Complete text of a statement released by Deputy Senate President Ike Ekwerremadu following his arraignment alongside Senate President Bukola Saraki and two others at an Abuja high Court on allegation of forgery of the 2015 Senate rules.
DEMOCRACY ON TRIAL
I presented myself to the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) High Court today as an ordinary citizen of this great nation to plead NOT GUILTY to charges I did not and could not have committed.
It is deeply troubling to note that people in high places who swore to uphold the law have dwindled into purveyors of falsehood and rumours who seek to smear and tarnish the reputation of law abiding and responsible citizens as well as cripple the hallowed institutions of democracy. It is all the more disheartening that people who should know better use the colour of their office to pursue private vendetta against people they disagree with.
This grotesque display of vindictiveness, arrogance, and mindless targeting of innocent citizens should find no sanctuary in our democracy. Using the machinery of justice to create disorder is a dangerous and invidious scheme that ultimately will lead Nigeria down the road to perdition. It is Senator Bukola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu today, who knows whose turn it will be next?
I am a law-abiding citizen and believe in the rule of law and all the rights and privileges it advertises. But, even at that, it is only in my place not to commit crime, but way out of my reach not to be accused of one, especially when instruments of power become apparatuses for oppression of the innocent and voices of opposition.
Indeed, I, in no way or fashion, claim to be above the law, just that I believe that the law should not be used as an instrument to bludgeon innocent citizens into submitting to the untamed wishes and caprices of witch-hunters.
However, I put my trust in God, the court, and the overwhelming solidarity of the good people of Nigeria. When the dust settles, Nigerians will see clearly that this charge is nothing but meretricious thrash. Time, occasions, and provocations like this will teach their own lessons. I hope that one chief lesson will be that democracy differs markedly from military rule and that public officer should never subvert the foundations of democracy by prioritizing the rule of man over the rule of law.
Let us make no mistake about this: it is not Senator Ike Ekweremadu or Senator Bukola Saraki or the other accused persons that are on trial; rather the hallowed democratic principles of separation of powers, rule of law, the legislature itself, and indeed democracy are on a ridiculous trial.
Mere anarchy is unleashed upon the land, but our courage must not fall apart. No condition is permanent and nothing lasts forever.
For me, I find great comfort in the immortal words of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe who said that history will vindicate the just and the wicked will not go unpunished.
SENATOR IKE EKWEREMADU, PhD, CFR
Deputy President of the Senate