Tension Returns To The Senate As All Eyes Focus On The Court Of Appeal Which Is Expected To Rule On Saraki’s Trial Before The Code Of Conduct Tribunal Today
Tension returned to the senate at the weekend as the Appeal court in Abuja rules today on a petition brought before it by the senate president Senator Bukola Saraki challenging the power of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to go ahead with his trial.
The Code of Conduct Bureau had on September 11 slammed a 13-count charge bordering on false asset declaration on Saraki.
The said tension may have also forced the senate president to again suspend the constitution of the 54 standing committees of the senate.
Source close to the senate president said that announcing the committees now may trigger a major crisis which may add to Saraki’s headache and eventually consume him. Our source alleged that the senate president may have shelved his earlier plan to announce the distribution of committee chairmanship position in the senate. There are fears that if the Appeal fails today to restrain the CCT from going ahead with Saraki’s trial, the senate president may be in for trouble on Wednesday when he is expected to face the tribunal to answer questions on the 13 charges leveled against him by the Bureau.
Our Source said that the senate president was not yet out of trouble despite his perceived romance with President Muhammadu Buhari.
The UNION understands that the same forces that wanted Saraki out before the screening of the ministerial nominees may have returned to trenches against him.
The pro-Saraki senators were said to have met in Abuja at the weekend to re-strategize ahead of the October 21 hearing. A member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Peter Nwaoboshi, has however, and again, advised the All Progressive Congress (APC) to trade with caution. The senate president had gone to the Appeal court, challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal to hear the case against him. This was after a federal court in Abuja had failed to grant his (Saraki’s) request to halt his trial by the CC T.
According to our source, pressure is on the tribunal chairman, to order detention of the senate president when he appears in court on Wednesday as anti-Saraki forces are said to be upbeat that the Appeal Court would uphold the ruling of the lower court, and also refuse to stop his trial. Saraki had through his counsel argued that the CCT was not a superior court to the Federal High Court and therefore urged the court to set aside all proceedings, including the charge against him on the grounds that the tribunal was not properly constituted.
Counsel to the respondent, Rotimi Jacobs, in his own brief, filed October 12, argued that Saraki’s was challenge of the constitution of the tribunal, was not enough reason to stop the trial.
Mr. Jacobs insisted that the law was being misinterpreted and urged Justices M.A.A Adumien, J.E Ekanem and M. Mustapha to dismiss the appeal because “arguing it lacked merit”.
He prayed the court that the right interpretation of the law be upheld.
He is accused of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the Code of Conduct Bureau, while he was governor of Kwara State.