Editor’s note: Harold Adebola Smith comments on the notorious trial against Bukola Saraki, the incumbent president of the Senate of Nigeria, which resumed work on Thursday, November 5, 2015.
What a disgrace!
The drama displayed at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) on Thursday, November 5 is another embarrassment to the Nigerian judicial system. Court sessions have always been an intellectual battlefield for legal practitioners, but it never seemed to turn out the way when decorum is discarded, and rascality usurp the legal stage. The manner in which cases are argued in courts of all jurisdictions makes the legal profession a super-endearing one among others.
It is disheartening to note that we have found ourselves in a situation when citizens can no longer distinguish between true advocates of justice and judicial exploiters!
I should probably mention that the CCT postponed the trial of the Senate president; it awaited the decision of the Court of Appeal, which on October 30, 2015 affirmed the jurisdiction of the Code of Conduct Tribunal to try Senator Saraki. Before the tribunal resumed its work on Thursday, November 5, Saraki had already filed another application, urging the Supreme Court to halt the proceedings of the CCT and annul the desicion of the Court of Appeal.
In a situation when Saraki had, before the Supreme Court, challenged the affirmation of the CCT proceedings by the Court of Appeal, relying strongly on the argument that the CCT sat with only two members instead of three in contravention of the provision of Paragraph 15 (1) of the Fifth Schedule of the Nigerian Constitution, one would expect that the CCT would accord the Supreme Court similar honour on the case it accorded the Court of Appeal.
Surprisingly, on Thursday the Umar Danladi-led tribunal refused to embrace neither any antecedent nor tradition as the tribunal insisted that the trial must continue regardless of the appeal to the Supreme Court. This blatant contradiction can never be considered unbiased; morover, Saraki’s legal team received validation from the prosecution lawyer, Rotimi Jacobs (SAN), who said: “They have rights to do what they did.”
With a sincere appraisal of how Justice Danladi appeared desperate and opinionated on Saraki’s trial from the very beginning, plus how the initial Court of Appeal judgement was allegedly arrested on October 19 before the eventual pronouncement on October 30, there is no atom of doubt that Saraki has fallen a victim of the dubious process of justice. With the way things are going on, it does not look like the presumption of innocence is still welcomed in the CCT-Saraki scenario.
You may read the article in its entirety on The Herald.
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