President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki has said his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is political.
Saraki, who said this in an interview with Daily Trust stated that he knows those trying to cause a rift between himself and President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said, “The people who are saying that this Senate President is against President Buhari, I say to them, when President Buhari was away for two months and rumours were flying everywhere as to the real situation, President Buhari received many guests [in London] but who was the person who came out and said, ‘President Buhari is fine and is coming back home’? Tell me, who was it? Senate President.
“Loyalty is not what people do in front of you. It is what they do behind your back. This propaganda is just to cause head-on collision and we know why they are doing it. When the time comes, we will tell you why they are doing it [laughter]. “When the time comes, I will tell you. We know them and we are watching them.”
On his trial at the CCT, Saraki said, “When that case started, if you go by the drums at that time, that case now as far as I am concerned is almost gone. The last witness that came before CCB, one by one all the questions they asked him, was this man ever invited before CCB, he said no. Is there anything in this form that he did not declare, he said no.
“As I said from Day One, that case should never have gone to CCT. EFCC has no business taking a case to CCT. CCB is saying all these things; we don’t know anything about them. This is the first time that CCB will take anyone to court without first asking him to come and write a statement. This is the first time that EFCC will prosecute a case at CCT. So many things in that trial are abnormal. People who have been following that case already know that it has collapsed. So I have no fear about it and we will not put it on the table. Certainly we were not pleased by it, to see the head of one arm of government sent to a trial that is more political than anything else. That was what those senators were talking about. But for the last two years did it stop us from working? We are carrying on, doing our best in working for people’s welfare. So while senators are not happy, I don’t think we should misinterpret what they said. This trial cannot be the reason for any rift between the two arms of government.”
He added, “If you look at the case, it is not a normal case. This was an issue that happened 13 years ago even though they say that criminal issues have no limitation of time. Two, was the man ever invited to make a statement? If you put all these issues together, it raises suspicion that it is all political. But we have gone through the process, we are coming to the end of it and I am confident that insha Allah I shall be vindicated. There was another case, of forging Senate rules and it collapsed, so I believe that in this one too the truth will come out.”
On the suspension of the confirmation of INEC Resident Electoral Commissioners (RECs), the Senate President, said, “We only deferred it for two weeks. You have to understand a parliament. Somebody stood up and asked a question. He said some of these REC nominees are for reappointment. So what happens if we reject some of them? Will they be told to continue as acting RECs? To be honest, I had no answer to that question. In parliament, sometimes when you cannot answer a question, what you do is to say ok we note it, let us step it down and come back later to look at the issue [Laughter], hoping that somewhere along the way you will find an answer.
“You can see the concern, I mean. We have the constitutional power to confirm Mr X but even though we did not confirm him, he is still holding the position. Now I have another confirmation for Mr. Y and assuming I don’t confirm him, will he still hold the position? So there is an issue there.
“When Senate resumes we will sit down and review the situation. Sometimes you take a position just to express how you feel, and senators may have already achieved that and may decide to move on,” he said.
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