No fewer than 19 registered political parties, on Wednesday, called on the Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT), Danladi Umar, to step down from the trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki, stating that there is the possibility that justice may not be done if Umar continues to sit as chairman.
The parties, at a press briefing in Abuja described as suspicious the “clearance” letter given to Umar by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) over the allegations of bribery leveled against him.
They therefore, advised the CCT chairman to excuse himself from the trial while a neutral person takes over.
Speaking to newsmen on behalf of the other political parties, the National Chairman of the LP, Abdulkadir Abdulsalam said the briefing became necessary due to the current happenings within the country.
Abdulsalam said that the coalition of opposition parties strongly believe that the ongoing trial of Saraki at the CCT has serious implications for the survival of democracy and the current administration’s stand against corruption.
“We want to put it on record that we are solidly behind President Muhammadu Buhari’s fight against corruption; a fight that we believe is crucial to the survival of our country.
“We however wish to note that this is not the first time that a President of this country would be declaring a war against corruption.
“In fact, the reason corruption is still a primary issue for the Buhari administration is that previous attempts have not been as successful as they should be.
“We also believe that he must avail himself of the opportunities available to him in our laws, regardless of the conspiracies he may have suspected.
“The manner that Saraki’s trial has proceeded at the Code of Conduct Tribunal give us serious reasons to be concerned that there is the real possibility that justice may not be done.
“The Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar has failed to demonstrate a dispassion that is required of anyone sitting in judgment over others. In fact, he has behaved more like a member of the prosecution team than an impartial arbiter interested only in ensuring that justice is done.
“We observe however that the preponderance of evidence that has been deployed so far against Dr. Saraki, including the Principal Prosecution Witness in the matter, were supplied by the EFCC.
“What that means is that the Chairman of the Tribunal, Mr. Danladi Umar, is not only beholden to, but also under the control of the prosecution. Invariably, since Mr. Danladi Umar has the prosecutors’ axe dangling on his neck, his ability to do justice to the defendant would be naturally impaired.”