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Saraki: Lawyer says senate president’s ‘persecution’ is waste of time and money

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An Ibadan based lawyer thinks that Saraki is being unjustly persecuted by the Buhari led federal government.
An Ibadan based lawyer, Tunde Olawuwo, has accused President Muhammadu Buhari of unjustly persecuting Senate President Bukola Saraki.
On July 6, 2018, Saraki was cleared of corruption charges by the Supreme Court. »
Saraki was immediately dragged before the Code of Conduct Tribunal on charges bordering on false declaration of assets as Governor of Kwara, after he emerged senate president against the APC’s wish in 2015.
Saraki and his horde of supporters often say his trial was a political witch-hunt on account of his emergence as senate president.
In a piece titled Saraki’s Persecution, a waste of time and resources by the Buhari led FG?, Olawuwo takes the reader through what he considers the senate president’s travails at the hands of the presidency.
The piece is reproduced in full below:
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Opinion
Yes, you read that right. I meant and still mean Persecution and not Prosecution.
As a Year 3 Law student, my criminal law lecturer took pains to explain to the class the difference between persecution and prosecution.
On the face of it, one can describe persecution as ‘the unfair or cruel treatment over a long period of time because of race, religion, or political beliefs’ while prosecution is the institution and conduct of legal proceedings against someone in respect of a criminal charge.
From the above definitions, one can decipher, without much ado that one is about using the instrumentality of the law to harass and harangue real and perceived political opponents as well as people that do not agree with them. The greatest example in history? The trials and travails of Jesus Christ. That is persecution.
After defying his party, the political establishment, the president and the so-called
Lion of Bourdillon by emerging senate president, it was clear those terrestrial forces were never going to go down without a fight.
Like the proverbial witch that cried yesterday and the child that died today, the federal government slammed a 13-count charge of corruption on the president of the Nigerian senate, Bukola Saraki.
In charge number ABT/01/15, dated September 11 and filed before the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Mr. Saraki was 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.
Of course, every discerning mind suspected this was payback of some sorts but still the federal government trudged on.
Suspicions grew when at the trial, the Chairman of the CCT could almost not hide his bias. On a number of occasions, he descended into the arena and took up the roles of the prosecutor and the Judge–an anomaly of the highest order.
As a result of this anomaly, Saraki rightly accused the Chairman of the tribunal of bias and consequently asked him to recuse himself from the case–a request the Chairman of the Tribunal like someone on a mission, disregarded.
Fast forward to June 14, 2017 and the tribunal apparently seeing that it couldn’t help the prosecution, dismissed the charges against Saraki, citing the inability of the federal government to prove the charges against him beyond reasonable doubt.
Tax payers’ money
One would have thought the federal government would take the hint and desist from the Senate President’s persecution but no! The federal government still expended tax payer’s precious funds appealing the CCT decision. That didn’t stop the federal government from getting smacked as the Supreme Court ruled in Bukola Saraki’s favour and just shied away from calling the whole process ‘a persecution’.
As a tax payer, it worries me that the government sees nothing wrong in wasting tax payer’s hard earned money persecuting real and perceived political opponents. I am befuddled by the money, time and energy government spent harassing the senate president.
Seeing that the economy under the president has deteriorated, I wonder whether our economy won’t be at par with Rwanda’s had the government exerted the energy, time and money it spent persecuting Saraki on it.
Same goes for other sectors that have basically become moribund under President Buhari’s leadership.
One can only hope that going forward; the Buhari-led federal government desists from haranguing political opponents and spends ample time and money akin to that which it spent trying to send Bukola Saraki to jail, on other sectors of the economy desperately crying for attention.
But as I said, one can only hope…
Editor’s note: Tunde Olawuwo, a Legal practitioner, contributed this piece from Ibadan. The views expressed in this piece are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Fojusi.
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There have been rumours that Saraki is warming up to dump the APC for the PDP. On a recent visit to Kwara, the senate president said he will soon let his supporters know if he’ll be leaving the APC or not. »

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