Tuesday, 16 February 2016

Senate President's Trial To Cause Division As Senate Resumes Plenary

There were several meetings of various caucuses of the Nigerian Senate on Monday, in relation to the impending resumption of the trial of Senate President, Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
The Code of Conduct Bureau had charged Saraki on 14 counts of false declaration of assets during his tenure as Kwara state governor between 2003-2011.
The Senate President’s effort to stop the trial was rebuffed by the Supreme Court on February 5- issuing a ruling that Saraki should face his trial.
Ahead of the resumption of plenary on Tuesday (today) at the Senate, reports are rife that some anti-Saraki senators could move to challenge his leadership as a result of the trial.
If found guilty at the CCT, Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremadu, may be removed from their positions, but the lawmakers under the Senate Unity Forum may not intend to wait until the conclusion of the CCT trial.
While the Peoples Democratic Party caucus in the Senate are said to have resolved to support the Saraki/Ekweremadu joint ticket, the SUF led by Senator Ahmed Lawan, are expected to bring up the matter of the Senate President’s trial when plenary resumes.
Punch Newspapers quotes a Senator from the South-East geopolitical zone, to have said: “As members of the opposition, we are ready to pass another vote of confidence in Saraki because he is truly a stabilising factor in the nation’s legislature.”
“He commands a lot of respect among majority of members. He is accessible and he carries everyone along, not minding your political party or group affiliation within the Senate. So, as PDP senators, we believe that the Senate President should be given the benefit of the doubt as he pleads his case before the tribunal.”
But the Senate Unity Forum were also said to have held a marathon meeting at an undisclosed location on Monday- to formulate a strategy to produce the next Senate President in the event that Saraki is indicted at the court.
A Senator from the SUF camp was quoted to have said: “We have been meeting as members and strategising on an individual basis. I can assure you that we have our game plan, which we will keep to ourselves. We are senior citizens, we can’t fight on the floor. We are already winning the battle; very soon, you will see us in action.”