Senate President Bukola Saraki said yesterday that his trial on false assets declaration charges was politically motivated and had a “pre-determined” target. But President Buhari has said that is not the case.
In a statement on Saturday, one day after Saraki was acquitted on the 16-count charge brought against him, Buhari said Saraki’s perseverance through the various courts is a good example for Nigerians to emulate.
“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,” Buhari said.
The president hailed the judiciary, saying that despite the challenges it faces, it “is truly working and no one should be allowed to undermine or break it. 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.”
Buhari likened Saraki’s perseverance in court to his own election petition cases the three previous times he contested for president before 2015.
“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,” he said.
In his own reaction to his acquittal, Saraki said he has been vindicated by God.
“As I said in my first appearance at the CCT, this is a politically motivated case,” he said in a personally signed statement. “The case was trumped up in the first instance because of my emergence as the President of the Senate against the wishes of certain forces. Ordinarily, I doubt anyone would be interested in the asset declaration form I filled over 15 years ago.”