Thursday, November 5, will be remembered in years to come, as the day Bukola Saraki’s lawyers walked out on the Code of Conduct Tribunal.
Whether it was staged or an impulsive/principle-based decision, it may never be known.
The lawyers of the Senate President, evidently displeased with the tribunal’s ruling that the trial should proceed, in spite of the appeal at the Supreme Court, simply asked to be excused.
Before walking out, one of the lead lawyers, Ahmed Raji, had said:
“In my capacity as a Senior Advocate of Nigeria, I have not seen where this kind of conduct will be exhibited against the apex court of the country and I don’t want references to be made in future that I was part of such proceeding. I find it most impossible to sit down here and participate in a proceeding whose legality is being challenged at the Supreme Court. We are asking for the indulgence of your lordships to leave.”
Justice Danladi Umar of the CCT, responded affirmatively to his request, saying: “You are all free to go.”
After his lawyers had left, Saraki, who was in the dock, begged the court to grant him more time, to get his house in order.
“Mr. Chairman, I find myself in a new terrain. Firstly is the fact that my lawyers walked out on me. I need time to go and beg them to come back and in any event that they refuse, I need to look for best hands to defend me. I need to ask them why they did what they did today (yesterday). If they refuse to come back I will then know where to go from there.”
Saraki also pleaded with the tribunal to adjourn the trial for one month to enable him make consultations and possibly take steps to getting legal services.
Justice Umar, however, declined to grant one month adjournment, opting to put the case forward till November 19 for hearing.