CCT v Saraki: We can’t overlook a lot of things -Tinubu

Apparently reacting over the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki by the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT, leader of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu yesterday said the present administration cannot overlook certain things in its fight against corruption.

Meantime, Tinubu has called on Nigerians to often put God and the nation first in their daily activities, saying “What is missing (in Nigeria) is patriotism, dedication to God and to our people.

Tinubu in an interview after observing his two rakat prayer as part of the activities for the Eid-el-Kabir celebration at the Dodan Barrack praying ground, Obalende area of Lagos State, said that the ongoing anti-corruption war embarked upon by President Muhammadu Buhari will further strengthen the country’s institutions and fast track development.

This came 48 hours after the Saraki appeared before the CCT in Abuja on September 22nd, 2015, claiming that he was not guilty to the charges leveled against him by the tribunal.

According to him, “It is part of nation’s development. We cannot overlook a lot of things. And we cannot personalise a lot of things as if it was vendetta. We have to endure and be patient as we look for justice, equity and a balanced society.”

He stated that to achieve a just and balanced society, the various institutions in the country must be strengthened, adding “if we do not straighten these institutions, how can they work for the development of the nation? If we fail and result to blackmail, how can the nation reverse the decadence that is perceived in our society?”

SARAKI’s TROUBLES

On the 6th of June 2015, The All Progressives Congress, APC adopted Senator Ahmad Lawan as its sole candidate for the post of Senate President in the election of the principal officers of the 8th senate to be conducted  the following tuesday.

The party had held a mock election for the principal officers of the National Assembly in a bid to ensure that it did not go into the election with a divided house.

At the end of voting, 32 voted for Lawan for Senate President out of 33, while 31 voted for Akume for Deputy out of 33 with one voided vote for the Senate Presidency and two voided votes for the Deputy Senate Presidency.

A group of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Senators called ‘Senators-Elect Of Like Minds’ boycotted the mock election held by the party to select the candidate that will vie for the Senate Presidency.

The Senators said they would only participate in the election for the seat of the principal officers of the Senate which is organised by the National Assembly.

On inauguration day, while APC senators were waiting at the ICC for a meeting propurtedly with the President to sort out the matter, Saraki emerged as President with massive support from the PDP, in return, PDP’s Ekweremadu was elected Deputy Senate President. A situation which greatly angered Saraki’s party and lead to a protracted crisis.

What about Saraki?

An ANGRY mob on Thursday hurled water sachets and stones at a tent under which the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and some other dignitaries sat, at the Eid-el-Kabir prayer ground in Ilorin, Kwara State capital.

Amid shouts of “ole” “ole” (thief! thief!), the mob, made up mainly of youths and workers in the state, reportedly defied security operatives at the Eid-el-Kabir prayer and threw objects at the tent.

Saraki was reportedly smuggled out of the area by security operatives.

The Emir of Ilorin, Alhaji Sulu Gambari, who arrived at the venue at 10 am, five minutes after Saraki, reportedly met the mob hurling sachets of pure water and stones at dignitaries including the Senate President.

reports that the state-owned radio station, Radio Kwara, which had been transmitting the event live at a point, discontinued its broadcast.

Hundreds of faithful, who could not get to the prayer ground because of gridlock, but who had been following the proceedings on the radio, were unable to observe the congregational prayer because of the transmission stoppage.

It was learnt that a coaster bus conveying the Vice Chancellor, University of Ilorin, Prof. Abdulganiyu Ambali, and others, was also vandalised in the mayhem with eight persons in the bus sustaining injuries.

The Senate president has however said that he was not attacked.

Saraki, in a statement by his media office, said any report that indicated that he was attacked was false.

The statement partly read “Before the Senate President left the prayer ground, he spoke to reporters who had asked him about his message for Nigerians to mark the Eid-el-Kabir.

“We want to say that nothing can be further from the truth as the Senate President was never attacked nor was there any attempt made on his life to warrant him being ‘whisked away’ as reported by a section of the media.

“We however observe that there was a protest allegedly staged by local government employees over purported non-payment of salaries, which hoodlums attempted to hijack but this development was immediately curtailed by security agents.”

He said no missile was hurled at him.

But eyewitnesses told our correspondent in Ilorin that the mob had targeted Saraki in respect of allegations of false asset declaration levelled against him by the Code of Conduct Bureau and trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal.

Another eyewitness, Kazeem Agboji, however condemned the attack, and said the attackers were mainly workers, who were being owed salaries by the state government.

Another eyewitness, who identified himself only as Kadiri, said the fact that the state governor, Abdulfatah Ahmed, was not present at the prayer ground suggested that the attackers were not state workers.

“If they were to be aggrieved civil servants as some people are saying, the governor would be their target and he did not come. I think Bukola (Saraki) is their focus,” he said.

The Kwara State Police Public Relations, Mr. Ajayi Okasanmi, told journalists in Ilorin that the mob were made up of hoodlums who had come to beg for money but were disappointed as they could not get to where some prominent people were seated.

He said that the police had got information that some hoodlums, who normally beg for money at the prayer ground, were planning to cause trouble if they did not get enough money.

He said the police had arrested eight of the attackers and that the prayers later went on without hitches.

But a policeman, who was on duty at the prayer ground, told The Punch that about eight vehicles that escorted Saraki to the venue were vandalised.

“They aimed the stones at Bukola. It was very difficult for us to control the mob. We only shot at the air to disperse them. They vandalised about eight cars that conveyed Bukola’s entourage to the prayer ground and cut the the wire being used for transmission by Radio Kwara,” the source said.

According to a statement by Governor Abdulfattah Ahmed’s Chief Press Secretary, Abdulwahaab Oba, the government said it heard of plans by some aggrieved politicians, in collaboration with some of the local government employees and teachers, to protest arrears of salaries owed them by their various local government authorities.

He said that the government had gone out of its way to negotiate and secure bank loans to offset the arrears, pending the time when the Federal Government bailout would be released and that workers had received their salaries.

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