In a statement by his special adviser on media and public affairs, Yusuph Olaniyonu, Saraki said apart from seeking his replacement, his detractors have also intensified a campaign of calumny against him in the media while also seeking to blackmail key institutional actors involved in the trial.
The senate president accused online news media, Saharareporters and an unnamed newspaper in the country of being used by his enemies to hack him down from the exalted seat.
According to him, “the people behind these machinations believe they have to intensify these external, dirty campaigns against Saraki as they see that more and more Nigerians now understand that the trial is about who occupies the office of Senate President and not about any campaign against corruption.
The statement said: “Using the same scare-mongering methods that these devious forces have employed since the commencement of the case last September, they have employed an on-line medium known for its shady and unethical reputation, SaharaReporters and another national newspaper to peddle inaccurate information aimed at prejudicing the coming case and forcing the actors in the case to take certain predetermined decisions.
“In one of these desperate attempts, they have tried to set the tribunal members, prosecution and defence lawyers in the case against one another. Yet again, they have sought to intimidate journalists who they envisaged may be assigned to cover the case while also seeking to cause disaffection among loyalists of the Senate President.
“We will like to recall that this same group of people, using the same set of media and style, have last year successfully forced a Federal High Court judge to withdraw from the case filed by Dr, Saraki at the early stage of the Code of Conduct case.
“They also blackmailed the Court of Appeal to abruptly postpone its judgement some minutes to the period scheduled for the delivery of the judgement. Similarly, they have waged a war of attrition against Supreme Court Judges shortly before the delivery of the Apex Court’s judgement on the appeal filed by the Senate President on February 5.
“In this smear campaign, the anti-Saraki forces using their allies in the media have tended to rubbish reputations built by some individuals over several decades. One of such individual was the respected former Chief Justice of Nigeria, Alfa Modibo Belgore who they falsely accused of trying to bribe judges on behalf of Dr. Saraki when nothing like that ever happened.
“We therefore call on members of the public to disregard the antics of these desperate and devilish elements. We assure all Nigerians and other observers of the Nigerian situation to be rest assured that the Senate President is ready to have his day in court. His lawyers are ready to defend his right and prove his innocence.”