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What is Good For Tinubu is Not Good For Saraki ?

by on April 28, 2016
 

Buhari’s so-called war on corruption has many faces. On the surface it appears as if something is be­ing done about corruption, but on closer scrutiny, the mask is removed and the corruption war takes shape as a mere in­strument and propaganda tool used to haunt down political opponents and mislead a gul­lible public into believing cor­ruption is being tackled. So far, the ploy seems to have achieved some success as many Nigeri­ans who either do not under­stand what corruption in its totality actually encompass­es or who are just being the usual hypocrites ever so will­ing to apply double standards have wilfully bought the gov­ernments line. But therein lies the danger—for in the ploy of fighting corruption albeit with insincerity and double stand­ards, we end up entrenching more corruption, bastardis­ing what is left of state institu­tions and creating a tyrannical one party state where all forms of opposition are permanently silenced.

This is exactly what is play­ing out in the Saraki Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) tri­al. Sometime in March Saraki’s lead counsel Kanu Agabi had argued before the CCT that since the allegations levelled against Saraki was not differ­ent from that previously lev­elled against the national leader of APC Asiwaju Bola Tinubu in regards to declaration of assets, and since Tinubu was set free on the grounds that the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) failed to fulfil the necessary condi­tions that would confer juris­diction on it the same way it also failed to fulfil those con­ditions in regards to Saraki, his client should also be set free.

Notably, the CCB by its own procedural rules is mandatori­ly required to invite alleged of­fenders to explain inconsist­encies in their declared assets before any charges can be initi­ated. In the case of both Tinu­bu and Saraki, the CCB failed to follow these rules and it’s on those grounds that Kanu Aga­bi insisted his client be set free.

Curiously, in rejecting Kanu Agabi’s plea to set Saraki free, the Chairman of the CCT Mr Danladi Umar who himself is subject to an EFCC investiga­tion over an alleged bribe, ad­mitted that the tribunal un­der his Chairmanship did set Bola Tinubu free in 2011 on the grounds that the CCB did not fulfil the necessary con­ditions before filing the case. He however added that free­ing Tinubu was an error which he has no intention of repeat­ing since it’s been overtaken by paragraph 3 (e) of the 1999 constitution. But contrary to Umar’s claim that his decision to reject Agabi’s plea is prem­ised on a constitutional provi­sion that has negated the neces­sity to fulfil certain conditions before initiating a trial; nei­ther the CCT act nor the 1999 constitution as it concerns the CCB has changed since Tinu­bu was freed. A standard prin­ciple in law is that similar cas­es particularly those previously adjudicated on get similar ver­dicts. This is why references to previous cases and verdicts are standard procedures in judicial processes. Why then is the ver­dict for Tinubu different from that of Saraki when the cir­cumstances and the laws are the same?

As bizarre as it gets, it’s ob­vious there is more to it than meets the eye. Someone is cer­tainly beating the drums that Umar is dancing to. Not only does his admission of making an error in freeing Tinubu di­minish his legitimacy, the fact the he is subject to an EFCC in­vestigation for corruption has nullified his fitness to preside over any tribunal. The funda­mentals of justice requires that it must not only be done it must also be seen to be done in a free and fair process without bias, inducement or coercion. How can such fundamentals be guar­anteed with a Judge who is un­der investigation for corruption and who admits freeing a de­fendant on procedural breach­es as set out in the CCT act but refuses to set free another de­fendant under similar circum­stances? This is more so con­sidering the fact that the Saraki CCT saga started only after he went against the wishes of the godfather’s in the APC and emerged the senate president. Prior to emerging the senate president, he was like all PDP politicians who decamped to the APC, an untouchable born again saint and darling of the party. All that changed when he went against the dictates of the godfathers.

There is hardly any Nigerian who would not support a gen­uine and holistic war on cor­ruption, but when the so called war on corruption is reduced to using state institutions like the EFCC, CCT, DSS to fight politi­cal opponents, advance person­al political interests, silence the opposition and in the process weaken/bastardise those insti­tutions, a greater corruption would have been unleashed on the society. When double standards, hypocrisy, persecu­tion and witch-hunting become the standard for fighting cor­ruption, the society is corrupt­ed even more. A good example suffices in the fact that Danla­di Umar publicly declared that Tinubu was freed in error, but when it was suggested that since the Judge admitted free­ing Tinubu in error, he should be re-arrested and prosecuted for fraudulent assets declara­tion, the same people who are calling for Saraki’s head went to great lengths to put up defenc­es on behalf of Tinubu, yet both of them committed exact same offence.

Just recently, Mr Joe Igbokwe the publicity secretary of APC in Lagos who has repeated­ly called for Saraki’s head pub­lished a lengthy article where he laboured not only to defend Tinubu but to lambast those calling for his prosecution. For him and other such hypocrites, Saraki is guilty and should be hanged while Tinubu is a saint that should be left alone even though both are guilty of ex­act same infraction. Such is the double standards and hypocri­sy that drives the so called cor­ruption war. It also goes to show the ultimate insincerity and un­derlying corruption in Buhari’s methods of fighting corruption. Lest we forget; corruption is not only about stealing of public funds—the evident undermin­ing and bastardisation of state institutions, use of state institu­tions to seek personal gain and advance personal political in­terests, inducement, coercion or intimidation of state offi­cials to work for personal inter­ests, silencing of the opposition, shielding corrupt political sup­porters while persecuting polit­ical opponents, disregarding the rule of law etc are the worst and most insidious forms of corrup­tion. Once institutions are per­sonalised and weakened the whole system becomes subject to corruption in all its facets.

Ultimately, the war on cor­ruption will never make sense except the long list of untouch­ables and Buhari protégées are done away with and institu­tions are allowed to function without fear or favour. Sara­ki and Tinubu are guilty of the same infraction and since the Judge has insisted on continu­ing with Saraki’s case, Tinubu’s case should also be re-opened and pursued with vigour. After all, what is good for the goose is good for the gander. Except this is done, the corruption war will lack legitimacy and will forever be viewed as a mere instrument of persecution and suppression of political opponents.

 

 

By  LAWRENCE NWOBU (AuthorityNgr.com)

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  • aag
    April 28, 2016 at 6:43 am

    pray for God’s intervention rather.

    Reply

  • austin
    April 28, 2016 at 6:50 am

    One thing our politicians aren’t seeing is if they can make Nigeria a better nation and develop it to peak strength they will be more money to embezzle.

    Reply

  • Shehu Shuaib
    April 28, 2016 at 7:41 am

    The 3rd placed National Political Leader should respect Nigeria’s Rule of Law; exonerate himself from impunity and be ready to serve the nation without fear or favour. Saraki should defend these charges against him with clear evidence to convince Nigerians to end the case. One or Two SAN Solicitors are enough to attend to these charges if he has nothing to hide. The God of honest and hard working Nigerians will not forgive him if he willingly debase our Rule of Law for his personal gain. We’ve had enough drama from his team of “money spinning Lawyers” who can sell their mother for fame and riches.
    Justice according to Rule of Law is what Nigerians are after. Nigerians are not after his money or how he made the money. Saraki should respect Nigeria as a Nation; respect the Office of Senate President of Nigeria with evidence worthy of emulation.
    Long Live Nigeria.

    Reply

    • pando
      April 28, 2016 at 9:17 am

      Shehu, I think differently. Let that judge hands-off the case before you can rightly ask Saraki to objectively provide evidence for his case. The judge is prejudiced and shouldn’t preside on the case.

      Reply

  • Cruz
    April 28, 2016 at 9:36 am

    I have my reservation on this so call SarakiCCt. It’s fraud against fraud playing out and will likely have fraudulent end. Why on earth should a corrupt judge preside over a corrupt case? Mr judge I believe errors like Tinubu’s can be corrected or u can as well make that same error again. #CorruptJudge.

    Reply

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