Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

Nnamdi Ebo | NewsBlog

In my NewsBlog Nnamdi Ebo, I provide perspectives on news, events and analysis of unique stories, and I also offer original content, articles and photos; with contributions from some of the best minds.

 

May Be Saraki Should Resign

Resignation has become inevitable due to the prevailing circumstances – the looming desecration of the institution of the Nigerian Senate and National Assembly . . .

Resignation is the formal act or personal decision of giving up or quitting one’s office or position, though outside pressure exists in many cases. In this case, resignation has become inevitable due to the prevailing circumstances – the looming desecration of the institution of the Senate Presidency. This is not a call for the resignation of Bukola Saraki, per se. Saraki is just the occupier or mantle-holder. This is a cry for Senate President Bukola Saraki to save the first tier of government – according to the 1999 Constitution (as amended); the upper chamber of the legislature; one-half lawmaking institution; the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria – from opprobrium and derogation.

CCT Courtroom . Saraki trial

Photo: The Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) courtroom | Trial courtroom of Nigeria’s Senate President

A soldier cannot “resign” while in a war zone just because he feels like it. Saraki cannot “resign” while in a war zone because he feels like it. However, Saraki’s feelings are not required in this kind of war. Saraki cannot be allowed to soldier on because he feels like it. A Nigerian soldier fights to safeguard Nigeria. Saraki is fighting to safeguard himself, not the Nigerian Senate. There is a time to fight and a time to retreat. I doubt whether the Federal government will retreat from Sarakigate. In a 2014 American movie, “Resignation”, starring Victor Browne, a disillusioned combat photojournalist was confronted with a curious, super-heroic past; he must face a dilemma that runs deeper than he cares to admit.

Saraki . In the Accused Box 2

Photo 1: Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki, docked | In the “Accused Box”

Saraki failed to stop his trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT). His CCT trial is to begin March 10, 2016 on 13-counts of false assets declaration. This followed a letter written on behalf of the Federal Government by the lead prosecuting counsel, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), intimating the tribunal of the recent judgment of the Supreme Court validating the trial. Jacobs sent the letter with a copy of the Supreme Court judgment attached to it to the Danladi Umar-led CCT. There is the perception that Sa­raki’s trial is a “ploy” to hound him out of the seat of the Senate Presi­dent which he occupies against the APC directive and preference for Sen. Ahmed Lawan. That may be so but the issue here is that the so-called ploy has reached the zenith of judicial power, the Supreme Court. The new ploy now has a life of its own in spite of the old “ploy”.

Saraki . In the Accused Box 3

Photo 2: Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki, docked | In the “Accused Box”

In law: ‘Nul­lum tempus non ocurit regi’ and a proverb: ‘Tempus fugit’ – which means “time does not run against the crown (government)” and “time waits for nobody” respectively. There is a haunt from the past which may be detrimental to the Nigerian legislative arm of government. The law says that Saraki has the right to be presumed innocent until proven guilty. Does Saraki have enough factual defense to avoid conviction? Sen. Kabiru Marafa may be partisan but he said that while the trial continues, Saraki should save the image of the National Assembly by resigning. I agree. Countering, Sen. Dino Melaye said Saraki should not resign. Advice, such as the one from the latter senator is akin to a support-group-syndrome fraught with likely disastrous consequences for the first tier of government. Saraki should “honourably” resign to save the image of the National Assembly and salvage national pride, which is what is at stake.

Saraki . in the Accused Box

Photo 3: Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki, docked | In the “Accused Box”

It is pertinent to list out a few notable resignations to buttress my point that Saraki may have to resign. It is not a disgraceful act but an honorable one sorely lacking in Nigeria:  A papal renunciation occurs when the reigning Roman Catholic pope voluntarily resigns. Any pope’s reign is from election until death, so papal resignation is uncommon. Before the 21st century, five popes resigned with historical certainty, all between the 10th and 15th centuries. Some popes during the ‘saeculum obscurum’ were “deposed,” meaning: driven from office by force.

Rchard Nixon . Leaves White House after his Resignation. 1974

Photo: U.S. President Richard Nixon leaves the White House in Marine One after his resignation | 1974

President Richard Nixon resigned in 1974 following the Watergate scandal, when he was certain the U.S. Congress had enough votes to impeach him. In 1973, U.S. Vice President Spiro Agnew resigned over allegations of financial irregularities. In 1995, British Prime Minister John Major resigned as Leader of the Conservative Party. In 1986, Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos resigned after rigging elections. In 1990 British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher resigned. In 2014, two female ministers, Japan’s Trade and Industry Minister Yuko Obuchi and Justice Minister Midori Matsushima resigned amid allegations of financial impropriety.

Saraki . President of the Senate

Photo: Dr. Bukola Saraki, President of the Senate, Federal Republic of Nigeria

Resignation will be an opportunity for Saraki to deliver a valedictory resignation speech in which he can elucidate the circumstances of his exit from office. This can be used to great political effect. Resignation can be used as a political maneuver, as in the Philippines in July 2005, when ten cabinet officials resigned en masse to pressure President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo to follow suit over allegations of electoral fraud. U.S. President George W. Bush’s refusal of Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld’s twice-offered resignation during the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal is noteworthy. I doubt whether ordinary Nigerians will refuse Saraki’s resignation. It will be the most honorable thing for him to do before “Alea iacta est” (“The die is cast”). The continuous sight of Nigeria’s number three citizen sitting in the “Accused Box” of a courtroom, looking helpless and listless is utter desecration of the National Assembly.

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By Nnamdi Ebo | Political scientist | Legal scholar | ThisDay contributor | Online newspaper publisher | Blogger | Social analyst