The trial of Bukola Mesujamba Saraki like Abiku – a Yoruba name for a child in unending cycle of births, deaths, and rebirths – died again last Friday when Danlami Umar the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) chairman acquiesced to the frivolous and illegal adjournment of the case. Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki trial will be born again this Friday and it will die the same day.
The news of the postponement of the trial came to Nigerians with a bewildering intensity. It was a frozen moment for justice in the land of injustice. Nigerians were ostensibly wrecked by anguish and shock by the continuous delay of the trial. At a time when corruption cases are metastasizing at epidemic rate, Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki's trial remains the jagged wound in the conscience of a nation known for its basement prices for justice for thieves in high places.
The one-man heist of the criminal justice system for 170 million people is hard to phantom. The pain and the melancholy caused by the postponement is a dagger that cuts through our collective civilization. The drama of the trial is a man-made catastrophe which will haunt oure nation forever. It's going to be Nigeria's trial of the century bought with power and money.
Based on the exceptional brilliant and vibrant investigative reporting done by SaharaReporters, below is the synopsis of how bribery and corruption purchased postponement of the trial and which may ultimately tilt the judgement in favor of Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki. The purchase was wholesale from Danlami Umar CCT chairman to Rotimi Jacobs the lead prosecutor, from Taiwo Abidogun solicitor-general and permanent secretary Ministry of Justice, to director of public prosecution Sa'idu Diri, and of course Justice Abdul Kafarati of Federal High Court, Abuja. The facts:
“Mr. Agabi's so called filing was illicitly handed to the tribunal judge, Danlami Umar, in Saudi Arabia where he had gone to observe the lesser hajj.”
Agabi had surreptitiously filed a motion at the Federal High Court in Abuja on the basis that Abiku Mesujamba's trial at the CCT amounted to a violation of his fundamental human rights.
Because Abiku Mesujamba Saraki had bought the judicial reporters each for N50,000 only, the clandestine filing of Agabi's motion at the Federal High Court in Abuja was hugely underreported.
Justice Abdul Kafarati of the Federal High Court Abuja where Agabi filed the motion, is “known in legal circles for being susceptible to high-level corruption.” Justice Kafarati, according to EFCC, has N2 billion in his account, money he claimed he made from farming. Kafarati will rule on Abiku Mesujamba's suit March 22, 2016.
Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki's strategy is capsuled in one word: delay, delay, delay! As long as the CCT chairman Umar, continues to grant extended delays, the favorable ruling of Justice Kafarati March 22 will lead to dismissal of the case.
Notice that each time the trial was postponed, the new trial date always fall on a Friday. It's a strategy to shield the senate thieves from being criticized and accused of wasting tax payers money for doing nothing other than accompany Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki to court in a convoy that mimics funeral procession.
Officials of the Federal Ministry of Justice have been bought by Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki. The solicitor-general of the Federation and permanent secretary Ministry of Justice Taiwo Abidogun, and the director of public prosecution Sa'idu Diri collaborated with Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki's lawyers to obtain a controversial adjournment by filling a motion challenging the jurisdiction of the CCT to try Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki.
Telephone conversations revealed that Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki and Abidogun discussed strategies how his corruption case would be thrown out. Two numbers were used by Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki – 0802-454-4666 and 0810-451-2566. Abidogun's number is 0803-316-4271.
Abidogun followed up on the strategy with Umar the CCT chairman on the motion filed by Agabi challenging the CCT jurisdiction had been filed and served on his tribunal. Also, Abidogun met with Jacobs the lead prosecutor and told him to “cooperate” emphasizing that the Ministry of Justice had decided to let Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki off the hook. Both Abidogun and Diri assured Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki that his case was as good as dead.
From these gory details to thwart the trial, one can safely conclude that Danlami Umar the chairman of the CCT is a corrupt judge. He's a corrupt judge because he refused to identify conflicts of interest and did not step aside from the case where his personal connections and bribery had caused him to give an unfair judgement. He provides advantages to Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki who has given him money while he disregards the rights of 170 million Nigerians who seek justice for acts of wrongdoing perpetrated against them by Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki.
The Supreme Court had cleared the way for the CCT to proceed with the trial. The Supreme Court is the highest tribunal in the nation for all cases and controversies arising under the Constitution or the laws of Nigeria. As the final arbiter of the law, the Supreme Court is charged with ensuring the Nigerian people the promise of equal justice under the law and, thereby, also functions as guardian and interpreter of the Constitution. When the Supreme Court rules on a constitutional issue, that judgement is final, its decisions can be altered only by constitutional amendment. In short, when the Supreme Court issues an opinion, it is binding on the litigants, is enforced by the government, and serves as precedent for future cases. It is the law of the land.
It is unconscionable therefore for Umar to have granted postponement. Is Umar telling us that the justice Karafati lower court is superior to the Supreme Court? If Umar had not been bought by Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki all he needed to do was to throw the Agabi application for postponement to his face and tell him point blank: “Mr. Agabi, I'm not here to entertain any foolery from you or from anybody. The issue of jurisdiction had been settled long time ago by the Supreme Court. I'm not granting any frivolous postponement. The case must proceed expeditiously. Period.” But because Agabi had met Umar in Saudi Arabia where the postponement purchased was sealed, Umar had to honor his own part of the contract.
With the revelations from SaharaReporters, Mr. Buhari must dismantle the justice ministry from top to bottom. The rotten vine – Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki has produced poisonous fruit, all nourished by it should be fired immediately. There can be no whitewash the adjournment granted by Umar. President Buhari must as a matter of urgency, fire Danlami Umar, Rotimi Jacobs, Abubakar Malami, and Mohammed Sa'idu Diri.
The trial of Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki has thrown the entire war on corruption into a state of disarray and immobility. It threatens Mr. Buhari's war on corruption with a state of judicial leaderlessness. The political and judicial melodrama of the trial had already hijacked the war on corruption. The trial had compromised and indeed immobilized the judicial processes. With the fearsome findings gushing out from the faucet of SaharaReporters, the trial must proceed in full speed without further delay.
The trial has been dramatic, chaotic, clumsy, baffling, and bungled. How can a thief of unsurpassed criminal record hold 170 million people and the government hostage? Are we saying Abiku Bukola Mesujamba Saraki is greater and powerful than 170 million people to make him answer for his crimes? Is Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki so indispensable to our democracy and the survival of Nigeria?
Obviously, the wider implications of the trial are above and beyond Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki. The trial has destroyed our judicial and criminal justice systems. It has invalidate the supremacy of the Supreme Court. It has enshrined corruption into the rulings and decisions of the Supreme Court. The legacy of the trial will leave us with a contempt for democratic politics. The legacy will starve, constrain, and distort governance and more importantly, produce contemptible judiciary and criminal justice system.
Nigerians are angry, perplexed, and disappointed by the extension of life arbitrarily granted to the trial by Umar. We have no more faith in civic virtue and politics of public interest. We believe it is futile to think and argue in good faith about something called the public interest. We believe our democracy means legitimization of corruption. In the process, we have lost a measure of our power to govern ourselves. That power has become very fragile at a time when corruption and economic inequality have rendered useless the institutions of democracy our only means for creating a more just society.
We know changes and reforms move at a glacial pace in Nigeria. It is unfair to our country and our people particularly the vulnerable poor to operate two criminal justice systems – one for the rich and one for the poor. Now that we all agree that our justice system is broken and backwards in many substantial ways, what's to be done? Mr. Buhari must move fast to end the judicial corruption by purging the judiciary of all undesirable judges, and other elements. He must speed up the reform of our justice system and restore our constitutional rights of due process and a fair trial.
Responding to the controversies surrounding the 2016 budget, Mr. Buhari said there are saboteurs in his government. In an interview with Al Jazeera he said there are some people in his government who are not “100% loyal” to his administration. Well then, to reclaim and resuscitate his war on corruption especially the litmus test of the war – Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki's case – Mr. Buhari must appoint an independent counsel to take over the case.
Independent counsel is an attorney appointed by the federal government to investigate and prosecute federal government officials. Independent counsel is a special attorney who investigates and prosecutes criminal activity in government. He holds people who make the laws like Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki and those who implement the laws accountable for their own criminal activity. Independent counsel does not answer to the government officials they are assigned to investigate and prosecute. Therefore, he avoids much of the conflict of interest displayed by Umar, Jacobs, Malami, Abidogun, and Diri.
The hands of the CCT chairman Umar and the lead prosecutor Jacobs, are stained with blood money from Bukola Abiku Mesujamba Saraki. They are motivated by prejudice and bias of personal and professional relationships with Agabi. They are not fit, qualified, and neutral to handle the trial on behalf of 170 million people of Nigeria. They have to go. In addition from being fired, they too must be prosecuted for corruption.
Mr. President, Umar, Jacobs, Malami, Abidogun, Diri, Kafarati, and Mesujamba Saraki are the saboteurs you spoke about. Get rid rid of them – fast!