The Chairman of the Code of Conduct Tribunal, Danladi Umar, has spoken of the “serious influence” the tribunal came under during the trial of a former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu.
He spoke shortly after the trial of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, resumed Tuesday.
Mr. Umar said the tribunal was under immense pressure, but it “did what it had to do”.
“We must be fair to ourselves, because we will be accountable to Allah,” Mr. Umar said. “I want to say that during the case of Bola Tinubu, we were under serious influence so we did what we had to do.”
He did not clarify whether the pressure came from Mr. Tinubu, to quash the false assets declaration case against him in 2011, or from the government seeking to nail the then opposition leader.
Mr. Tinubu, now a senior leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, was later acquitted.
Mr. Umar spoke about the case while trying to explain his fairness in the ongoing trial of Mr. Saraki.
He pleaded with the defence team for a better sense of urgency in making its case, saying the cross-examination of prosecution witness as dragging for too long.
“We must be fair to ourselves so we don’t unduly delay this case. The bench is begging the bar, allowing everyone conduct cross-examination will make our records untidy, please let’s make progress.”
Paul Usoro, counsel to Mr. Saraki, and Michael Wetkas, a defence witness, have been locked in heated argument over alleged discrepancies in the evidences submitted to the tribunal by Mr. Wetkas.
Follow the trial live from the courtroom with PREMIUM TIMES’ live updates here.