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Opinion / Editorial

Why Bukola Saraki Must Not Resign

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by Juliana Okon

Senate President, Bukola Saraki is caught between rock and a hard place. His battles can only end in two ways – his head on a stake or knighthood conferred on him. You can almost hear the crowd baying for blood.

Someone very powerful wants the senate President out of the way. He snatched a stool meant for the gods, sat on it and shared their sacrificial items with his minions. If Saraki goes down today it will sadly be about whom he offended not what he did. Saraki’s trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal is all about teaching the Senate President a lesson and making him an example to others who may be considering toeing his path. If Saraki’s trial were more than a witch-hunt , 90% of political office holders in 2016 Nigeria will be facing trial.
Some try to excuse the calls for Saraki’s resignation saying it’s the proper thing to do. When did we start doing the proper in Nigeria?. Who defines proper? They want Saraki to save the image of an already smeared National Assembly by resigning. Is Saraki the first person in government to sit tight after being accused of ‘something’ ? . Every living prominent politician in Nigeria has one accusation of wrongdoing or the other hanging over their heads. Some of those with major accusations hanging over their heads have even been rewarded with political offices. Right or wrong has become determined by whose service the acts were committed in.

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Since May 29, 2015 we’ve witnessed an upsurge in number of accusations – how many of those accused have been found guilty by a competent court of law?. Why should Saraki resign over mere accusations that may very well turn out to be lies? If Saraki were to resign today it will boost the morale of a government who believes that the anticorruption war is won on the front pages of newspapers. We want to see government lawyers argue their case brilliantly and nail Saraki without any help from the media.

Saraki is a big man, one of the elites in Nigeria. He’s a member of the top 5percenters of our society. He can afford the best lawyers for his defense. From the courtroom arguments we have heard since the trial began, we know this trial is going to be a major test of our legal system. The Senate President has consistently maintained that his trial is a witch-hunt. Is Saraki going to be hung based on the body language of one man or is the law going to be allowed to take its course?

Under the Nigerian laws, an accused person is innocent until proven guilty. Let those who accused Saraki prove his guilt beyond reasonable doubt or forever remain silent.


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