By Israel A. Ebije
From the unset, the All Progressive Congress (APC) led administration
managed to secure for itself raging interests, unresolved differences to
characterize its marriage consummated based on ‘necessity’ rather than
‘national interest’. It wasn’t a difficult setting to conflagrate soon
after the victorious harvest at the polls in 2015.
The most curious and most celebrated is the ruling party fisticuff with
leadership of the Senate. Insubordination, ego, vendetta, interests and
element of incompatibility have all managed to carve niches in APC to rail
it towards the mistake of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which
culminated into a disastrous implosion.
Interesting to note that some people are of the opinion Dr. Bukola Saraki
is the target and soon the sward will return to its sheath. It is believed
he was selfish, inconsiderate and possibly a loyalist of the PDP when he
“kangarooed” himself as senate president, with a deputy from the
opposition. Saraki however claim he opposed a planned Muslim/Muslim ticket
etc. It’s a back and forth argument as the widening divides tries
desperately to vilify their opponents.
Only time will however reveal how much strategy was lost in managing the
situation as scenes unfold from the dramatic personae. The chairman of the
ruling party, John Oyegun tactlessly declared that Saraki’s Code of Conduct
Tribunal (CCT) trial will only “cost the party the senate leadership”. If
the senate leadership is not a dreadful loss in a political chess game,
then there is a problem with Oyegun’s political gamut.
Leader of the APC, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu was quoted at mulling idea of
“suspending” or “abolishing” the senate. He is trying to kill the fly
perching on his privates by deploying rocket-propelled guns. He failed to
reason that a tender shove will achieve desired result.
The embattled senate president wants power. He has managed to fulfill his
ambition amidst jettisoning other interests of his party. A man who is only
interested in power can be used easily as marionette. Such a person however
becomes dangerous once allowed to understand that the only one thing he
cherishes is about to elude him. His CCT trial is one thing, perception and
timing another matter entirely.
It is instructive to educate on the need for the ruling party to understand
that the National Assembly (NASS) under the auspices of “Saraki Loyalists”
can grind to dust the good intentions of the President Muhammadu Buhari
(PMB) led administration with ‘legislative gerrymandering’ to secure their
lugubrious pound of flesh.
The NASS is not only expensive to maintain, it also demands extreme tact to
manage. Its alright if Nigerians want to “occupy” the NASS. It is however
important to understand that they have a thousand silent and very natural
ways to slow the PMB administration down. Gone are the days where former
president Olusegun Obasanjo administration infiltrated their ranks with
money to sway their focus.
A possible set back in the change administration of PMB is certainly going
to rear its ugly head once the ‘normal’ and very regular “Ghana-must-go”
from the executive to the legislative arm ahead of budget presentation or
important bills fails to hit private bank accounts.
Nobody should be deceived the fight is limited to Dr. Bukola Saraki alone.
He has staunch supporters within and outside the NASS loyal to money to
gamble with key sectors of the economy. Example is the power sector and the
fuel miasma as experienced. With 109 senators split between APC 60 and PDP
49, it is indeed easy to know where the votes will swing once the
“aggrieved” Saraki supporters team up with the “bulk” votes of the PDP
against interests of the executive arm of government.
Nigerians are tired, Nigerians are expectant, Nigerians cannot suffer any
longer while their representatives philander with hard earned taxpayers
monies on amusement toys and idle pastime. That’s the reason why those
trying to flush Saraki out of the senate presidency should have been more
tactful. The odds are against the ruling party, the collateral damage and
the laugh is certainly going to be on them.
Except in a very unusual circumstance, no opposition party leading a
political nucleus like the senate will add much value to the ruling party
at the center – except for its nuisance value. The focus indeed will be to
get out the ruling party through every “legislative” encumbrance possible.
The interest of the country will suffer and the change component of the PMB
led administration will be stillborn at the end.
The likes of Saraki have history of abandoning ship once the weather
affects their cruise. They however leave the ship disabled with important
components to support the sailing of another ship carrying gems they can
benefit from. He did that once to PDP and would probably do it in APC.
I have earlier stated at the beginning of the PMB administration in one of
my publication that once the NASS incline itself fully with the principle
and practice of the APC change mantra, only then will the traction for the
change vehicle pick up speed. I was however skeptical of the legislative
arm on account of how they were elected and on the established orientation
among them before 2015.
In 2015, the anger of Nigerians against PDP failed to consider credentials
of candidates on the platform of the APC. Sadly the 2011 general election
only succeeded in voting in many political jokes. Their clownish and
clannish tendencies are on display at the national assembly. Some cannot
speak English, some cannot separate themselves from ethno-religious
underpinnings while most are completely clueless except during sharing of
My concern is against the backdrop of suffering Nigerians. No well meaning
Nigerian is expected to be bugged down by political interests from saying
the truth. It’s a sad one that Saraki may have hurt the “powers that be” in
the ruling party. Taking him out must be strategic, tactful and in phases. He
has the propensity to takedown structures. He may not matter much as a
political juggernaut, but the task of pulling down an empire sometime can
be done by a weakling, who hardly amounts to anything much.
Ebije can be reached via: [email protected] or @ebijeisrael