Bukola Saraki, the Senate President, has explained why he refused to resign when pressure was mounted on him at the height of the crisis that greeted his emergence in 2015 as the number one lawmaker in the 8th National Assembly.
He also expressed confidence to win the appeal filed against his recent victory at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) over false asset declaration charges.
Saraki, who addressed his supporters at the Ile Arugbo section of his Ilorin home, attributed his victory at CCT to God and the solid support of his followers and supporters.
“We thank God for today because when the entire travail started it was from this same place that we gathered and said we would come back on a day like this to do exactly what we are doing now. And I want to thank the Emir of Ilorin for staying very firm with us. He did it to the extent that even his colleagues across the country knew and at a point he said we would not beg again; that we would resort to prayers because we were innocent. You know he too has legal background, so he said we would focus on God.
“And for you women, I can’t thank you enough. When the matter started you were all confused and you did all within your power and means to help us. You did everything out of love, not out of politics.
“At the height of the travail, I called a cleric and he said the matter was for them, not even for me so they were indeed praying for us and I want to thank them too. We are in this position because God wants it so. When they asked me to resign, I said, why? We know how much we fought for this government to come into place. They are just fighting God; they are envious of what God is doing. That is why we will still come back to this same place on the remaining issues,” he said.
The Senate President, who danced to various songs from the women and youths who were the main target of the event, also hinted for the first time on roles played by individuals and groups, including the Emir of Ilorin, Ibrahim Sulu-Gambari and clerics, during his trial at the tribunal.
Earlier, the state chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC), Hon. Ishola Balogun-Fulani had described the appeal by the Federal Government as another level of witch-hunting the Senate President. Balogun-Fulani, who listed some prominent Nigerians who had faced similar charges and were acquitted like Saraki, wondered why the government did not appeal such decisions only to wake up to take such a step now. He described Saraki as a man who has brought more glamour and dignity to the post of the Senate President.
Both the women and youth leaders of the party expressed joy over the CCT decision and praised Saraki for not abandoning his constituency even at the height of his travail.
SIKIRAT SHEHU, Ilorin