Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, 2019 presidential candidate, on Tuesday declared that there is nothing wrong with the EFCC prosecuting the immediate past Senate President, Bukola Saraki for alleged corruption but warned that this must not be done as a persecution.
Atiku pointed out that Saraki, who led his 2019 presidential campaign, is one of the most investigated politicians in Nigeria, who has been investigated and prosecuted all the way to the Supreme Court without being found guilty.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, recently disclosed it was investigating Saraki’s stewardship during his period as the governor of Kwara State and the Senate President.
“Let it be stated in unequivocal terms that the investigation of Saraki’s stewardship, whether as a former Senate President or as a former governor of Kwara State, has absolutely nothing to do with the non-confirmation of Mr. Ibrahim Magu as the substantive Chairman of the EFCC,” the Commission had said in a statement.
However, the former Vice President observed that the current probe of Saraki “tends towards persecution.”
In a post on his Facebook wall, Atiku wrote: “Ordinarily, there is nothing wrong in prosecuting immediate past Senate President, @bukolasaraki. He, himself, has indicated his preparedness to have his day in court. We, however, hope that he will indeed be PROSECUTED and not PERSECUTED.
“I stand against corruption in government, which was why my office personally facilitated the take-off of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission with a loan, after that most important anti-corruption institution was founded by then President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“However, there is a huge difference between prosecution and persecution. I am all for prosecuting the corrupt, but I believe it is wrong to use the instruments of state to persecute political opponents.
“Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, the immediate past Senate President, is one of the most investigated politicians in Nigeria. He has been investigated and prosecuted all the way to the Supreme Court and has prevailed against his accusers. It was expected that that should have been the end of the matter.
“However, the revival of previously investigated cases, and the fact that Dr. Saraki was politically opposed to the administration of General Muhammadu Buhari seems to give strong grounds for objective bystanders to conclude that his current travails have gone beyond prosecution and are now tending towards prosecution.
“The laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are made for all and we fought for democracy so that the powers of the state would not be used to suborn tyranny and oppression.
“In the instance, I urge Dr. Bukola Saraki to stand firm and take solace in the fact Nigerians still hold the constitution higher than any other authority.
“I urge all Nigerians, and especially those tasked with upholding the constitution and the laws of the land, to note that silence in the face of oppression is akin to acquiescence. I, Atiku Abubakar, will always stand up for the constitution and Nigeria.”
By Seun Opejobi