Before yesterday, the last time senate president Bukola Saraki was at the Code of Conduct Tribunal to answer to the allegations of false assets declaration against him, he was accompanied by 81 out of the 109 senators in the Upper chamber. Nigerians immediately condemned the action of the senators who abandoned the important duty of screening ministerial nominees to escort the senate president on his private journey to clear his name.
Former minister of education, Oby Ezekwesili, exchanged words with Saraki on Twitter, describing his action as the “privatisation” of the senate. He tried to defend himself by saying his trial was a witch-hunt but that didn’t explain why the senate had to be shut down.
It seems the pressure mounted on Saraki and the senators on October 21 yielded some fruits as the number of senators who escorted Saraki yesterday to the Code of Conduct Tribunal dropped from 81 to 30.
There were still several senators who joined Saraki on his voyage including Ike Ekweremadu, the deputy senate president; Ben Murray-Bruce; Shehu Sani; Dino Melaye; Tayo Alaodusora, amongst others. But the fact that the number dropped drastically could be because of the pressure from citizens. It could also be because Saraki has finally released the list of chairmen and deputies of senate committees and some senators feel disgruntled. We can’t say for sure.
Anyway, beyond the fact that the number of senators who attended the tribunal sitting reduced, there was still the issue of cancelling the senate plenary on Thursday because of the trial. The senate meets only thrice a week – Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays. But everytime Saraki has to be in court, they meet just two times.
Ezekwesili took to Twitter once again criticising Saraki for converting the Senate to a supporter’s club.
“Finally, Dr. Bukola Saraki, such selfish ‘pocketization’ of a public institution that you are perpetrating is never sustainable,” she said.
Describing his actions as selfish, Ezekwesili said “Selfishness is a vice and not a virtue because it disregards the good of the greater number. Selfishness is being concerned, sometimes excessively or exclusively, for oneself or one’s own advantage.”
The senate president didn’t respond this time. Let’s see how many senators join him on November 19,when his trial resumes. Hopefully, he would have gotten a new set of lawyers by then.