Why Saraki Betrayed APC | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Why Saraki Betrayed APC

Posted: Jun 11, 2015 at 1:44 am   /   by   /   comments (0)

Besides making a dramatic entry in the reference book on Nigerian political history, what happened to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) at the National Assembly on Tuesday, 9th June, 2015 presents a big political lesson for the future. The action of the renegades as represented by Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara has certainly exposed APC as a party that is as dysfunctional and disharmonious as it is chaotic and vulnerable. 

While there is no single perspective to Saraki’s treachery, his capitalization on the party’s vulnerability can be explained. Considering his pampered political upbringing and inordinate ambition, one needed not the gift of a seer to see that he was going to betray the APC the same way he had betrayed his former party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

Discussing trust in relationships, and how trust is built and lost, Brene Brown compares trust to a jar of marbles, to which marbles are added when someone demonstrates trustworthiness. And if they betray our trust, we remove marbles from the jar. The safety of the relationship depends on how many marbles are in the jar over time.

If we apply Brown’s theory, we will have no problem in concluding that Saraki’s jar contains not a single marble. It is therefore surprising that the leadership of the APC could not foresee that he could do what he did. Not only does Saraki have no sixth sense for loyalty or commitment to a common goal, he is overly ambitious, dubious and ruthless. He is a survivalist. That he could go as far as delivering a chunk of APC’s estate to the PDP in order to get the senate presidency over and above APC’s choice is just a hint of what awaits the APC under his senate presidency. He has not only broken a confidence or failed to stand by his party, the APC, Saraki has disengaged himself from the party. One would not be surprised if, tomorrow, he decides to yield the fortunes of the APC to the PDP for his presidential ambition.

This should take us back to some queries we have raised in earlier articles concerning the role of political parties in Nigeria.In Europe and America,parties have gone beyond being just a group of persons organised to acquire and exercise political power. They have established themselves as the generators of the ethical and moral principles that sustain and nurture their democratic process. Political parties are largely responsible for the democratic glory that America enjoys today, for which it now prides itself as the flag bearer of modern representative and constitutional democracy. Interestingly, the American people did not start their constitutional democracy with definite duties for their political parties. It is the beliefs that with or without specific urging or prompting, people are naturally gregarious and can easily bond to pursue shared interests, whichwas why the writers of American constitution avoidedoutlining specific roles for political parties. The good news is that the parties took up the challenge and entrenched themselves effectively on the American polity. As hinted above, to ensure that they are taken seriously by the electorate and respected by all facets of the society, the parties have evolved principles, values, ethics and etiquettes that form the core of American democracy and democratic process. One can conveniently say that political parties have contributed much of the content of what may be termed the American culture.

Backhome, it is easy to notice that the Nigerian constitution went out of its way to literally make the political parties the engine of democracy and the political process. By the letter of the constitution, it seems impracticable for the President to ignore the APC in governing this country. What Saraki has demonstrated, which I implore President Muhammadu Buhari to discountenance for his own good, is that the APC is a toothless bulldog.

Besides the power to expel erring members, the APC can fight back and regain lost territories, by, for instance, championing the war against corruption. Americans have demonstrated that if public offices are not sources of wealth and undue social influence, party members would conform to party decorum and etiquette. The actions of Saraki and Dogara were clearly motivated by the stupendous wealth and godlike social influence attached to the senate presidency and the speakership of the House of Representatives – not by any sense of altruism or the desire to serve. Otherwise, there would have been no reason for them to reject their party’s goals and means.