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On Saraki

By Ladesope Ladelokun
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If there is any public officer I don’t envy at the moment despite occupying an enviable position, he is Dr. Bukola Saraki. Saraki, by definition, is the Senate President and currently the number three man in Nigerian. But, the strong man of Kwara politics has been in the eye of the storm since he conquered the nation’s number three seat over allegations of misconduct that man cost him is one of the prices to pay for being a public officer especially a political office holder is the fact that your life becomes an open book. What you do/did and say/ said are subjected to scrutiny as they won’t escape the radar of critical observers. And long hidden skeletons (if there is any) get exhumed.

Now, Saraki has yet to be convicted of any crim. The strong man of Kwara politics is an innocent Man until proven otherwise. But he is facing a 13 count charge of alleged false declaration of assets. He is being tried at the code of conduct in burial (CCT) over alleged offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms filled before the code of conduct Bureau (CCB).

He is also accused of failing to declare some of his assets. On top of all of these, Saraki’s. On top of all of these, Saraki’s name is also mentioned in the Panama Papers scandal which has thrown up revelations regarding hidden assets in tax havens. These are rally not the best of times for the strong man of Kwara politics.

Many have have traced Sraki’s travail to his refusal to bow to the wish of his party, APC. Prior to his emergence as senate President, his party had anointed Senator Lawan from the north east. But Saraki would have none of that. Expectedly, things fell apart between the strongman of Kwara politics and his party.

Today Saraki is senate President and the rest, as they say, is his toys.

It is important to note that the senate President also believes he is being punished for his political ‘crises’. He sees his trial as a witching, and he has not stopped to tell anyone that cares to listen that he is being persecuted. While it is heard to puncture the argument that his trial has political undertones, I think the question to ask Saraki is:

Are your hands clean?
Vendetta is only easy when you have soiled your hands. A trial is not a death sentence. Curiously, Saraki’s ‘body language’ even before his trial at the CCT arouses suspicion about his culpability. It gave him out as someone who has something to hide. The battle to stop his trial up to the Supreme Court is one that has left critical observers wondering why he would fight and work harder than the devil to stop his trial if he is confident his hands are clean. Could it be the consequences if he is found to have so, what are the implications if Saraki is convicted? According to the code of conduct Bureau and Tribunal act. The CCT can legally prescribe any of the punishments contained in section 23 of the act on an offender. Section 23 of the act provides (1) where the tribunal finds a public officer guilty of contravening any of the provisions of this act, it shall impose, upon that officer any of the punishments specified under subsection (2) of this section’’. Section 23 (2), however, states the punishment which the tribunal shall impose will include any of the following: (a) Vacation of office or any elective office or nominated office as the case may be; (b) disqualification from holding any public office (whether soiled his hand elective or not) for a period not exceeding 10 years; (c) seizure and forfeiture to the state of any property acquired in abuse of corruption of office.

If Saraki is found guilty under section 23 (3) of the code of conduct Bureau and Tribunal act, Saraki may be punished for perjury as his asset declaration was done under oath. This office could earn him 14 year year’s jail term as prescribed by the criminal code act. But will Saraki come out claim? Will he shame his traducer? The answers lie in the womb of time.

‘Interestingly, the trial of the trial of the senate President has brought about a switch in loyalty campus. Some folks why vilified him for pitching his tent with the APC are now “standing with Saraki” while those who shoered pludits on him for joining the APC when it mattered the most are now the ones shouting “crucify him”. Well, that is the way of politics no permanent friends, no permanent enemies. But it must be stated that none of these has anything to the with the love of Nigeria.

However, one thing the trial of Saraki has helped to expose is the hypocrisy of one-eyed that of the political state analysis and the doubt le standard of the CCT. It is pubic knowledge that APC leaders, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, was once tried by the CCT for almost the same alleged offences of Saraki. Curiously when Saraki Presented the same argument that got Tinubu his freedom, Justice Danladi Umar of the CCT said Tinubu was freed in error.

Error? Not that there has been any amendment to the provision of the law that justice Danladi relied on to free Tinubu. No, nothing has changed, except the infvidduals. Expectedly, Umar’s statement sparked anger in the camp of Saraki fuelling the conclusion about Saraki’s trial being a witch hunt exercise.

In an article published in a national newspaper about six months ago which I titled “Saraki And The cry of vendelta” I wrote that I hugged the unseen hands that opened CCB’S book of remembrance after 13 years in order to prosecute Saraki would be magnanimous enough to spread the “anointing” to other PDP and APC Politicians that are not deemed marked by perpetual today, I ask CCB, it doesn’t where is thy sting? Seem like the Saraki may view his trial from my hope the prism of vendetta. He may be has been even the confident of winning his given experience legal battle at the CCT. One battle he has lost is the moral battle to continue to preside over the so I ask senate. It is about time he threw CCB, where in the trowel. At least, for the sis thysing? Sanctity of the office he occupied.

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