By; Bayo Akamo, Ibadan.
The National Legal Adviser of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Dr. Muiz Banire (SAN) has disclosed that the party is not ready to influence the ongoing trial of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and the recent Panama Paper issue
Speaking with journalists in Ibadan after presenting the Freedom of Information (FOI) and Whistleblower Bill to the Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Mr. Michael Adeyemo, Dr Banire said APC is determined to ensure that the rule of law prevail on the trial.
According to him, APC as a party cannot influence the decision of CCT over Saraki or any other court in favour of anybody, saying, Senator Saraki “is presumed innocent until he is proved otherwise by a competent court”.
“The strict position of APC is that the rule of law must prevail at all times, regardless of whose ox is gored. People expected APC, for instance, to influence the decision of the court on the governorship elections in Rivers State, Akwa Ibom States and other states. But, we said all those days are gone. Whatever the courts deem fit to decide, let them decide,” he said.
The APC National Legal Adviser pointed out that there was no way the party can interfere with the trial, saying, “We are not going to influence anything because we are suppose to be a government of change. If you want to effect change, all those little things matter a lot.”
He stressed that the question of whether Senator Saraki should step aside as the Senate President as being raised by some Nigerians was that of morality and not the law
“The issue of stepping down is a question of morality; it is not known to the law. By the constitution, the man is presumed innocent until finally convicted by a competent court. Pending that time, you can’t do anything about him. In terms of morality, of course, you can say he should step aside. It depends on the school of thought and which side of the divide you are.”
On the two bills, Dr Banire declared that a federal legislation does not have a nationwide application because it is in the residual list of the constitution, not an item under the exclusive legislative or concurrent list.
Speaker of Oyo State House of Assembly, Hon Michael Adeyemo while receiving the two bills on behalf of the lawmakers at their caucus meeting, promised that the House would give the bills the right of passage, adding that the state needs the laws to expose corruption, and protect whistleblowers.