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Frankly Speaking With Jola Sotubo Bukola Saraki; the lawmaker who doesn’t respect the law

Despite the ruling of the Supreme Court, which has the final say, Saraki still attempted to stop his trial by filing a suit before Federal High Court judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati.

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Senate President, Bukola Saraki’s corruption trial has been a real eye-opener.

One would think that the number one man in Nigeria’s legislature would be a respecter of the law, unfortunately this is not the case.

Saraki’s disdain for the law was first made evident by his claim that his trial before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) is politically motivated and is being sponsored by powerful people.

“Distinguished Senators, I believe you have all followed with keen interest, my trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal,” Saraki said on Tuesday, September 29, 2015 while addressing his colleagues.

“I shall avoid discussing the details of that case here for obvious reasons. But let me say it again, that I am ready and will submit myself to the entire judicial process as provided by law.

“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 Chambers,” he added.

Despite his comments however, Saraki has not submitted himself to the entire judicial process, instead, he has spent the past seven months trying to escape being tried.

The Senate President had earlier gone to the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court in a bid to avoid prosecution but both had insisted that the corruption trial must go on.

In defiance of the ruling of the Supreme Court, which has the final say, Saraki once again attempted to stop his trial by filing a suit before Federal High Court judge, Justice Abdul Kafarati.

Kafarati initially withdrew from the case after he was accused of corruption but then ordered that Saraki must face his trial at the CCT after being convinced to rule on the matter by the Chief Judge of the court.

“It appears to me all that the applicant is trying to do is to stop his criminal trial at CCT. The CCT is a competent court to try the criminal matters,” the judge said on Friday, April 15, 2016.

“This court cannot interfere with the case at the tribunal which has power to try cases. It is not appropriate for the applicant to approach this court. This case is hereby dismissed,” he added.

After the commencement of his trial, Saraki again approached the Court of Appeal in Abuja to obtain a stay of proceedings, a move which prosecution counsel, Rotimi Jacobs described as illegal.

“Nothing can be built on an illegal process. You can’t build something on nothing. They will both crumble. This has become too much. My lord should refuse this application for adjournment,” Jacobs said.

However, this has not done anything to deter Saraki as he is now claiming that CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar is biased and as such must withdraw from the trial.

An application to that effect led to a shouting match in the CCT on Thursday, April 21, after Saraki’s lawyer, Raphael Oluyede insisted on presenting the motion despite being overruled by Umar.

Saraki’s obvious disregard for the law has also encouraged his colleagues to follow in his footsteps as seen by the Senate’s recent summoning of Umar to appear before it to answer for charges of corruption levelled against him.

The Senate also decided, at a time when its leader is being prosecuted, to tamper with the CCT Act.

The legislators were however forced to back down from both illegal actions after being heavily criticized by Nigerians.

It’s unfortunate that Saraki does not understand how important his response to this trial is to his image, and at this point his character and reputation have suffered a severe dent, at least in the eyes of responsible Nigerians.

The Senate President needs to remember that he is the frontman for the legislature and as such must show complete respect for the laws of the land.

It’s time for Saraki to stop playing games and submit fully to the judicial process like he said he would. It’s time to allow the law take its course.

Should Saraki resign?»

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