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Thursday 24 September 2015

Senators Get $50,000 Sallah Gift to Impeach Senate president

Senate President to appear before Conduct Tribunal today
Says, I’m respecter of the law

A new dimension has been injected into the drama surrounding the trauma of the embattled Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki as senators opposed to his emergence as president have vowed to impeach the two-term governor of kwara State when they resume plenary at the end of their six weeks break.
A highly competent source told Nigerian Pilot that no fewer than 35 senators yesterday collected $50,000 each as Sallah gift ahead of resumption of business by the federal lawmakers next week.
According to one senator-beneficiary of the largesse, “they said the money was Sallah gift, but we know what they want. The motive is clear.”
Prodded to open up further on the matter, the senator said the motive for the gift “is to curry our support before we reconvene. They are not happy that Saraki wield so much influence here like when about 81 senators passed a vote of confidence on him. They want to reduce his influence on members ahead of resumption date.”
The lawmaker, who added that a senator from the Southwest and another from the Northwest were coordinating the sharing of the largesse, disclosed that most of the senators who collected the gift reported to the senate president. “But he told them to follow their conscience even if they are taking the gifts,” he added.
This medium further learnt that the sponsors of the gift may be working for the anti-Saraki group in the All Progressives Congress, APC, who still nurse angst against the emergence of Saraki as Senate President. Should the politician’s matter with the CCT fail, the sponsors of the largesse in the senate hoped to cut down on his support base so as to weaken it considerably ahead of any further action that may require voting against the interest of Saraki in the Senate.
“But we are not fools to swallow all that garbage hook, line and sinker. After all, the emergence of Saraki as Senate president was neater than that of former Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal in 2011,” retorted the senator who said he had collected his but will always stand by Saraki.
Meanwhile, Dr. Saraki has pledged to appear before the Code of Conduct Tribunal today, promising to observe the rule of law and the constitution in all his dealings at official and private engagements.
A statement by his spokesman, Yusuph Olaniyonu yesterday said that, “while the Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, had stated and maintained that he is ready to submit himself to due process of the law on any issue concerning him, he also believes that he has an inalienable right to resort to the same judiciary for protection when he feels his fundamental rights are about to be infringed upon.”
The statement further said that the Senate President is a law abiding citizen and his absence from tribunal was based on legal advice he received from his counsel that it is not necessary for him to appear before the tribunal at this stage since the jurisdiction of the tribunal and the process of initiating the matter are being challenged before the Federal High Court, Abuja.
“Following the adjournment for the determination of the motion on notice and the substantive suit before the Federal High Court to 30th of September and the appeal pending before the Court of Appeal adjourned to the 29th of September, 2015, the Senate President has decided, as a law abiding citizen, to appear before the Tribunal in the interim,” the press release also disclosed.
Saraki, it continued, has taken the decision to attend the Tribunal sitting to demonstrate his respect for the rule of law in spite of his personal reservation on the process of his trial and the purpose it may be intended to serve. The senate president therefore assured Nigerians of his absolute belief in the judicial process and is therefore confident that the course of justice would be served at the end of this matter.

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