A Senior Advocate of Nigeria, (SAN) and a fellow of the London Court of International Arbitration, Chief Adeniyi Micheal Akintola, has declared that Bukola Saraki is being persecuted at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) because of his emergence as the Senate President.
Chief Akintola, who made this declaration in Ilorin, the Kwara State capital, while answering questions from newsmen , said Dr Saraki was not being treated fairly.
The legal practitioner said the way his trial was going on was baffling most judicial officers in the country, more so that a precedence on such matters had earlier been set when it involved the former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
According to him, he was involved in the trial of Abubakar and Senator Tinubu when they were charged before the CCT on allegations of failure to declare their assets and the panel refused to sit when the members did not form a quorum.
“It is quite unfortunate that most of the time we play the ostrich in this country. It is like hiding your head in the sand and leaving your body outside and when it is convenient for us, we do certain things in our own way but when it affects our enemy, we do it the other way round. I am not holding brief for Senator Bukola Saraki, but I believe that what is being done to him is not fair because we cannot have two sets of laws.
I was the lead counsel to Atiku Abubakar before the Code of Conduct Tribunal. I led the team and when we disqualified a member of that panel, Professor Oluyode, the panel could not sit because they could not form a quorum. That was the case of Atiku Abubakar, and until they brought one M.A. Sanni (SAN) from Ilorin to join them, that panel could not sit.
I was in the legal team that defended Asiwaju Bola Tinubu before the code of conduct tribunal and the preliminary objection we raised was sustained but today, the legal profession is being media driven. There are too much sentiments going on out there. Like I do say, I’m not holding brief for Dr. Bukola Saraki but he is not being treated fairly because what is happening today is alien to our law,” Akintola declared
The Senior Advocate of Nigeria then expressed concern and surprise why the matter involving Saraki would be treated differently, stressing that the Nigerian judicial system is ‘justice according to law’ and not ‘justice according to sentiments’.
Chief Akintola added that there was no substitute to the rule of law as it was not possible to have separate laws for different people.
He also alleged that the media was currently influencing the legal profession, describing it as alien to the Nigerian judicial system.
Akintola disclosed that he was the first Nigerian lawyer that clipped the wing of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) when the court declared that the commission could only screen political party candidates and had no powers to disqualify.
He also criticized the award of the SAN title to some lawyers saying that it was now based on a quota system unlike in the past when it was purely on merit and said the malice in the Nigerian society had crept into the legal profession.