Editor’s note: The professional and, to some extent, personal relationships between the members and chambers of the Nigerian National Assembly (NASS Nigeria) will determine and outline our lives on many levels. Naij.com guest contributor, Dr Tunde Olufon, equals the bond between the APC and the PDP to that of fire and gold: what outcome can we expect?
The views expressed in this article are author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Naij.com.
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The smart move of electing a new Senate President by some ambitious and overzealous APC politicians at the National Assembly, Abuja, with the connivance and support votes of the major opposition party, and at the expense of the disenfranchisement of others, on 9th June, 2015, was nothing short of a palace coup which shook the ruling party to its very foundation.
That small group which stormed the political landscape ‘struck gold’ within 45 minutes of deliberations and with such a deft military precision that kept pundits wondering whether or not the whole episode was a pre-packaged movie, acted with a written or documented script.
We have it on good authority of historians that it was a climatic storm that occasioned the discovery of the gold mines of the Republic of India, one of the finest and best democracies in the world.
Gold, a mineral earth resource, is a precious stone of immense economic value which must endure the fiduciary baptism of fire before it can produce the innate qualities that keep it at the top of the chart of quality gem stones. Every nation needs some figurative storms and fires, even earthquakes, at some period of evolution, to kindle and reveal characters of endurance and perseverance in political leadership just like the gold.
But can this envisaged storm of attitudinal and character reformation permeate the Nigerian political space to produce an outcome of the relationship between gold and fire? Were the dross and impurities on the raw gem stone still not stuck during the 9th June, 2015, inauguration ceremonies of both chambers of the NASS?
Though those who are now in the saddle believe that their victory was the unfettered democratic change that the electorate deserved, the party supremacy and discipline mechanisms were sidelined, shunned, rebuffed and cast into the bin to covet the transient positions of principal offices of Senate President and House of Representatives Speaker and their deputies.
In all of the positions that have been taken by political pundits and the APC management team, for and against the ‘coup-de-grace’ backed by the opposition members on the day of NASS inauguration, on which platform could one premise a safe landing for the actors now on stage?
To the eyes of the mundane and amateur, the pre-meditated plans of the professional chess players and king-makers at NASS began just few days after the presidential and National Assembly elections of 28th March, 2015, and the storm began to brew gradually because the ‘hairy hands of Esau and the smooth voice of Jacob’ must both be employed to achieve a grand ‘coup’ in which not one single shot would be fired to covet and collect the blessings.
Nocturnal visits, during which all forms of clandestine permutations were foisted, took place between the very ambitious Abubakar Bukola Saraki and the opposition members who had 45 seats in the Senate. NASS record showed that only 57 members (not up to two thirds of 109), voted for him to become Senate President without a full House on such a crucial issue which threw him up as the only ‘unopposed’ candidate for the coveted post.
Please assess the following analysis and form your opinions:
The APC party was predicated on democratic principles that stress on party supremacy and discipline when it comes to collective decision-making.
Dino Melaye, Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara jumped ship from the PDP to the APC because they believed in the new manifesto of true and sincere change from all corruptive tendencies that characterized PDP and took oath to abide by party decisions in all constitutional matters.
When the positions of principal officers of NASS were to be filled, they had the freedom to nominate candidates of their choices, which they did, with the knowledge that nominated candidates would still go through the internal democratic primary poll mechanism of the party which produced Ahmed Lawan, Bukola Saraki for the Senate presidency and ‘Femi Gbajabiamila and Yakubu Dogara for the Speaker’s seat in the House of Representatives, all candidates of the same party
Naturally, party members queued behind their choice candidates. But Saraki and Dogara, who had a hidden agenda and premonition of defeat, boycotted the party primaries in spite of their oath of allegiance in respect of party supremacy and party discipline, and, as a result of their absence, Lawan and Gbajabiamila were elected by the party to stand for nomination on the inaugural date at the NASS Chambers
In view of the stalemate created by the absence of the duo, the APC leadership had to involve Mr President to intervene and counsel them to fall in line with the democratic decision of the party. A meeting was slated at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, one hour before the inaugural ceremony at the NASS complex at 10am on 9th June, 2015. They deliberately boycotted the meeting and went ahead to carry out the pre-meditated ‘coup’ of swearing in Saraki as the new Senate President of the 8th NASS and also elected the opposition candidate, Ike Ekeremadu, as his deputy to show their actual identity and it was a done deal as far as the conspirators were concerned
The initial anger of the party and those who were disenfranchised through the covetousness and inordinate ambition of Saraki and company simmered down, and, after several consultations of high-leveled hierarchy, the APC on 12th June, 2015, through a statement by its chairman, recognised the ‘elected’ NASS principal officers in the spirit of unity and oneness.
It is however instructive to remind us that the PDP emphatically stated it had no interest and would not participate in the quest for elective principal officers of NASS. Is it not ironic that Ike Ekeremadu is now the Deputy Senate President of the 8th Assembly – a position he held since 2007? Who is fooling who How to work together without agreeing?
David Olufon was a journalist, police public relations officer in Lagos and Kaduna state. He has authored a number of books, holds a doctorate degree in Theology and also a doctorate degree in political science in Biblical perspective.
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