The poll, sampling public opinion on whether Mr. Saraki should resign in view of his trial, ran on the newspapers’ site for two weeks ending May 5. It showed significant public support for Mr. Saraki’s resignation.
The poll had five structured answers from which a total of 5,454 respondents chose.
A total of 3,624 respondents, representing 66 per cent, chose “Yes, he is a corrupt person”, implying the senate president is corrupt and should stand down.
Another 652, representing 12 percent, also wanted Mr. Saraki to resign, choosing “yes, he does not represent APC change agenda”.
In sum, either because “he is a corrupt person” or “he does not represent APC change agenda”, 4,276 respondents, 78 per cent, voted that Mr. Saraki should resign.
Altogether, 647 respondents, representing 12 per cent, voted “No, his travails are just political vendetta”, while 315, representing six per cent, said the Senate President should not resign. The last group voted “No, he is innocent of all charges unless proven otherwise in court”.
Therefore, 962 respondents, 17.6 per cent, elected to stand with Mr. Saraki on his vow to stay in office unless he is ultimately convicted.
The remaining 223 respondents, or four per cent, said “I don’t care” whether Mr. Saraki resigns.
Mr. Saraki, in charge number ABT/01/15 dated September 11, 2015 and filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal, is accused of offences ranging from anticipatory declaration of assets to making false declaration of assets in forms he filed before the Code of Conduct Bureau while he was governor of Kwara state.
The senate president is also accused of failing to declare some assets he acquired while in office as governor.
Mr. Saraki is also accused of operating foreign accounts while being a public officer. On April 18, three new corruption charges were added to the initial 13-counts.
The prosecution has called one witness, Michael Wetkas, from the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, to detail how Mr. Saraki allegedly looted Kwara State and brazenly converted state’s funds to personal use.
Penalty if convicted
If eventually found guilty, the Code of Conduct Tribunal is empowered by the paragraph 18 (1)(2), Part 1 of the fifth schedule to the Constitution to remove Mr. Saraki from the National Assembly; bar him from holding any public office for a period not exceeding 10 years; and/or confiscate his properties determined as ones acquired in abuse or corruption of office.
Mr. Saraki has repeatedly accused the chairman of the Tribunal, Danladi Umar, of bias, expressing “big fear” he may not get justice from Mr. Umar.
He has filed a motion in the CCT asking Mr. Umar to disqualify himself from his trial. The motion was dismissed prompting him to seek relief of the Appeal Court to upturn the chairman’s ruling.
Mr. Saraki has also subtly accused former Lagos Governor, Bola Tinubu, of masterminding his travails, as retaliation for his opposition to
Mr. Saraki has since vowed not to resign. He told his colleagues in 2015 to “stand with me to defend the National Assembly!”
The Senate, last month, during a session led by Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, while his boss was attending trail at CCT, resolved to support its embattled President “to the end, except he is convicted”.