The senators opposed to Bukola Saraki as the president of the senate, have still not let go of their animosity towards him, and on Friday, following the ruling of the Supreme Court which said that the Code of Conduct Tribunal had jurisdiction to try the case against him, the anti-Saraki senators released a statement calling on him to step aside.
The Senate Unity Forum (SUF), insisted that Saraki must resign as the leader of the upper chamber because a person answering criminal charges could not lead the Senate.
A seven-man panel of the apex court presided over by the Chief Justice of Nigeria, Justice Mahmud Mohammed, had unanimously ruled that Saraki’s appeal against the jurisdiction of the CCT and the competence of the charges, lacked merit.
Justice Walter Onnoghen, who delivered the lead judgement, dismissed all Saraki’s seven grounds of appeal, affirming that the charges instituted against him were valid and that the tribunal was validly constituted with requisite jurisdiction to try him.
“We really pity Senator Bukola Saraki, but I think this issue has dragged for too long. We have indulged him thus far because we believe that he is presumed innocent until otherwise decided by a competent court of law. Now that the Supreme Court has decided that he has a case to answer, I think that the best thing for Senator Saraki is to resign in order to have enough time and full concentration to face his trial,” said Sen. Kabir Marafa, spokesman of the group.
Speaking further to The Punch newspaper, Marafa said: “He could, however, return and contest as a presiding officer in the chamber after his trial if he is declared innocent by the court but at the moment, the leadership of the Senate should call him to order and ask him to step aside.
“At the moment, the image of the Senate is not worth anything in the eyes of Nigerians because of the attitude of its president, who ordinarily should have resigned in a sane clime.
“However, if the senate president refused to resign and neither the leadership nor the entire senate mount any pressure on him to do so, then we would call on Nigerians to recall all their representatives in the senate because we have failed in our responsibilities.
“We have tried enough for him. We can no longer wait and watch someone who is answering criminal charges in court to come out of the dock always to preside over the affairs of the senate.”