The Supreme Court’s verdict which upheld the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), has sparkled a showdown between Saraki loyalists and the Senate Unity Forum ahead of the resumption of plenary next Tuesday, February 16, 2016.
Trouble started when some senators who are loyal to Saraki, held a meeting on Sunday evening and decided to issue a statement declaring their full support for the embattled Senate President.
READ ALSO: Supreme Court Upholds Saraki’s Trial At CCT
However, the ‘unalloyed support’ statement did not go down well with some senators in the Senate Unity Forum as they vented their wrath following the statement declaring the support of the entire Senate for Saraki.
The statement, which was signed by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Senator Sabi Abdullahi, stated that it was the position of the Senate to support Saraki and judged him innocent of charges levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau.
The statement read: “Following a meeting held in Abuja on 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. 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.”