THE travail of the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Abubakar Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over a 13-count charge of false declaration of assets at the instance of the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), has been taken to higher pedestal.
National Daily can authoritatively report that the judgment of the Supreme Court, a fortnight ago, which ordered that the case should continue at the CCT, has reinforced the opponents of the Senate President to oust him from office.
It has been established that the genesis of Saraki’s trial at the CCT is the power tussle for the leadership of the National Assembly which the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) lost to majority of lawmakers who stood for the autonomy of the National Assembly.
Preceding the inauguration and emergence of the Presiding and Principal Officers of both the Senate and the House of Representatives, APC leaders had endorsed Senator Ahmed Lawan, from the North East, for Senate President, Senator George Akume, from the North Central for Deputy President of the Senate and Femi Gbajabiamila for Speaker of the House.
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The APC leaders led by the party’s national leader, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and national chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun were in the vanguard of sponsoring Lawan for the senate president after the Akume project failed.
Apparently, Saraki’s main opponent in the leadership crisis is well known. Since the CCT trial, Tinubu has reportedly strengthened his relationship with Governor Nasir El-Rufai, widely perceived to be playing critical role in the Saraki’s trial.
Saraki and his team defeated the Tinubu team in all the political battle for the leadership of the senate, including the appointment of principal officers and attempts to impeach the senate president has hit the rocks, making the political battle difficult for the antagonists to have their way.
The legal battle provides a seeming approach that could unseat the senate president on technical ground with minimum resistance.
Saraki’s approach of the Federal High Court, the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court questioning the jurisdiction of the CCT and the perceived improper constitution of the CCT was anticipated to provide him soft landing in the power tussle. But the courts decided otherwise.
Since the judgment of the Supreme Court, opponents of the senate president have reportedly upped their game to nail Saraki on the cross of guilt.
National Daily learnt that the camp of the opponents has been enlarged with the inclusion of the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN).
It was reliably gathered that Malami was instigated to urgently urge the CCT to resume sitting immediately after the final judgement of the apex court.
ALSO SEE: We’re all guilty of corruption—Saraki
Since becoming minister, Malami has never hidden his political sentiments in handling the prosecution of Saraki at the CCT which commenced before his appointment by President Muhammadu Buhari.
With the trial fixed for March 10, opponents of the senate president have allegedly conceived new strategies to mount pressure on the CCT Chairman, Justice Danladi Umar, to pronounce Saraki guilty.
The antagonists, it was also learnt are working assiduously to get more documents to indict the senate president in the 13-count charge.
Beyond getting more incriminating documents, there are said to be plans to stage walk outs as well as create a deadlock to force Saraki and his deputy, Senator Ike Ekweremadu to step down, with security agents already briefed to be on stand by to do the bidding of those behind the plot.
The battle becomes clearer when the CCT resumes sitting in March.
Meanwhile, Senator Dino Melaye, Committee Chairman on Federal Capital Territory (FCT), has attributed the said indictment of Saraki by the CCB and his subsequent prosecution at the CCT over alleged manipulation and false declaration of assets as the former Governor of Kwara State to the politics of power in the APC.
He told National Daily in Lagos that those calling for the resignation of Saraki are clowns.
Speaking with venom, Melaye narrated that from his preliminary investigations, the whole accusation against the senate president was “an affront on the integrity of the senate.”
According to him, “I want to announce that it is not all about the senate president, it is about the integrity and the institution of the senate. We all know that this is purely political and it emanated from the confidence of the senators to exercise their legislative powers, to determine who will be their leader, and because of that independent-minded posture of majority of the membership of the senate, that is what brought about the emergence of the Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President.”
The APC Senator pointed fingers at opponents whom he said have been concocting different strategies to ensure that the integrity of the senate and the senate president become questionable and would ultimately lead to his resignation or impeachment.
“The opponents have been calling for his resignation because that is what they want. They want to bamboozle him using the courts to harass him, thinking that maybe under pressure he would resign. The senate president will not resign. I want to assure Nigerians that he will spend his four years intact by the grace of God. I want to say that the battle to save him is total, we, in the senate, it is a battle of no retreat no surrender,” Melaye declared.
He further lambasted those clamouring for his resignation as clowns. “Those asking for the senate president to resign or step aside are clowns, they are clowns. After four years, I will remind them again,” he stated.