We can afford to sacrifice Saraki, says APC
• Why we can’t intervene in Sen. President’s ordeal
If embattled Senate President, Bukola Saraki, is indeed innocent of the corruption charges leveled against him at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), he should embrace the trial and prove his prosecutors wrong, says the All Progressives Congress (APC).
In a chat with The Guardian, yesterday, the National Vice Chairman of the party, Chief Hillard Eta, dismissed suggestions that the party should have moved in to rescue the Senate President.
Eta argued that doing so would amount to violating the principles on which the party was founded.
He said: “Why would the party do that when it came on the platform of the rule of law, that everybody is equal in the eyes of the law? Are we saying that some are more equal than others? Are we living in Animal Farm? Are you saying that because he is the Senate President, he should not have an opportunity of absolving himself from allegations? Is that what you are saying?”
Earlier, in an interview he granted one of the nation’s online publications, party chairman, Chief John Oyegun, had ruled out the possibility of any political solution to Saraki’s tribulation, stressing President Buhari will not be drawn into the matter either.
He is quoted as having said: “What political situation in a legal matter? Are the judges politicians? The President is certainly not the type who will interfere in a judicial matter. I think we know him very well. Everybody must know him. Things must be done normally. And that is part of the change mantra; we must play by the rule, so that we don’t truncate processes.
“People don’t seem to internalise what change is. If the President says, ‘court, free that man’, the same President can say, ‘court, imprison that man’. Is that the Nigeria you want? No! Change means allowing the law to take the proper course. I can tell you the President won’t interfere. The President is straight and firm in all facets.”
Asked why APC national leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, is not being hounded by the CCT, Eta said: “Tinubu was not taken to the tribunal as a member of the APC. We have never had a situation where our members have been given a soft landing by the government that is in control.”
On whether he thinks the Saraki saga is an indication of infighting within the APC, Eta replied: “Why do we always view conspiracy theory about matters that have absolutely nothing to do with conspiracy? The Code of Conduct has accused Saraki of violating the provisions of the law. What is incumbent on Saraki is go to the court and absolve himself, prove his case, prove his innocence. All of these conspiracy theories would do no good to the delivery of justice in Nigeria. If it is conspiracy, the court will arrive at that conclusion. But if it is a fact that what he has been accused of is indeed correct, then the law should be no respecter of anybody.”
Toeing the same line, APC chieftain, Mr. Osita Okechukwu, argued that interference would run contrary to the ongoing anti-graft war of the Buhari administration.
Okechukwu, who is the party’s spokesperson for the South East caucus spoke on the heels of calls by the deputy national publicity secretary, Mr. Timi Frank, on need for the party to save Saraki from trial at the CCT.
Meanwhile, House of Representatives member, Mr. Zakari Mohammed, yesterday, faulted media reports that he orchestrated the recent power outage at the sitting of the CCT during the trial of Saraki.
The lawmaker, in a statement, described the publication as not only false but also outright balderdash, sheer rubbish and a deliberate attempt to tarnish his hard-earned reputation.
Mohammed, who is a member of the APC from Kwara State, wondered why he should be blamed for the outage, even when it is commonly known that he has no stake in the nation’s power sector.
He said: “To set the records straight, I had no hands in the outage at the CCT. I have no relationship with any staff or technicians at the tribunal, which would have made me to influence the outage.
“I also do not work with or own shares in Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to have wielded contacts to disrupt power supply to the tribunal. I have never met with technicians in charge of the alternative source of power for the tribunal.”