The trial against Senate President Bukola Saraki began at the Code of Conduct Tribunal in Abuja on Tuesday. Legal proceedings against the embattled Senate President have resumed following numerous rulings against him at both the Court of Appeal and the Supreme Court of Nigeria.
As the trial commenced, SaharaReporters conducted a Twitter poll asking Nigerians whether or not Mr. Saraki should resign.
An overwhelming 74 percent said the Senate President should step down, while only 12 percent said he should not. Another 14 percent said they did not care. Over 3000 Twitter users participated in the poll.
Mr. Saraki’s social media woes did not stop there. In a questionable move, the Senate President made posts on his Facebook and Twitter pages saying he was “happy that the trial has commenced.”
The posts elicited hundreds of negative responses from Nigerian social media users.
Many pointed out that if Mr. Saraki were truly “happy” about the trial beginning, he wouldn't have gone through so much effort to stall it.
“So you take us for fools. You are glad for a trial you frustrated for 8 months? A trial you challenged even after the Supreme Court deemed it valid? A trial you wanted “deferred” earlier today? I pray that you get convicted, lose your Senate seat, and get prosecuted by the EFCC,” Nura Alkali said on Facebook.
Tahir Abubakar challenged the Senate President, “Oh really? If you had wanted the trial to commence, why have you been running from it for the past six months?”
Other users alluded to the Panama Papers and the resignation of Icelandic Prime Minister Sigmundur Gunnlaugsson, saying that the Nigerian Senate President could be the leak’s next victim.
“My friend, please resign honorably. I saw you as a respected gentleman until Panama released the names of global thieves of which you are among,” said Alloysius Phayrouz Chukwu on Facebook.
Jakada Awwal Abba said, “The Prime Minister of Iceland, S. Gunnlaugsson, has resigned from public office over the Panama Papers leak. Meanwhile, Senate President Bukola Saraki, who has equally been linked to the Panama Papers, has not resigned, despite his ongoing trial at the Code of Conduct Tribunal for corruption.”
Some users said that they had been supporters of Mr. Saraki, but his efforts to adjourn the trial made them reevaluate their views.
“I am a big supporter of you, but the moment you started coming up with different means to stall the trial, I started thinking you had things to hide. If you are innocent of these charges, face it and let the judiciary rule so that we can all move on as a country,” Obe Lateef Oluwaseun posted.
At the time of reporting, the trial is being delayed until April 18 due to an electrical problem at the courthouse in Abuja.
Other Facebook users posted the following reactions: