Dele Momodu’s letter and Bukola Saraki’s reply: Should they be taken seriously?

The Nigerian Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has responded to Dele Momodu’s “candid letter.” Earlier, Momodu, who was once a presidential aspirant published a letter in the newspapers asking Saraki (who is being arraigned at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) to take “courage, stand like a man and carry [his] heavy cross.” After a bit of self-praise and some of Saraki’s ‘good works,’ Momodu finally reached the core of his argument. He asked that though Saraki “probably underestimated the resolve of [his] enemies to cut [him] down to size;” his co-nation builder should accept the rule of the law and whatever the outcome is.

“The Judiciary is still the best arbiter and if you’re truly innocent, you will be vindicated but if you are found guilty after exhausting all legal options available in the land you must take a bow and accept the judgment with equanimity. Even if the APC decides to sweep this under the carpet, someone may still bring it up tomorrow. It is in your best interest to face the bullet and hope for a miracle.” Momodu advised. Between singing Saraki’s praise, however, Momodu raised some important questions and in response to Momodu, who was referred to as “My dear brother,” Bukola Saraki wrote an epistle which seems to cast him as an innocent person thrown into the den of lions. Below are excerpts from his letter:

On his ‘deal’ with PDP

Dele Momodu, in his letter wrote that – “one of the rumours, then, was that you could not be trusted with power and that in the next four years you would have become unstoppable if you decide to go headlong for the Presidency. I’m not a member of your party so I could not understand what the hullabaloo was all about. The manner you emerged caught everyone unawares. The biggest problem was the fact that you sought and got the unequivocal support of members of the PDP in the Senate and even did a deal that made it possible for one of them to become your deputy. That was the hara-kiri you committed and your enemies would never forgive you for that.”

Bukola Saraki: “I did not do any deal with the PDP. I did not have to because even before the PDP Senators as a group took the decision to support my candidature on the eve of the inauguration of the 8th Senate, 22 PDP Senators had already written a letter supporting me.

I believe those that made it possible for PDP to claim the DSP position were those who decided to hold a meeting with APC senators elsewhere at the time they ought to be in the chambers. What the PDP Senators did was to take advantage of their numerical strength at the material time.”

Saraki’s faith in the Nigerian judiciary and the corrupt process of fighting corruption.

In response to Dele Momodu’s comment about the Nigeria judiciary, stating that “the Judiciary is still the best arbiter, I’m not one of those who have written off the Nigerian judiciary.”
Saraki responded by saying, “I have an abiding faith in the judiciary. May God forbid the day that we would give up on our judicial system. Some people have wondered, why has Saraki been “jumping” from one court to another instead of facing his trial? To those people, I would say that I have only gone to those courts in search of justice.”

Still, he lamented about the process of fighting corruption which according to him is corrupt. He noted some discrepancies within the CCT, where he is being tried. Despite this though, he claims that he is “hopeful. Why? Because the judiciary does not end with this Tribunal [the CCT].”

Going to the Tribunal with senators.

From the onset of Saraki’s trials, Nigerian Senators have been criticised for following their leader to court instead of focusing on their senatorial duties but, the Senate President has come to their defence.

“The Senators have freely accompanied me to the Tribunal not because they are loyal to me as Abubakar Bukola Saraki, but because they are committed to the principle that produced me as the President of the Senate. They see all of us in the Senate leadership as manifestation of their jealously guarded right to freely choose their own leaders. Because they know they made us their leaders without any external interference, they are confident that they retain the power to remove us whenever they so wish. They also know what this trial is all about. They believe I am being victimised because they have expressed their right to choose their own leadership. This is why I am not in any way perturbed by my absence in the chambers during this trial. Because I was not imposed on the Senate, I feel confident that the Senate will protect its own choice whether I am present or not.”

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