Arrest Warrant: Bukola Saraki At Cross-Road As Home Base Kwarans Urge For Fairplay-Uncertainty beclouds the fate of Ilorin Kwara state Saraki Family Heir-apparent who has been summoned to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal sitting in Abuja.
Following the uncertainty, the home city of Senator Olubukola Saraki is in tension as the city invokes its god’s of divine fortune to come to his (Saraki’s) aide as he is currently facing criminal charges over false declaration of assets.
The top flying Senator has been summoned to appear before the CCT on Monday while all arms of the nation’s security have been assigned to produce him at all cost
According to reports, the city has been nervous over the fate of its number one citizen who bring comfort and hope to millions through daily upkeep and provision of lifelines in the face of hopelessness.
As the Code of Conduct Bureau issued its warrant of arrest against the Saraki family Heir apparent, palpable tension overwhelmed the ancient town sending the entire town to frenzy of spiritual appeasement. On Friday, special sessions of prayers were arranged while various Mosques spent more time in calling on divine intervention.
many who saw the head of Saraki clan as unfallible spoke on ground of anonymity accusing the senator’s political enemies as the source of his current misfortune claiming the problem has been caused by “Enemies of democracy that want to take over the leadership of the senate.”
Also on Friday, a political pressure group in the state, Maja Elders Forum (MEF) reportedly canvassed for prompt intervention of the President, Muhammadu Buhari to step into the matter to safe Saraki’s name.
Agbakoba: The Code of Conduct Bureau is Not a Superior Court…
As the news are emerging, many ambitions are taking up a criss-cross of analysis both in support and against the decision of the CCT.
Nigerians Former President of the Nigeria Bar Association, Chief Olisa Agbakoba claimed the CCT was wrong to have equated itself to a court of equal jurisdiction with the Federal High Court.
“There are two kinds of courts in Nigeria, superior and inferior. All the superior courts are defined in Section 6 of the constitution; it does not include the Code of Conduct Bureau, it does not include the National Industrial court,” Agbakoba said.
According to him, “The Code of Conduct Bureau is not a superior court; it is an inferior court and because it is an inferior court, it is amenable to the judicial review jurisdiction of a superior court of record like the Federal High Court.”
The Federal High Court, he said had power to review the judicial work of the Code of Conduct Bureau because it is an inferior court.
Also reacting, Ebun Adegboruwa described the Tribunal’s action as an assault on rule of law. “What the Code of Conduct Tribunal did in spite of the order of the High Court amounts to judicial abuse of the due process of the rule of law and amounts to judicial rascality on the part of the serving judge of Code of Conduct Tribunal.”
Adegboruwa said the Tribunal was under the supervisory jurisdiction of the High Court, adding that the option left for the Tribunal was to approach the court that gave the order to either challenge it or vacate it.
He said, “It will amount to total anarchy for the parties affected by an order to decide whether or not to obey the order. So, to that extent, the bench warrant issued against the Senate President is ultra vires, it has no place in law and cannot be enforced, because if the order of the High Court to the tribunal was not enforced also the bench warrant of the tribunal to the Senate President cannot be enforced. You cannot use wrong to achieve a right.”
On Friday, a statement signed by Saraki’s media aide, Yusuph Olaniyonu explained more on why the President of the Senate refused to appear at the CCT.
Olaniyonu said: “The Senate President is a law abiding citizen and his absence from the Tribunal today was based on the legal advice he received from his counsel that the Tribunal will respect the decision of the Federal High Court which is obviously a superior court of records. Also, he relied on a letter from the Chief Justice of Nigeria directed to the Chairman of the Tribunal last May that they are not judicial officers and are inferior to the regular High Court as defined by the law and that they take official oath not judicial oath.”
According to the statement, Saraki attributed his current plight to r said his ongoing trial was not a war against corruption but rather the deployment of state institutions to fight a political enemy.
He said he was shocked that the CCT as an inferior court could choose to ignore a subsisting order by a Federal High Court which on Thursday asked the plaintiffs to show cause why it should not grant an ex-parte motion sought by Saraki.
“It is also a surprise to us that despite the application by the lead counsel to the president that he would produce Saraki on Monday and the personality of the person involved as the No 3 man in the country, the tribunal insisted on issuing a warrant of arrest as if its intention is simply to embarass Saraki; we are not unmindful of the fact the tribunal is acting under political influence and external pressure. This is dangerous for our democracy.”
According to Saraki, given the way the CCT had handled the matter so far, it was clear that he could not get justice before it adding that inasmuch as he had resolved to be law abiding, he also had the right to seek protection from the judiciary.
Arguing that it was in view of the ruling of the high court on Thursday that he chose to go about his duties yesterday, Saraki alleged that it was clear that the CCT was under an undue influence, a situation he said was dangerous for democracy.
Furthermore, he said it was curious that the tribunal failed to listen to the submission of his counsel and instead proceeded to issue a warrant of arrest.
He added that it was dangerous to be walking towards the destruction of democracy in a bid to fight an enemy.
A cross-section of those expressing their opinion described Saraki’s situation as redeemable if he could allow his legal advisers handle the CCT in a professional manner defending his family fortune
But they are of the opinion that if he continues to disobey the CCT, his body language may not signal a beckon of visible success.
Describing Agbakoba’s claim that the High Court was superior to the CCT, a North London based legal luminary who wants anonymity said the top lawyer erred in his conclusion as the issue of national interest should take precedence in view of the nation’s past record on the rule of law.
Among the aims and objectives of the Bureau is the establishment and maintenance of a high standard of morality in the conduct of government business and ensuring that the actions and behaviour of public officers conform to the highest standards of public morality and accountability.
CCT Defiance of Subsisting Court Order : Our Stand By Saraki’s Camp
Following the development in the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) today, Friday, September 18, 2015 when the Tribunal chose to ignore the subsisting order of a Federal High Court by sitting, we hereby state our position as follows:
1. While the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had stated and maintains that he is ready to submit himself to due process of the law on any issue concerning him, he also believes he has an inalienable right to resort to the same judiciary for protection when he feels his fundamental rights are about to be infringed upon.
2. It is for this reason that Dr. Saraki, having satisfied himself that the case filed by the CCB and the manner in which the case was filed show that he will not be given justice, resorted to the Federal High Court for the determination of the issues of competence of the prosecutor as well as compliance with the procedure stipulated in the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act.
3. The Federal High Court on Thursday, September 17, 2015, therefore ordered that the all parties in the case should appear before it on Monday, September 21, 2015. The implication of this ruling by a Court of competent jurisdiction is that the sitting today has been overtaken by event. It is for this reason that Dr. Saraki chose to go about with his normal official schedule.
4. Today at the Tribunal, Counsel to the Senate President, Mr. M. A. Mahmud (SAN), raised a motion stating that there is a pending constitutional matter before the Federal High Court to be decided on Monday and that the Tribunal should hold the trial until the constitutional matter is disposed of.
5. We are however dismayed that the Tribunal chose to disregard the order of the Federal High Court and the motion to suspend hearing till Monday when all parties are expected to argue their positions on the constitutional matter.
6. It is also a surprise to us that despite the application by the lead counsel to the Senate President that he will produce Dr. Saraki on Monday and the personality of the person involved as the Number three man in the country, the Tribunal insisted on issuing a warrant of arrest as if its intention is simply to embarrass Dr. Saraki. We are not unmindful of the fact that the Tribunal is acting under political influence and external pressure. This is dangerous to our democracy.
7. The conduct of the Tribunal today left nobody in doubt that it cannot do justice on the matter before it. It is also clear that today’s decision is an abuse of the rule of law which portends danger to our judicial system. The Tribunal has equally set a bad precedent in the way and manner it conducted itself during the proceedings.
8. We want to emphasise the fact that this is not part of any war against corruption but using state institutions to fight political opponents and seeking to achieve through the back door what some people cannot get through democratic process.
9. We need to caution here that in a desperate bid to settle political scores and nail imaginary enemies, we should not destroy our democratic institutions and heat the polity for selfish reasons. Let us all learn from history.
9. The Senate President is a law abiding citizen and his absence from the Tribunal today was based on the legal advice he received from his counsel that the Tribunal will respect the decision of the Federal High Court which is obviously a superior court of records. Also, he relied on a letter from the Chief Justice of Nigeria directed to the Chairman of the Tribunal last May that they are not judicial officers and are inferior to the regular High Court as defined by the law and that they take official oath not judicial oath.
10. We will like to state therefore that Dr. Saraki will not do anything to undermine the judicial process and authority but he will always act to protect his fundamental human rights.
Special Adviser (Media and Publicity) to the Senate President.