CCT Trail: Why Aso Rock cabal saved Saraki

Bukola Saraki

Details have emerged on why the cabal in the Presidency in­fluenced the discontinua­tion of the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribu­nal (CCT).

Dependable sources in the Presidency, the All Pro­gressives Congress (APC) and some members of the National Assembly con­firmed that a trade-off was reached between key actors in the legislature and a cabal in the Presidency.

The CCT recently shocked Nigerians and Civ­il Society Organisations (CSOs) when it discharged and acquitted Saraki of the 18-count charge of false dec­laration of assets brought against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) in a trial that lasted 22 months.

The Economic and Fi­nancial Crimes Commis­sion (EFCC) compound­ed the situation when it disowned its lawyer, Mr. Rotimi Jacob (SAN), who was prosecuting Saraki at the CCT.

The commission claimed that Jacob acted in his individual ca­pacity as a private prosecutor.

Faced with the scenario, the CCT Chairman, Mr. Danla­di Umar, in the judgement, said that the prosecution failed to es­tablish a prima facie case against Saraki and consequently dis­charged him.

The AUTHORITY learnt that Saraki’s acquittal by the CCT has more to do with face-saving by the cabal who have “hijacked” the government in the absence of ailing President Muhammadu Buhari.

Saraki’s woes began when he went against APC leaders to emerge the Senate President on June 9, 2015 with support from the opposition People’s Demo­cratic Party (PDP) Senators in the Upper Chambers.

The APC had picked Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe) for the office.

Sources told The AUTHOR­ITY that the cabal, comprising close friends of the President from the North, aborted the tri­al of Saraki to avoid the 2010 sce­nario which led to the Doctrine of Necessity that ushered in then Vice President Goodluck Jona­than as Acting President in the absence of the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who was hospitalised in Jeddah.

The 7th Senate under the leadership of Sen. David Mark, citing Section 145 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) on Tuesday, February 9, 2010, passed a resolution making Jonathan the Acting President.

The House of Representatives headed by Hon. Dimeji Bankole followed suit with a similar res­olution.

Although there are argu­ments that since Buhari named Prof. Yemi Osinbajo as Acting President, there would be no room for the Senate resorting to that constitutional provision.

It was learnt that the cabal feared that if the trial of Saraki continued, he could do the un­expected if after 90 days Presi­dent Buhari is unable to return to the country.

The AUTHORITY further gathered that the cabal moved to stop the war of attrition with Sa­raki to prevent him from gang­ing up with perceived enemies of the government to dig deep into the controversy surrounding the continued absence of President Buhari.

The sources added that Saraki was let go to stop him from frat­ernising with the APC National

Leader, Alhaji Bola Tinubu, who has been his foe since the incep­tion of this administration.

Tinubu had accused Saraki of dissuading Buhari from picking him as his running mate during the 2015 presidential election, on the grounds that Nigerians would not accept a Muslim-Muslim ticket.

One of the sources said: “The cabal knows the implications of pushing Saraki into the hands of those who are looking for ways to push Buhari aside due to his sick­ness. Don’t forget the role played by David Mark in 2010. At this time, the cabal needs an ally, not a foe, to be at the head of the Na­tional Assembly. Who knows how far this situation will persist?”

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“You know, Saraki and the godfather (Tinubu) of the Act­ing President are not the best of friends. He is going to be a use­ful tool in causing problems for the Acting President, now that they are not sure where the Bu­hari Presidency is heading”.

The cabal’s intervention came at a time the Presidency is en­gaged in a supremacy battle with the Saraki-led Senate on the pow­ers of the National Assembly to confirm the appointees of the President.”

The refusal of Osinbajo to drop Ibrahim Magu as EFCC chairman as demanded by the Senate has drawn the ire of the lawmakers.

A Second Republic lawmak­er, Dr. Junaid Mohammed, told The AUTHORITY that the cabal truly exists.

He said: “Clearly, the Sena­tors and Saraki are up for a fight! It is a Yoruba fight. Bukola Saraki believes that Osinbajo and Tinu­bu are after him, and he wants to pre-empt them by holding onto the government. It is a tribal fight and they should go and sort out their tribal affairs.”

In his reaction, Second Re­public Governor of Old Kadu­na State, Alhaji Balarabe Musa, accused the cabal of taking Ni­gerians for granted over Buha­ri’s health.

He said: “They are taking Nigerians for granted. Nigeri­ans have to be taken into con­sideration because for the Pres­idency to make such statement shows that the situation is criti­cal. It also means they are taking us for a ride.”

“The Federal Government should ensure that Nigerians know the truth; we cannot con­tinue to be left in the dark. We cannot trust his aides as well. We need the Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Repre­sentatives, who claim to have met him, to find out the truth and tell Nigerians the truth.”

Similarly, pan-Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere, through its National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumak­in, said that “this season of pow­er struggle will paralyse govern­ance.”

On the need for Osinbajo to be firm and wise, Odumakin told The AUTHORITY that, “if the Acting President is a wise man and I know he is wise, he should not play into the hands of Magu. I think he should not sink with Magu.”

Human rights activist, Oge­nyi Okpokwu, said: “Those who believe that Saraki was released to work with the cabal or the fact that there was arrangement with the CCT, cannot hold water. The Buhari administration has been able to lay a foundation in fighting corruption. He was discharged based on facts available to the CCT,” he said.

When contacted on the de­velopment, Buhari’s spokes­man, Mr. Femi Adesina, referred The AUTHORITY to Mr. Laolu Akande, the Acting President’s Media Aide.

As at the time of filing this re­port, Akande had not responded to a text message and calls to his mobile phone.

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