The President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki, yesterday, came hard on the Federal Government of Nigeria, headed by President Muhammadu Buhari, accusing the government of wasting the last three years of its occupation of power to fight perceived political enemies in the country. Saraki also accused President Buhari of targeting only his political opponents in his fight against corruption, lamenting that the wasted years which would have been used to build unity among the various strata of the country were used to stoke the fire of division and rancour in the land.
The President of the Senate made these declarations in a statement he personally signed in Abuja, in which he reacted to the Supreme Court judgement, which upheld the earlier judgement of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), that he had no case to answer in the 18-point charge preferred against him for false assets declaration he allegedly committed in 2003, and thereby acquitted him.
He further lamented that instead of working together in the interest of the nation and to seek to do better for the people, those in government were busy fighting one another and using legal instruments to mount baseless accusations against one another, to the detriment of the people. Saraki expressed regrets that, as a result of the war of attrition, the various arms of government had wasted resources needlessly in the last three years of the government of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
He maintained that his trial at the CCT was politically-motivated, insisting that the case was trumped up because of his emergence as the President of the Senate, against the wishes of certain political forces in the country, noting that if not for vested political interest, nobody would have brought up the issue of assets declaration that happened 15 years ago. Saraki described his CCT trial as a flagrant vilification of his person, and a clear demonstration that some people were after their personal interests rather than the national interest.
Recalling that his trial was a tortuous journey of 1018 days, Saraki said that though he believed in the need to fight corruption, but he would never be party to the selective application of the law or the rhetoric of an insincere anti-corruption fight. The statement which was personally signed by Saraki reads: “At the end of a tortuous journey of 1018 Days, counting from September 22, 2015, when the case began at the Tribunal, I am happy that I have been vindicated.
The Supreme Court has affirmed that there is no evidence of false declaration of assets. The court also observed that certain agents took over the responsibility of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in this trial, and one can infer that this was done towards a pre-determined end.
“This outcome has gladdened my heart and further strengthened my belief in this country and as well as my faith in the Almighty Allah, who is the righter of all wrongs. God has vindicated me today before the judgement of man, and I am most thankful and humbled at His grace and infinite mercies. “Through it all, I refused to be shaken, knowing, as Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. said, that the arch of the moral universe may be long, but it bends towards justice. I knew the day would come when justice would prevail and I would be exonerated.
have always believed in the infallibility of our Judiciary, secure in the knowledge that our courts – the last refuge of the oppressed – would never condemn the innocent. This outcome is also a vindication of my belief in the rule of law.
“As I said in my first appearance at the CCT, this is a politically motivated case. The case was trumped up in the first instance because of my emergence as the President of the Senate, against the wishes of certain forces. Ordinarily, I doubt anyone would be interested in the asset declaration form I filled over 15 years ago.
“What we have seen is the opposite. Instead of working together in the interest of the nation and to seek to do better for our people, we are fighting one another and using legal instruments to mount baseless accusations against one another. “Instead of exhibiting the need for unity and working day and night for that purpose, we are stoking the fire of division and rancour. I maintain that, above all else, my CCT trial has been a flagrant vilification of my person, and shows that some people are after their personal interests rather than the national interest.”