Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo Why Saraki should not resign

Saraki stands charged with perjury, which is a serious offence, but not so serious that the mere alleging of it should force a resignation.

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Senate President, Bukola Saraki has been accused of asset declaration fraud by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB).

According to the CCB, Saraki lied during his asset declaration process in 2003 while in office as the Governor of Kwara State.

The allegations have led some Nigerians to call for the Senate President’s resignation. One of such persons is eminent lawyer and Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Femi Falana.

“Having undertaken to prove his innocence at the Code of Conduct Tribunal Senator Saraki should resign as Senate president so as to preserve the integrity of the National Assembly,” Falana said during an interview with Punch on February 6, 2016.

“The most honourable thing for Saraki is to resign and face his prosecution. If he wins, the seat is always there and he can be re-elected again if those that supported him truly believe he is the best person for the position. And if not, he will remain a senator like he was in the 7th Assembly. Is it a must that he become Senate President?” Zamfara State Senator, Kabiru Marafa said supporting Falana’s position.

In his defence, Saraki has said that the trial is a form of political persecution launched by persons who are unhappy with his emergence as Senate President.

“Meanwhile, I wish to reiterate my remarks before the Tribunal, that I have no iota of doubt that I am on trial today because I am the president of the Nigerian Senate, against the wishes of some powerful individuals outside this Chamber,” he said on September 29, 2015.

“The charges have nothing to do with corruption or money being stolen anywhere and that is why at the end of the day, I will have my day in court. Because it is not about corruption,” he said on February 26, 2016.

“I don’t understand how the same organisation that cleared my asset declaration to be proper in 2004, 2009 and 2011 can suddenly wake up and say that my record is faulted,” he added.

Saraki has a point, why did the CCB wait 13 years to question the asset declaration process?

Why is he conveniently being tried after falling out with the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) due to his snatching of the Senate Presidency on June 9, 2015, against the party’s wishes?

Saraki’s ordeal is clearly a case of political persecution, but he has not helped matters either.

The Senate President’s decision to jump from court to court in order to stop his case from going to trial has aroused suspicions and made him seem guilty. However, the law does not convict people who seem guilty, it convicts people who have been found guilty.

Saraki stands charged with perjury, which is a serious offence, but not so serious that the mere alleging of it should force a resignation.

Former US President, Bill Clinton was also charged with perjury in 1998 after he denied having sexual relations with White House intern, Monica Lewinsky.

Clinton was further charged with obstruction of justice and subsequently impeached by the House of Representatives on December 19, 1998, yet he didn’t resign.

“I will never step aside,” Clinton said at the time. “We must stop the politics of personal destruction . . . the poisonous venom of excessive partisanship, obsessive animosity, and uncontrolled anger,” he urged. “That is not what America deserves. That is not what America is about.”

Resigning would be an honourable thing for Saraki to do, but that should depend entirely on him. Nigerians should not allow themselves to be pulled into the political web that has been formed around Saraki because that is not what Nigeria deserves.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki is innocent of the charges against him until proven guilty and that, is why he should not resign…yet.

Should Saraki resign?»

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