BUKOLA SARAKI – HONOR HAS NO LIMITATION

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The issue every law abiding Nigerian and well-meaning person wants Mr. Saraki {Nigeria’s Senate President} to address is whether he knowingly falsified his asset declaration form, and if so, why?  If he did falsify the asset declaration form, is there honor in such falsification?

Perhaps, Saraki and ‘others’ should be reminded, that, there is no honor in defrauding the people who elected them to serve if the case against him is proven.  Neither would it be less dishonorable if such reprehensible acts were discovered 100 years later.

I have said this before, and I will say it again. Because the Nigerian Criminal system is not accusatorial, Bukola Saraki, who was arraigned before the Code of Conduct Tribunal {CCT} on 22 September, is innocent until proven guilty.

Having established the above premise, I was deeply saddened when I read Saraki’s signed statement as the case against him was adjourned till October.  Saraki was reported to have said, “As I stated while taking the plea in the case, I reiterate my belief that the only reason why I am going through this trial is because I am the Senate President. “If I were to be just a Senator, I doubt if anybody will be interested in the assets declaration form I filled over twelve years ago

Nothing could be more unmeasured!  If I were Saraki’s Lawyer, I would have chastised him.

To dispense with the mundane, as his lawyer, I would have counseled him to offer only measured responses if at all particularly because, the world and Nigerians are watching.

As Jackie Kennedy-Onassis and Hilary Clinton know too well, ‘the media who makes you, will well break you”.  No offense to the media!

Of course, I am not Saraki’s lawyer and his reaction may be a tactical maneuver.  Such maneuver if at all, is not meant for any person with a scintilla of decency and conscience, perhaps, is best held in reservation for those who conspire and collude in raping Nigeria and Nigerians of its collective resources.

The above statement by Saraki, is a clear indication that, either, Saraki is not aware of the seriousness of the allegations against him or he is delusional.  Perhaps, he, Saraki, is indifferent to the level of abject poverty due in part to corruption and mismanagement of resources.  Worse still, he sees the arraignment as the usual braggadocio, ‘business as usual’ of corrupt politicians.

Saraki is neither ‘insensitive’ nor has he been medically declared delusional.  Thus, as a public officer in Nigeria when well-meaning Nigerians are seeking for that ‘elusive courage and determination’ to stop impunity at all levels, Saraki must take these allegations seriously.

The above statement writ large is despicable, shameful and nauseating of any person, who craves to serve or lead Nigeria.

We are looking at a potential wrong, an illegality of sorts that must be addressed and redressed.  At this juncture, the naysayers would probably jump at the principle of the statute of limitation {SOL}.

Unfortunately, as the Abacha case, and the “Follow the Money” theory clearly establishes, there is no statute of limitation for corruption. As Emile Van Der Does de Willebois, a Senior Financial Specialist with the Stolen Asset Recovery Initiative (StAR), surmised in the ‘Abacha’ recovery case, there is “NO STATUTE OF LIMITATIONS FOR CORRUPTION”.   I shall revisit the relevance of this case in the context of United Nations Convention on Corruption, which Nigeria ratified in another piece.

Therefore, assuming this case is proven against Mr. Saraki. the statement credited to him, is an affront to the ‘office’ he craves and took an oath to preside with honor.  With a major function to prosecute executive and other persons, where is the Senate’s honor?

The unguided or perhaps, ‘playing to the gallery’ remark, and the attempt to “excuse alleged falsification” (a felony) by the fact that it’s been 12 years since he duly completed the forms, leaves me gob smacked.

In civilized societies, public officials have resigned their positions for misappropriating a few pennies. The allegation against Saraki (perhaps the tip of an iceberg as Nigeria is awash with scandals totaling trillions of dollars) runs into millions of dollars.

As mentioned earlier, ‘honor has no limitation’.  This proclamation was demonstrated by the recent happening at the Ilorin praying ground in celebration of the Eid.

Allow me to divagate into Nigeria’s wonderland here.  In analyzing this situation with a friend, I made the point that honor has no limitation.  As if to extract me from what appeared to her as my ‘utopia’, she hurriedly recapped two (2) cases apropos.

First of, we reminisced the pomp and pageantry that followed Bode George’ prison celebration, and the more recent organized protest from a group of indigenes demanding for a “Presidential Pardon” for their kinsman, – all within the season of Jonathan Goodluck’s presidential pardon of Diepreye Alamieyesiegha[2].   Only in Nigeria!

Let me reiterate, as a public officer, the Senate President  should address whether he knowingly falsified his asset declaration form.

There is no honor in falsification.  Consequentially, to attempt to justify the criminality on grounds that twelve (12) years has elapsed is contemptible.  The holder of an office charged with the responsibility of prosecuting persons including the executive, must exonerate himself from these allegations.

The office of the Senate President of Nigeria is suffused with honor. The determination, protection and sustainability of the honor pledged on oath to the people of Nigeria on assumption of office, is inalienable, indivisible, indissoluble and without limitation.

The apparent ‘dark clouds’ hovering over Nigeria’s Senate and its honor must be lifted.

Pending Saraki’s arraignment and the outcome of the case, this writer is of the opinion that he should confirm whether Nigeria and Nigerians should continue to entrust him with that honor.

1 COMMENT

  1. I agree entirely with the incisive submissions,and also notes further that Mr Saraki’s braggadocio, or reprehensible posturing is symptomatic of the general contempt Nigerian Political Elite holds the masses,even their disdain for the rule of law. They are driven by naked pursuit for power and its perquisites, that they are willing to do anything to cling on to power,no matter how detestable . If Mr Saraki has any modicum of integrity , he should resign forthwith.

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