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Agenda, Opinion

NASS And The Art Of Dissent

Posted: Jul 16, 2015 at 4:01 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Magnus Onyibe, former Commissioner in Delta State Govornment, Development Strategist, Futurologist and alumnus of Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, in this conclusion  of a two-part essay, suggests that APC should let the sleeping dog lie and embrace Dr. Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives respectively.

It is noteworthy that change does not just manifest only in one form, like from PDP and Goodluck Jonathan to APC and Muhamadu Buhari which happened on March 28,2015 polls in Nigeria.

Change could also come in different dimensions like the Aminu Tambuwal/ Emeka Ihedioha parliamentary ‘coup’ in the House of Representatives , 2011 when against PDP preference for Mulikat Akande as Speaker, the pair emerged Speaker and deputy respectively.

Any keen political observer that looks beyond the ordinary could have easily extrapolated and figured out that since the 2011 defiance in the House ofRepresentatives was allowed to stand, it was inevitable that there would be high possibility of a re-enactment by Yakubu Dogara/ Yusuf Lasun in the green chamber in 2015.

So, it does not surprise me that the rebellion driven by legislators thirst for independence, has now extended to the Red chamber with Bukola Saraki/Ike Ekweremadu emerging as senate president and deputy respectively in the 8th senate.

In a nutshell, it is a struggle between two main ideologies fused into the APC that is the reason for the existing political firestorm in APC and the NASS proclamation was just the lightening rod.

APC should wake up to the fact that it is no longer five small pies being shared by a few homogenised politicians in different regions but it is now a huge pie which comprised four to five pies mixed together (not yet blended) that should cater to the palates of politicians with a variety of appetites and tastes spread across Nigeria.

Even in mature democracies of the Western Hemisphere, what happened on June 9th in NASS is a rare act of brinksmanship. So in addition to the rare feat of an incumbent president accepting defeat without rancor, as Goodluck Jonathan did Nigeria has scored another first in democracy ethos and culture, so she deserves more accolades for such lofty accomplishment in her journey.

Just as Jonathan’s early concession of defeat defined his presidency in a lofty manner, it is to president Buhari’s glory that the legislative arm attained more independence and better still under APC watch.

Most importantly, parliamentarians should not allow political machismo be taken too far, blithe the enviable democracy records, which Nigeria is currently basking in as encomiums continue to be showered on Nigeria globally.

Some of our leaders are oblivious of the fact that such democracy ‘good  behaviors’ are rewarded by the western powers. South Africa ‘stole’ the limelight from Nigeria when the hitherto apartheid country elected her first black president, late Nelson Mandela in 1994 ahead of Nigeria after the then military head of state, Ibrahim Babangida failed to keep his promise of returning Nigeria to democratic civilian rule, following his annulment of June 12,1993 election believed to have been won by Moshood Abiola.

Had that 1993 election been sustained and parliamentary democracy returned to Nigeria, all the global attention beamed on South Africa in1994 would have been on Nigeria and that would have boosted our global governance ranking as well as buoy our economic development.

Ghana, Nigeria’s neighbour has also been gaining global adulation since that country became the first in West Africa to successfully transfer power from opposition president, John Kuffor whose party lost to late John Atta-Mills of the opposition-a milestone Nigeria just attained in 2015.It is not by sheer coincidence that president Buhari was invited by the G7-world’s richest countries to their recent meeting in Paris, France after the successful change of baton of government in Nigeria.

The proposed hosting of Nigeria’s president Buhari by president, Barrack Obama of USA in the White House this July for a similar reward is also reflective of our new status in global democracy ranking.

Make no mistake about it, the club of the world ‘s richest nations -G7 and the world’s most powerful nation, USA, don’t engage in such political intimacy with developing countries without a bounty to go with it. Already, the G7 has promised to help Nigeria address items on the wish-list that Buhari took to Paris (Fighting terrorism & bolstering economy) and ahead of the proposed hosting of Buhara in the Oval Office, five($5m)million dollars has already been pledged towards fighting Boko Haram terrorism by the USA.

As long as the interactions with G-7 and Obama in the Oval Office would facilitate more trade between Africa and the rest of the world rather than mere aid, as the case has been over the years, deepening of parliamentary democracy in Nigeria is welcome.

As opposed to condoning, l roundly condemn the unfortunate incidents of legislators resorting to brawls in their chambers instead of appropriately resolving their differences through horse trading, but it must be said that the desire to achieve independence in choosing their leaders is justifiable and commendable in so far as it has helped deepen democracy in Nigeria.

This belief is underscored by the fact that the fundamental purpose of transformational leadership which APC promised Nigerians in her campaign is to engage in transformational changes as opposed to maintaining alleged PDP impunity status quo.

Changes in NASS, which so far is the only elective arm of government that has taken shape (The executive arm is still in preparation) in this new dispensation should be deemed as realisation of one of the changes promised by APC. It should indeed be a progressive pride that the parliament is more independent under president Buhari’s watch and under the APC ‘broom’ revolution, so instead of unbraiding the so called agent provocateurs(Saraki and Dogara), APC should embrace them.  After all, APC is not entirely blameless for the political fall out in NASS, albeit inadvertently. This is because instead of addressing the incompatibility of her legacy parties ab-initio, APC was blindsided by its overarching desire to capture power at the centre and thus postponed the difficult conversation which is a pre-requisite for sharing power which like a suppressed volcano erupted in NASS on June 9th.

To avoid the looming political paralysis, APC should cut the hubris by placing less emphasis on diktats and president Buhari should take a lead by initiating a sort of modus vivendi to end the unfortunate empasse even though that would amount to controverting his avowed principle of non- interference in the leadership affairs of NASS.  After all, conventional wisdom dictates that extra ordinary situations, demand extra ordinary actions.