The immediate past deputy National Publicity Secretary of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Timi Frank, has described President Muhammadu Buhari’s comment on acquittance of Senate President, Bukola Saraki by the Supreme Court over alleged false declaration of assets as “hypocritical”.
Buhari, through his spokesperson, Garba Shehu, who reacted to Saraki’s acquittance a day after the apex court declared him innocent said the country’s judicial system, no matter the challenges it faces, is truly working and no one should be allowed to undermine or break it.
According to a statement signed by Shehu, Buhari said, “I have seen many instances where individuals and groups seek the destruction of the judicial institution in the foolish thinking of saving their skin, instead of going through the painstaking process of establishing their innocence.
“In the case of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, I have seen him take the tortuous path of using the judicial process. He persevered, and in the end, the highest court of the land, the Supreme Court, says he is not guilty as charged.
“This is what I have done in the three elections in which I was cheated out, before God made it possible for me to come here the fourth time I ran for the office.”
But reacting to Buhari’s comment on Sunday, in a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja, Frank carpeted the Nigerian leader, saying 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.
The APC Chief noted that Buhari should have demonstrated his faith in the judiciary by ensuring that all persons around him, who have been accused of corruption or indicted are also made to prove their innocence through the judicial process instead of shielding them from prosecution.
“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,” he said.
He, however, urged the President to take a bold step and apologize to President of the Senate.