This is a right of reply from Zakari Mohammad, in response to a SaharaReporters investigation which revealed he orchestrated a power outage to delay Senate President Bukola Saraki's corruption tribunal. SaharaReporters stands by its report that Mr. Mohammad was behind the power outage.
Mr. Mohammad's reply is below:
I have read a story in Saharareporters which insinuated that I was behind outage last Wednesday at the sitting of the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) during the ongoing trial of the President of the Senate, His Excellency, Dr. Bukola Saraki.
The said publication was not only false but an outright balderdash, sheer rubbish and a deliberate attempt to use this medium to tarnish my hard-earned reputation. The so-called stage-managed and politically-moreport was designed to hoodwink unsuspecting public to believe that I am a violent political office holder.
To set the records straight, I had no hands in the outage at the CCT Tribunal. I have no relationship with any staff or technicians at the tribunal which would have made me to influence the outage.
I also do not work with or own shares in Abuja Electricity Distribution Company to have wielded contacts to disrupt power supply to the tribunal. I have never met with technicians in charge of the alternative source of power for the tribunal.
In the jaundiced story, which was branded as an exclusive copy, no attempt was made to speak with the management of the tribunal on what led to the outage. Other than a curious security source, there was no fact to substantiate the so-called scoop which by all-intent was meant to achieve a predetermined agenda.
In defiance of the ethics of journalism, I was not contacted by the publisher of Saharareporters for my own side of the story. I am the most accessible member of the House of Assembly. As a journalist and the former chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Media and Publicity, I obliged the press unfettered access to information. Saharareporters chose to give me a blackout to destroy my person for a purpose.
It was true that I attended the court session like other members of the National Assembly. We all experienced the outage at the sitting and bore the heat like everyone. It sounds absurd that I will sponsor outage to cause discomfort for myself and others.
Erratic power supply is not peculiar to any household or institution. It is a national problem which needs the collective efforts of all and sundry to solve.
There is no nexus between outage and Justice being dispensed by the tribunal. Whether there is outage or not, the trial has started in full swing and Saraki has never boycotted any sitting. The ACJ Act is clear on cases on timelines for a court or tribunal to dispose of cases. No individual can slow down the court not to talk of an ordinary citizen like me.
The story was meant to set me on collision course against security agencies. It is part of bigger picture to haunt core loyalists of Saraki like me. I am not a fraudulent, violent and disruptive individual. I cut my teeth in politics through the rungs without ruffling feathers.
With about 95 per cent of the contents of the story devoted to my political antecedents and 2019 politics, it was obvious that some forces with a hidden agenda were behind the story. Tomorrow belongs to Allah, I am not a desperate politician. I will rather concentrate on my present mandate than being overwhelmed by 2019 politics.
It is incontrovertible that I owe my political tutelage to Saraki Dynasty of which the President of the Senate, Dr. Bukola Saraki is its scion and my leader. I cannot disown or deny the Senate President because he is on trial for allegations yet to be proven beyond reasonable doubt. He remains a leader in whom I am well-pleased in and out of political office.
Those who sneak to the President of the Senate at night and attack him through any wild medium in day time should know that they antics will soon be discovered.
Saharareporters should not be allowed itself to be held hostage by these never-do-well individuals masquerading as sources because of dirty politics in Kwara State.