Former Director-General of the Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Eddie Iroh, has warned President Muhammadu Buhari, the presidency as well as the President’s advisers to adopt care in handling the current legal challenges faced by Senate President Bukola Saraki.
Saraki, recently arraigned on a 13-count charge by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, was also allegedly booed by protesters who disrupted the Sallah prayers at Ilorin, the Kwara State capital on Thursday.
Iroh, who blamed President Buhari for the emergence of Saraki as the Senate President with his assumed neutrality in the choice of the leadership of the National Assembly, warned Buhari not to be seen as using his might to muzzle the Senate President for political reasons, which is gradually becoming a major perception in the country.
The analyst, while maintaining that he was not sympathetic to Saraki, warned that the rule of law must be seen to be obeyed in the trial of the Senate President because Saraki’s victory at the tribunal could be a major defeat for the country’s judicial system and the much touted war against corruption.
“Now nothing in the foregoing analysis can be construed by any fair minded person to represent a defence of Saraki or against the substance and merits of the charges against him.
“Not only do I not know Saraki from Adam and Adamu, I couldn’t care two brass buttons if he is sent to Kirirkiri for a thousand years if found guilty as charged.
“But if the rule of law must mean rule of law, then due process must not be trampled upon on the journey to justice.
“For, if Saraki should overturn the charges against him even on the minutest of technicalities it will be a resounding defeat for both the judicial process and the war against corruption.”
Stressing that he was only analysing the situation without bias, Iroh, who expressed his opinion on his Facebook wall, said: “let us try to examine the matters arising without being APC, PDP, Yoruba, Hausa or Muslim. That should not be difficult if the pursuit of truth is the objective of any public discourse.
“It is common knowledge that Saraki emerged as Senate President against the preference of President Buhari. The first thing to recognise is that such emergence was the fault of the President who had, ab initio, declared that he would not interfere in the election of principal officers of the NASS (National Assembly).
“It is on record also that his predecessors OBJ (Olusegun Obasanjo), (Umaru) Yar’Adua and GEJ (Goodluck Ebele Jonathan) were not indifferent to that exercise in their own time.
“Now if PMB’s preference of indifference is part of the message of change then he would be expected to accept the result and be seen to accept it, especially bearing in mind that no President can get much done if his administration is seen to have a frosty relationship with the legislature.
“But as is also well known, the President has not been happy with the result of the NASS election of its officers…As Asaba woman would put it, what you bargained for is what you get.”
In his analysis, Iroh listed timing, image and perception as three very critical factors in politics, adding that the trio was implicit in this drama being faced by Saraki.
“Those who manage and advise PMB must be keenly aware of all three in any policy or action of the administration,” he warned.
As reflected, he said the case currently against Saraki happened while the Senate President was a governor after which he became a lawmaker for four years without immunity.
He also re-echoed Saraki’s argument at the CCT that the charges against him were not brought to his attention for defence as required by the law.
“Note also that the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) has been more or less in slumber land for years; even the third justice on their bench had not been replaced for a long time.
“But suddenly the CCT sprang into action and in what appears to be unseemly haste, summoned Saraki for trial without ensuring the basic procedural requirement of prior notification.”
According to Iroh, the perception that Saraki is being targeted as Buhari’s perceived enemy is a stigma that can hardly be ignored.
Source: Premium Times