Moves by senators opposed to having Bukola Saraki sit in office as president of the senate while undergoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) for alleged non-declaration of asset as required by law, and alleged money laundering, was yesterday rebuffed by those loyal to the integrity-tainted lawmaker who declared that he will not resign irrespective the pressure.
The senators, who said they met on Sunday at an un-disclosed location in Abuja, said in a press statement made available to The UNION yesterday, that Saraki remains innocent, irrespective of his alleged crime, until proven otherwise by a court of competent jurisdiction.
According to the senators, whose press statement was signed by Senator Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi, who is also Chairman Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Saraki cannot resign on account of a mere allegation which trial is yet to even commence.
The senators insisted that the case against Saraki was a politically motivated to embarrass him off the office of senate president.
“It is simply a case of political vendetta”, they said urging members of the public “to ignore the rantings of a few Senators who having failed to get the wish of their sponsors done on the floor of the Senate are now launching media campaign against the leadership of the Senate”.
Dismissing the resignation call, the Senators said the call on Saraki to step down was a “premature, mischievous and unwarranted” call by their colleagues.
The statement reads: “Following a meeting held in Abuja yesterday (Sunday) by some Senators and the wide consultations with our colleagues in which we reviewed last Friday’s decision of the Supreme Court in the appeal on the preliminary matters filed by the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, on the charges filed against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), we hereby resolve as follows:
“That from the beginning of the trial last September, we have declared that this case is not about any fight against corruption. It is simply a case of political vendetta.
“Our position remains the same. We still believe that the case is politically motivated.
“We also noted that the decision of the Supreme Court given last Friday was on preliminary matters arising from the commencement of the trial. The trial proper is yet to begin. And since the fundamental principle in our legal system is that a defendant is deemed innocent until proven guilty, we have decided to patiently observe the proceedings until the case runs its full circle in the nation’s final judicial forum.
“It is on this ground that we want to state categorically that there is no basis for the call on the Senate President to resign until after the matter is decided in that final judicial forum. Such a call at this time is premature, mischievous and unwarranted.
“We therefore reiterate our support for Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate. We stand by him as he goes through the trial at the CCT where we believe he will be able to prove his innocence.
“We also call on members of the public to ignore the rantings of a few Senators who having failed to get the wish of their sponsors done on the floor of the Senate are now launching media campaign against the leadership of the Senate.
“We want members of the public to know that the Senate under Dr. Saraki has achieved stability in the legislative institution and we do not need any negative distraction at this point.
“The focus of the Senate is on the objective consideration and timely passage of the 2016 budget and we will want all Nigerians to support us as we concentrate on this important assignment.
“We also want to say that we will not make any further statement on this case until the matter has been decided in the final judicial forum”.