USAfrica: Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki is not above the law. By Elsie-Bernadette Onubogu

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Bukola Saraki

Nigeria’s Senate President Bukola Saraki is not above the law.

By Elsie-Bernadette Onubogu, an International Consultant, former Senior Policy Adviser with the United Nations and contributing editor of USAfricaonline.com

Special to USAfricaonline.com,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247

 

As stipulated in the laws regarding all the citizens of Nigeria and dispensing justice, with due respect to his position as Nigeria’s Senate President, Bukola Abubakar Saraki, is not above the Law, This is the tenet on which the ‘Rule of Law’ hinges.

As the head of the Senate (the Upper House of the Legislature within a Presidential system), charged among others with legislative powers including the power to prosecute corrupt executive and other persons, Bukola Saraki, must himself be ‘incorruptible’.  After all, ‘He who goes to Equity, must come with clean hands”.

Not forgetting pundits who espouse the view that this is a mere witch-hunt, allegedly, by Bola Tinubu and President Buhari for Bukola Saraki’s controversial role in ascending the leadership of the Senate.

Conversely, assuming this was a witch-hunt as theorized by those sympathetic to Saraki’s predicament, perhaps, they should also consider that this might well be a reflection of Buhari’s impartiality, i.e., a president who will not stand in the way of prosecution of any guilty Nigerian irrespective of party or ethnic affiliation.

In fact,  in this time of ‘change’, Saraki did what any law abiding citizen of Nigeria should do by  appearing (a few hours ago today September 22, 2015) before the Code of Conduct Tribunal holding at Abuja to reassert his “innocence” and save the Nigerian Justice system and the country’s leadership from further embarrassment.

Saraki, as the ‘presumed powerful’ number three (3) leader within Nigeria’s democratic dispensation fabricated under the rule of law, must lead by the power of his example.  To do otherwise, especially after his unsuccessful last minute moves through the courts to block his appearing at the tribunal, would merely make a mockery of our justice system and reaffirm to the average Nigerian and the world, that, in Nigeria, Lady Justice is partially blind – and at best, she delivers selective justice.

Since the assumption of office by President Muhammad Buhari {PMB} and his ruling party – the APC on May 29, 2015, Nigerians like myself, have observed, often, with amusement, and at other times, with sheer shock at some of the happenings in the Nigerian polity.   From the not-so-famous Senate and House leadership saga to the initial appointments by PMB which was overwhelming in its ‘northern’ picks;  with charges snd cries of marginalization dominating Nigerian and international media.

In all of these happenings, one undeniable point of convergence has been the demand from well meaning Nigerians (irrespective of ethnic, gender, religious or political affiliation) for good governance epitomized by transformative leadership, accountability, transparency and equal treatment before the Law.  

As the party that ran on the ‘change’ slogan, it appears President Muhammad Buhari along with his Vice President Mr. Yemi Osinbajo in declaring their assets, (whether verified or not at this point), are poised to: ‘LEAD BY THE POWER OF THEIR EXAMPLE, AND NOT BY THE EXAMPLE OF THEIR POWER’.  This is transformative leadership.  It is the kind of leadership that Nigeria truly deserves and should get after 55 years of misrule, mal-development, self-centeredness, of course the big monsters – corruption and ‘absolute power’ that has sullied most Nigerian public leaders since 1960.

It was such leadership that prompted former President Bill Clinton to appear before Ken Starr’s panel to answer to the Monica Lewinsky’s allegations.  It is leadership by the power of example and reconfirmation that no person is above the law, not even the US President.

Elsie Onubogu
Elsie Onubogu

Consequently, there can be no greater indication and proof of transparency, respect for the rule of law in Nigeria than leading by the ‘power of example than the example of power’.  This point was reaffirmed by president Bill Clinton during his introduction of President Barack Obama at the 2008 Democratic National Convention in Denver – Colorado, when he said, “People around the world have been more impressed by the power of the US example, rather than by the example of US power”.

Apropos, as I stated here at  USAfricaonline.com on September 20, two days before the Nigerian Senate President Mr. Olubukola Saraki was legally compelled to appear before a legally constituted tribunal on allegations of corruption.  

Saraki’s initial and apparent unwillingness to appear before the CCT, opened, at least, four scenarios playing out here.

First, not to appear before the tribunal will amount to disrespect of the ‘rule of law’.  To do so, will not only mean a ridiculing of the tenets of democracy and governance, but, indeed, a travesty of justice.  This is particularly so because the office he Bukola Saraki occupies is charged with the responsibility to legislate laws for all — including himself.    

Second, to block his appearance before the tribunal by seeking an injunction at the Court of Appeal smirked of what our ‘good old writer’ James Hadley Chase cautioned in his novel, “The Guilty Are Afraid”.   At this point, Mr. Bukola Saraki is not guilty and thus, must not be afraid to come before the Law.  This writer and other well meaning Nigerians must as of right, give Bukola Saraki his innocence until his day in court.  This is simply because, ours, is a criminal justice system that adjudges everyone innocent until proven guilty, thus, not accusatorial.  As Nigerians, we must also live by this example and hold Saraki not guilty until proven so.

Thirdly, to attempt to justify his demand for an injunction and subsequent non-appearance by the opinion (as expressed by some) that he has no faith in our justice system, will expose Bukola Saraki’s vulnerabilities even beyond his counsel, Mr. Joseph B. Daudu (SAN), a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association president, who is acting on his behalf in the appeal, as well as the fact that Mr. Saraki, former Governor of Kwara State, has been part of the leadership of the Nigerian polity long before now.  

One would therefore query, what has he done to change such a system fraught with difficulties if real?  In addition, if he Bukola, who could afford the services of a Senior Advocate of Nigeria {SAN}, is proceeding with such apprehension and fear, what about an average Nigerian who cannot afford such representation before the Law?  

If Saraki successfully blocked his appearance through appellate injunction, it would only lend credence to the ‘cliché’ that ‘justice can be bought or delayed’ by those who can afford it.  Indeed, reasserting the claim that some people are above the law, hence the epithet, the ‘Law’ is an ‘ass’.  

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@Chido247 


Boko Haram: SkyNews London interview wt USAfrica Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on BOKO HARAM vs BUHARI (Nigeria’s President inaugurated May 29, 2015). Interview on May 30 (Houston) May 31 (London) 2015

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VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public POLICY networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENT BILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia 
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

  Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (GOVERNANCESECURITY, and PEACE in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown UNIVERSITY in Rhode Island and former ADVISER on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans.   E-MAIL: Chido247@Gmail.com

 

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  2. Nobody said so and this is not the issue.The issue is political witch hunting in the name of fighting corruption in Buhari’s way-in perceived political enemies real and imagined.

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