Oscar Chukwugekwu, Abuja
Ahead of Friday’s trial of the Senate President, Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki, over alleged falsification of assets declaration by the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) in Abuja, senators on Thursday came out to show their support of the former Governor of Kwara State.
This is obviously not the best time for the embattled Senate President, who has been slammed a 13-count charge by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).
Following the allegations by the Bureau, the Tribunal has summoned Saraki to appear before it for trial on the charges.
But Saraki seems to have received some support from his colleagues, who, however, called on the Federal Government to focus on governance, instead of politically-motivated trials of perceived enemies.
In separate reactions to Saraki’s trial, senators across party lines condemned the move by the Bureau, and even described it as distractive and uncalled for.
In his reaction, Senator Sabi Aliyu Abdullahi (APC Niger North) maintained that all the allegations raised against Saraki by the Bureau would not in anyway derail the 8th Senate from its focus of bringing about change in the positive sense to Nigerians across the various sectors.
“I want to believe an allegation remains an allegation; and our laws are very clear. It is an allegation until it is proven; I want to believe it remains an allegation. However, let’s take a closer look at what the allegations are, dating back to 2003 to date, I think, as far as I am concerned there is something fishing about it. It is very obvious, of course we know what has happened since the inauguration of the 8th Senate.
“And what I want state here clearly is that we have a duty based on our mandate by the electorate to come here, a number of processes were done, and I want to believe that, unless if somebody is trying to tell that all those processes were carried out by various security agencies were not correct, I want to believe, if they were correct, then somebody needs to ask the question: how come twelve years down the line somebody is feeling that there is something he has forgotten in those years and he wants to find out an answer for them now?
“But I think that what the 8th Senate is looking at clearly are the issue of youth unemployment; the insurgency for which we know that based on the support of the National Assembly, we are all living witnesses to the thorough and expeditious work done to confirm the Service Chiefs, and our resolve through our legislative agenda to support our party in this particular dispensation. I want to believe that we will not be distracted from that, and whatever it is that anybody is doing, our laws are very clear. We have a responsibility, and on the basis of that we will try to do what Nigerians expect of us.
“We are also aware that the Ad hoc Committee on Power has been working. I’m sure all of us here, after all these days work, I don’t know how many of you will go back home and meet light in your houses. So, these are very serious issues that Nigerians expect that we pay our attention to; and I want to assure you that the 8th Senate will not be distracted in any way.
“We will stand by our leaders because leadership is from God and as far as I am concerned, I didn’t come here because I am the best; it is just the will of God that we will be here. And based on the fact that we are here, we shall try as much as possible to deliver very good legislations that will move this country forward. Nigeria is great, and we want to make it greater. And I assure you, we will definitely not be distracted. The entire Senate is behind our leadership,” he said.
Also condemning the trial of the Senate President was Senator Hussain Salihu (APC Nasarawa South), who said that those trying Saraki for one thing or the other that had happened in the past because he is now the Senate President would get tired of the trials.
Salihu claimed that senators and by extension, the Senate, will not abandon Saraki as their duly elected leader.
“The charges against Saraki as far as I am concerned are just distractive, in the sense that we are talking about issue of 13 years ago, and people are bringing it now. I think Nigerians should disregard such issues because they are distracting the National Assembly from doing its own constitutional work. And I don’t think that it is going to help us.
“What we are talking about now is how we are going to get power supply; how the ordinary man can send his children to school and the sick to get hospitals that will treat them. So, the allegations are non-issues. I think the people who are doing this are not helping the country; they are not helping the President and they are not helping anybody because as far as the National Assembly is concerned, we are going to move on from all these distractions.
“As you can see, for those of us that are around we are doing our work and the place is energised to take off for effective legislative activities when we resume. So, I don’t see how these things are going to affect us. They will do it and get tired. What happened thirteen years down the line, why have they not brought it until now? So, we feel that those who are doing this are not helping the nation at all,” he said.
Also speaking, Senator Mao Ohuabunwa (PDP Abia North), who observed that Saraki has led the Senate creditably well in the last 100 days, added that the majority of the senators would continue to give their embattled leader their total support, irrespective of any distractions from any quarters.
Meanwhile, Saraki has vowed that the Senate under his leadership would never be shaken by any form of distractive allegations.
Saraki stated this when he played host to a delegation of Ilorin Emirate Descendant Progressive Union (IEDPU), who paid him a solidarity visit.
“The 8th Senate, at inception on the 9th of June this year, had clearly stated that it was out to bring about positive change to Nigerians through responsive legislations and oversights, which cannot in anyway be distracted from,” he said.
Earlier at the visit, the IEDPU Chairman, Alhaji Abdulhameed Hadi, who pledged the total support of Ilorin people for Saraki, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to extend his hand of fellowship in governance to Saraki.
He urged Buhari to relate with the current Senate President the way he did with the late General Tunde Idiagbon when Buhari and the latter both ruled Nigeria in the early 1980s as military men.