The change which Nigerians have been yearning for, before and after this year’s general elections, may after all be an anticlimax because barely two weeks after enthroning the government that was expected to usher it they have been terribly let down by inordinate ambition of its key members. The election of the National Assembly leadership was supposed to have been an ordinary routine matter expected to end on a happy note, especially as it had happened after a jovial period of electioneering campaigns characterised by exciting moments.
Crisis of unprecedented dimension enveloped the ruling All Progressive Congress, APC when one of its prominent members, Senator Bukola A. Saraki rebelled against it and clinched the Senate Presidency in a most dramatic and undemocratic manner and ended up with foisting a bi-partisan leadership on the hallowed Upper House. The collusion by the rebellious senator with members of the opposition PDP to make him the Senate President, without prior permission of his party, paved way for the emergence of an erstwhile Deputy Senate President to return to his position — a situation that was totally impossible to bear and which cannot be endured by the ruling APC. The emergence of the leadership of the National Assembly had greatly pained the APC because it viewed it as inequitable and unfair to majority of the APC members who were surreptitiously excluded from the process of producing the Senate headship.
The APC views that singular event as an own goal scored by Senator Bukola Saraki which had largely succeeded in planting the seed of indiscipline in the party. It has also permeated to the House of Representatives, influencing the choice of its leadership that was not synonymous with the expectations of the ruling party. It has now germinated and blossomed into a huge plant that may be extremely difficult to cut down. There are palpable fears that the long-term effect of that rebellion may be disastrous for the ruling party and the country in general as the crisis has already assumed new and dangerous dimensions and there seems to no end to it in the immediate future. The naming of the principal officers for the eighth National Assembly, in defiance of the ruling party’s choice and directives by the leaderships of the two chambers, has given vent for the escalation of the crisis, thus re-enacting the controversy that threw them up as the strongmen of
the National Assembly.
It is now clear, Senator Bukola, Sarki as the arrowhead of that rebellion in the National Assembly has taken dangerous steps to stifle the party’s mantra for change. By continually sidelining the party’s directives he has attained the reputation of impenitent dissenter within the ranks and file of the APC. No doubt, Saraki’s ambush against his party was distinctively flavoured with treachery, deceit and disloyalty to the party leadership and his colleagues. For that reason now the APC summoned an emergency meeting of its National Executive Committee, NEC to push for sanction against him and his accomplice in the Lower House. Already top brass of the party are insisting that severe punishment be meted out against those who disrespected its leadership.
However, President Muhammadu Buhari was reported to have vehemently supported the party’s choice for preferred candidates for the top positions in the National Assembly. With the party solidly against Bukola Saraki and the President totally opposed to the newly emergent principal officers in the two chambers, the days for his intransigency are numbered. Under that state of affairs he could certainly not be able to command the respect and loyalty of the assembly given the treacherous manner in which he has ascended that exalted position.
Indeed, Senator Saraki’s lust for power knows no bound for he has very easily castrated his party and is seriously denying President Buhari the right to enjoy a National Assembly that would always give him maximum support that could simply add a remarkable fillip to his determined fight against corruption. Nevertheless, the reconciliatory move initiated by President Buhari could achieve positive results provided Senator Saraki does not continue to play the politics of winner takes all.
Accordingly, the negotiation must ensure that the election of Senator Ike Ekweremadu as Senate Deputy Leader is nullified as well as the appointment of the principal officers done in contravention of the party’s directives. In fact the PDP should not be allowed to produce any principal officer except those due to it as the minority party in the two legislative houses.
The leadership of the APC should be prepared to deal with that difficult situation precipitated by Senator Saraki’s stubbornness forcefully and decisively. His ambition must be curtailed before it harms the reputation of the party. He has so far succeeded in bringing shame and disgrace to the party through his defiance and disrespectable attitude. Needless to say the party should not afford to lose control of its members in any legislative house and it should, therefore, impose stiffer penalties on Senator Saraki and his cohorts in the ruling party in the Senate that aided and abetted his insubordination