Evelyn Okakwu:Premium Times
The Code of Conduct Tribunal on Wednesday dismissed an application filed by Senate President Bukola Saraki demanding the tribunal chairman, Danladi Umar, dismiss himself from the trial.
Mr. Saraki is facing trial on a 16-count charge of false asset declaration.The trial continued Wednesday, after it was adjourned in July following the annual vacation by workers in the judiciary.
Before the break, Mr. Saraki had through his counsel called for the resignation of Mr. Umar from the matter, alleging that the chairman was biased.Mr. Saraki alleged that comments from Mr. Umar suggested an obvious consequence on the outcome of the trial.The lawmaker’s counsel, Kanu Agabi, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, told the tribunal that his client was afraid of “final consequence” on the matter if Mr. Umar carried on with the trial.
In his ruling, however, Mr. Umar said the tribunal was the same as its chairman, hence he could not excuse himself from the matter.“The application to recuse myself has not been contemplated in the constitution. In the absence of a chairman, this trial cannot go on; therefore I cannot recuse myself.
“The chairman is the tribunal, without the chairman there is no tribunal.“The application of the applicant is founded on mere conjecture. The application of the applicant is not well-founded and is hereby dismissed.”
It is the second time the tribunal is dismissing an application from Mr. Saraki for the chairman to withdraw from the matter.
The tribunal had in April dismissed an application brought by Mr. Saraki requesting that Mr. Umar steps down following allegations of fraud levelled against him (Mr. Umar).But that application was dismissed for lacking in merit.