By CALEB AYANSINA
ABUJA – TRANSITION Monitoring Group (TMG), Thursday, called on Nigerians to wave off sentiment regarding the trial of the incumbent Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki over corrupt charges leveled against him, saying ‘he should go and clear his name’.
TMG, a Coalition of Civil Groups, also called on President Muhammadu Buhari (PMB) and the Department of State Security, who is currently screening the list of ministerial nominees sent to it by the President, to be unbiased with the exercise.
Vanguard had earlier reported that the Code of Conduct Bureau, CCB, will today 18 September dock the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on a 13- count charge bordering on alleged corruption and false declaration of assets at the Code of Conduct Tribunal, CCT.
This came as the Economic & Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, is said to have concluded plans to also drag his wife, Toyin, to court over alleged complicity in shady contract deals during Saraki’s tenure as governor of Kwara State between 2003 and 2011.
Reacting to this in a press conference on the state of the nation, in Abuja, the Chairman of TMG, Com. Ibrahim Zikirullahi, said people should desist from politicizing issue, particularly as it relates to war against corruption.
According to him, “For us it is part of the fight against corruption, and for the very first time, the untouchable is being touched. It is when it happens to big one out there that you will begin to hear witch-hunt and all kind of stories. But what you should also note is that if there is no witch, there will be no hunter; so there was witch before hunting.
“It is left for Saraki to go to court and prove his innocence. So, that he is charged does not mean he is guilty of those offences. I believe it is a wakeup call, for people and politician to know that if this thing can happen to people up there, there is no hidden place for those at state and local levels.
“We should not also support to frustrate the process if those charges are actually correct. We should do everything to support the fight, because over time we seen that our judiciary has become cash and carry.”
The group insisted that those ministerial nominees with questionable character in the ongoing screening by the DSS should be dropped by the President without minding pressure from the political associate or the party.
Zikirullahi maintained that it would be better to stop the nominees with questionable character from becoming a minister now than fighting them for embezzling the money.
Quoting a leader of one of the anti-graft agencies, he said it is cheaper to prevent corruption from being committed than fighting it with huge resources, urging the President to focus on economic development.
“With the imminent appointment of his cabinet, TMG calls on President Buhari to give priority to the economy. We hope to see an economic advancement model that is not based on abstract statistics of jobless growth figures that do not reflect in any tangible way in the life of the ordinary Nigerian,” he said.
TMG lauded the President for his political will to implement Treasury Single Account (TSA), describing it as a watershed that would guarantee transparency in the management of the nation’s resources.