By: AUSTIN OWOICHO, Abuja
Former Deputy National Publicity of the Secretary of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Comrade Timi Frank, has described comments said to have been made by President Muhammadu Buhari in reaction to the Supreme Court’s acquittal of the President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, as “hypocritical.”
Frank in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, said it would have been better for the President to have maintained a dignified silence rather than betraying his emotion by comparing his purely political judicial antecedents to the persecution of Saraki.
He said that Buhari should have since demonstrated his faith in the judiciary by ensuring that all persons around him that have been accused of corruption are also made to prove their innocence through the judicial process instead of shielding them from prosecution.
Frank said: “I find it a joke of the year and facetiously hypocritical for Mr. President to say that Saraki’s “tortuous journey” to victory at the Supreme Court is akin to his own three-time sojourn through the judicial apparatchik.
“What does Mr. President mean? Is he saying that he tacitly supported the persecution of the President of the Senate simply because he emerged as the Presiding Officer of the Senate on June 9, 2015 against the wish of a cabal in the party with his tacit support?
“To prove his new faith in the Judiciary, let the executive arraign and ensure that persons like the former Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Mr. David Babacheer Lawal and the former Governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi, to prove their innocence over the grass cutting scandal and corruption petitions from the Rivers State Government against them respectively.
“We knew from day one that the charge of alleged false asset declaration against Saraki was a political vendetta plotted to shame and pull Saraki down. We never had doubt that the judiciary would vindicate him. Our only fear was the attacks and intimidation of judicial officers, by agents of this administration to force a miscarriage of justice.
“I think the President should have been courageous enough to ask the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) – that hijacked the job of the Code of Conduct Bureau and championed the persecution of Saraki – to apologize to him.
“To equate Saraki’s unjust trial to Buhari’s episodes of legal battle to prove that he was cheated during three presidential elections is to admit guilt. It is like ‘I went through hell and I also wanted you to go through hell to know how it feels.’
“I think that this type of mindset is sadistic and un-fatherly, if that was the thinking behind the statement issued on Saturday by Garba Shehu – Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity.
“I think the Justices of the Supreme Court and the Chairman and members of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), deserve the commendation of all Nigerians for seeing the case for what it was, and for their courage in preventing a calamitous injustice which was about to perpetrated against an innocent man.”