The Senate has rejected calls for the resignation of Senate President Bukola Saraki, following the ruling by the Supreme Court that his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal should proceed.
This was disclosed by the Senate spokesperson, Aliyu Abdullahi, in a statement on Monday.
According to Senator Abdullahi, who said he was speaking on behalf of his colleagues, there was no basis for the Senate president to resign, insisting that Mr. Saraki’s ordeal was politically motivated and not about any anti-corruption fight.
“From the beginning of the trial last September, we have declared that this case is not about any fight against corruption. It is simply a case of political vendetta.
“Our position remains the same. We still believe that the case is politically motivated”, he said.
On this ground, he stressed that “we want to state categorically that there is no basis for the call on the Senate president to resign until after the matter is decided in that final judicial forum. Such a call at this time is premature, mischievous and unwarranted”.
The Senate’s stand was in response to a call by Senator Kabiru Marafa, a member of the Unity Forum, for the Senate president to step down, so as not to drag the image of the red chamber in the mud with his trial.
Giving further grounds for the rejection of calls for Mr. Saraki’s resignation, the Senate spokesperson added, “We also noted that the decision of the Supreme Court given last Friday was on preliminary matters arising from the commencement of the trial. The trial proper is yet to begin. And since the fundamental principle in our legal system is that a defendant is deemed innocent until proven guilty, we have decided to patiently observe the proceedings until the case runs its full circle in the nation’s final judicial forum”.
While expressing support of senators for Saraki, who is facing a 13-count charge bordering on false assets declaration and money laundering when he was governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011, Abdullahi said: “We stand by him as he goes through the trial at the CCT where we believe he will be able to prove his innocence”.
“We also call on members of the public to ignore the ranting of a few Senators who having failed to get the wish of their sponsors done on the floor of the Senate are now launching media campaign against the leadership of the Senate”, he added.
Mr. Abdullahi said the Senate is stable and focused on “objective consideration and timely passage” of the 2016 budget proposal.
“We also want to say that we will not make any further statement on this case until the matter has been decided in the final judicial forum”, he concluded.