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers (Fifth schedule part 1) 1999 Constitution expressly ousted jurisdiction of regular courts in respect to violation of the provisions of the Code.

“The Supreme Court in considering Section 12 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers which provides that any allegation that a public officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau, held as follows:

“Any allegation that a public officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau’’.

The foregoing provisions are clearly unambiguous and so construed literarily mean that any breach of any provisions of the said 5th Schedule or matters of non-compliance with any provisions of the code shall (meaning that it is mandatory. i.e  must) be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau that has established its tribunal with the exclusive jurisdiction to deal with any violations of any provisions under the code, if I may emphase, any violation shall be made to code of conduct Bureau,” Omotayo said.

Also speaking, another lawyer, who preferred anonymity, said the CCT is a special court recognised by the Constitution, and that appeals arising from the tribunal are directed to the Court of Appeal. 

He said: “The FHC does not have any power to issue directive on matters within the jurisdiction of the CCT. By taking the matter to the FHC is procedurally wrong. The options available to Saraki if he has any complain are two: If I were his lawyer because the point he is raising on the fact that there is no substantive Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) is valid. The AGF or somebody authorised by the AGF can only file the charge and prosecute him. That point is also valid but Saraki can only raise it before the CCT or raise it before the Court of Appeal.

“Second, the resort to the FHC to issue order against the CCT is invalid. The action of the FHC by summoning the CCT is ultra vires. The FHC lacks the power to so order. The CCT cannot be commanded by FHC. I’m talking law not sentiment. For Saraki to run away from the Tribunal and is claiming that he is the Senate President, well, he is playing with fire and it is better for him to go and face the matter,” the lawyer stressed.  


 Also on Sunday, a CCB member reportedly revealed that the entire trial of Saraki was needless and in contradiction with the process stipulated in the CCB and Tribunal Act.

The member, who spoke on anonymity, said if the bureau had followed the provision of Section 3(d) of its own law, it would not rush to trial but invite Saraki to come and defend whatever inconsistency or infraction noted in his asset declarations.

Also, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi (Niger North) and his counterpart from Nasarawa South, Senator Hussain Salihu, have insisted that the charges against Saraki remained allegations and therefore will not be allowed to cause any distraction to the legislative agenda of the Senate.

The lawmakers, while reacting, said Saraki had provided the needed leadership for the upper chamber of the National Assembly to define an efficient agenda that would make the legislature best represent the interest of the people.

In his own comment, Aliyu 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. I think there is something fishy about it. It is very obvious and of course we know what has happened since the inauguration of the 8th Senate.

“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,” he stated.

On his part, Senator Salihu said those trying to dig into Saraki’s past because he is now Senate President will soon be tired because the Senate will not abandon him as their duly elected leader.

“The charges against Saraki as far as I am concerned are just distractions, in the sense that we are talking about issues of 13 years ago and people are bringing it now.

 “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,” he stated.

Comments (8)

  • Oct 6, 2015 at 6:41 pm Pascal Dim

    My learned cocoanut head Prof, read this ……Section 12 of the Code of Conduct for Public Officers (Fifth schedule part 1) 1999 Constitution “Any allegation that a public officer has committed a breach of or has not complied with the provisions of this code shall be made to the Code of Conduct Bureau’ ’Did that section made mention at all of Federal High court or court of Appeal. The truth of the matter is that Saraki was not properly advised by his lawyers oand advisers. By jumping from pillar to post rather created doubts in the minds of Nigeria that Saraki was guilty by his actions. The FHC judge later realized his mistakes( after taken his own illicit bribe, ekunje,) decided to withdraw from the case for fear of Buhari).So my learned prof, you cannot be a sympathizer whom cries more than a bereaved

  • Sep 24, 2015 at 6:49 pm Ayodeji Olatoregun

    We shall see

  • Sep 21, 2015 at 8:01 am Francis Uwaechi

    Whatever became of the immunity clause?

  • Sep 21, 2015 at 2:06 am Kabiyeze

    The comment by the member of Code of Conduct Bureau seems to be the dies, thing to do and what they have been doing. Saraki’s case should not be different, and the Tribunal Chairman should not show desperation to arrest and humiliate the number 3 citizen of this great country. He should have been invited to explain the variation, if any, and where he failed or unable to do so, charge him to CCT, as they seem to have been doing. This is a political persecution because of the election issues of the Senate Presidency. This action should wait till Buhari appoints his Ministers and Attorney General, who has power to initiate this trial. If the CCB and the Chairman of CCT, do not know who has power to initiate this trial, it is curious that they know that Federal High Court does not have juridiction over CCT. If they want to play moron they should play it all round. I think they are exposkng their their pay master yo ridicule in this seemingly hatchet job they have fumbled

    • Sep 24, 2015 at 8:25 am Eniriches

      Junior, this discussion is for the knowledgable. Take your bicycle, and join your friends outside. Lol

  • Sep 21, 2015 at 1:05 am mike

    Obasanjo (in igbo: Ogbasanjo; him who spreads evil) is at work in APC..By the time APC will realise this, it will be too late

    • Sep 21, 2015 at 7:08 am Sule

      Good talk bro, tell them.

    • Sep 21, 2015 at 12:31 pm Henry Akins

      U are wrong. Obasanjo’s name is Obasanjo and not Ogbasanjo and he is a Yoruba man with a Yoruba name and not an Igbo name. In Yoruba, the name means, the King redeems the time. His name has nothing to do with evil. That aside, obasanjo has nothing to do with the matter. It is APC chieftains that are behind the mess, Tinubu, Layi Mohamed and their president Buhari. God will fight for Saraki

Comments are closed.