By Henry Umoru & Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–SENATE President,Bukola Saraki,Tuesday,reiterated that his trial by the Code of Conduct Tribunal,CCT,was being influenced by people outside the National Assembly who were not comfortable with his emergence as Senate President
But he said the ‘intruders’ were fighting a lost battle as they were not National Assembly members to effect their desired leadership in the Red Chamber.
This was even as he disclosed that the screening of the ministerial nominees being awaited by the Senate would not be business as usual,vowing that the exercise would be thoroughly carried out.
Speaking while welcoming senators back,after six weeks of recess, Saraki insisted that
his travails in the hands of the anti-graft agency were the handiwork of those he referred to as “powerful individuals outside” the legislature.
“I wish to reiterate my remarks before the Tribunal, that I have no iota of doubt that I am on trial today because I am the president of the Nigerian Senate, against the wishes of some powerful individuals outside this Chambers,”he said.
In an apparent reference to the outsiders,the Senate President said: “The laws of Nigeria does not give any consideration to any other forces outside the Senate in the election of its President.
“And to yield the ground on this note, is to be complicit in the subversion of democracy and its core principles of separation of powers as enshrined in our constitution.”
“This, in your wisdom, is what you have done by electing me to be the first among all of you who are my equals,”he told his colleagues.
He said the activities of the powerful individuals outside the legislature would not deter him,vowing that he would always defend the independence of the legislature.
He also noted that too many people have fought and died for the democracy being enjoyed in the country today,adding: “We would not be honouring them and their memories if we allow the sad chapters of our history to continue to repeat themselves like a bad curse.”
“As for me, I am prepared to do my duty in defence of our democracy and in safeguarding the independence of the National Assembly. My duty, as I see it, is to do justice and honour to the memory of those who have paid even higher prices to give us this democracy and this constitution.”
“Primarily as a senator of the Federal Republic and as Senate President, I owe it to this Senate to stand strong in the face of relentless persecution.
“I invite all of you to stand with me to defend this Senate and preserve its sanctity.