- The Senate president, Saraki was disappointed last week when the Supreme Court ruled that his corruption trial at the CCT should continue
- Senator Marafa said while the trial continues, Saraki should save the image of the National Assembly by resigning
- Another senator, Dino Melaye said there was no need for the Senate president to resign
Senator Kabiru Marafa, a leader of the Unity Forum has urged Bukola Saraki, the Senate president to resign honourably while his corruption trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) continues, before he is disgraced out.
The Unity Forum, a caucus of All Progressives Congress (APC) opposed to the emergence of Saraki as the Senate president also includes Suleiman Hunkunyi and Ahmed Lawan,who was the favoured candidate for the position by the party.
Speaking on Saturday in an interview with Premium Times, Marafa said Saraki had the right to be presumed innocent until proven otherwise; yet, he said “before he is disgraced out” he should “honourably” resign to save the image of the National Assembly and salvage national pride.
The outspoken senator was reacting to the Supreme Court ruling that upheld the trial of the Senate president at the CCT.
“The Senate should have understanding with Senator Saraki. What’s happening at the Code of Conduct Tribunal has nothing to do with the Unity Forum; it’s between him and the state and country’s law says he’s presumed innocent until proven to otherwise.
“By reason of omission or commission, Saraki has pushed himself to a position of disadvantage. By moving from one court to the other up to the Supreme and got himself knocked out, what it portrays is that the Senate under Senator Saraki is fast losing credibility.
“The most honourable thing for Saraki is to resign and face his prosecution. If he wins, the seat is always there and he can be re-elected again if those that supported him truly believe he is the best person for the position. And if not, he will remain a senator like he was in the 7th Assembly. Is it a must that he becomes Senate President?” he queried.
Saraki had said he was disappointed with the court shortly after the verdict was given. Reacting to this, Marafa said the Senate president had no respect for the Supreme Court as the chief lawmaker of the country.
According to him, Saraki had done a lot of damage to the Senate, saying, “How do you feel to see your number 3 man being docked for corruption charges.”
In response to Marafa’s comments, Senator Dino Melaye (APC-Kogi State), who speaks for the Like Minds caucus, a pro-Saraki group of lawmakers said there was no cause for Saraki to resign.
He said: “Marafa is a clown and perhaps lives on cheap drugs. The case at the CCT is not about Saraki; rather, it’s about the Senate. And we will not fold our arms to mess up with the Senate. The Senate is stable and Saraki has the support of most of the Senators.”
Saraki is facing a 13-count charge of false assets declaration, which he allegedly made in 2003 as governor of Kwara state before the CCT.
He had approached the apex court to halt his trial at the CCT by the federal government, challenging the jurisdiction of the tribunal on the ground that it lacked jurisdiction to try him and that it was not properly constituted.
The Supreme Court had on Friday, February 5, dismissed Saraki’s appeal against the competence and constitution of the CCT to try him for a 13-count charge of false asset declaration.