SIR: The move and the boldness of 83 senators in passing a vote of confidence on the Senate President Bukola Saraki at the red chamber’s sitting of Tuesday 29 is scandalous to the integrity of the chamber, an affront to the sensibilities of Nigerians, the rule of law and also principles of morality. This is a man standing trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged false assets declaration. One is bound to be ashamed that senators who should be distinguished in their actions could be seen to glorify criminality.
It is sad that many of our distinguished senators have not changed from their old ways of handling sensitive national issues such as when their presiding officer, the Senate President is involved in a trial touching on acts of dishonesty, fraudulent disclosure or non-disclosure of his assets.
If there be honour and integrity in the Senate, its president on being publicly put on trial ought to have stepped aside to await the end of his criminal trial and not to face the other way as if nothing happened. It is mischievous insisting that his travails are the handwork of the people he referred to as “powerful individuals, outside the legislature”. This is an infantile argument to distract attention and also to win the favour of his colleagues.
The call for Saraki to throw in the towel is premised on the fact that the mandate he holds is that of his constituency but the public office he holds as Senate President is that of an institution belonging to all Nigerians. The Senate as per Dino Melaye may not be distracted by the actions of some powerful individuals outside the National Assembly, but Melaye should be be reminded that by the conventions of civilized democracies from where we learnt our democracy, Saraki would have long been asked to step down and not to taint the sensitive function of making laws.
Again, to debunk Saraki’s argument that it is taking the government 13 years before bringing him to court, let it be known to him that the law does not prescribe timelines within which he could be tried.
Finally, one wonders the probative value that the public would ascribe to laws made by a Senate whose head is standing trial on grave criminal allegation. The Senate as a responsible arm of government should act now to save the institution and the Nigerian state from public disparagement. Apart from Saraki, there are other well qualified senators from other sections of the country to pilot the affairs of the Senate. After all, Senator Evan Ewerem who started the senate presidency in 1999 did not in 2003 conclude it; neither did Senator Chuba Okadigbo who took over from him within the same senate session.
Chief Utum Eteng,
Culled from TheNationonline
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