‘Buhari’s insistence on party supremacy resolved House of Reps leadership crisis’
Resolution of the House leadership crisis
WE are glad that the misunderstandings in the House of Representatives have been amicably resolved. Thanks to the intervention of Mr. President who once again made it quite clear with everybody involved in the dispute that there is no alternative but to listen to what the party says. He emphasised the fact that all of us were what we were, what we are today because of the platform that the party provided for everybody. I think his message resonated very intensively with all the members of the House. He still did not interfere and I want to make that very clear. His parting words to us was that the presiding leadership of the House and the party should go and resolve whatever issues there are that was militating against the resolution of the problem and that exactly is what happened.
When we were leaving there I promised that within four hours the nation will be glad knowing that this issue would have been resolved and put behind us. We left there and went a few hours later into consultations and discussions with the presiding officers of the House of Representatives. Let me take this opportunity to pay tribute to their maturity to their sense of responsibility, tribute to their loyalty to the party and above all tribute to their sense of general good, meaning the patriotism displayed by the Speaker and his Deputy. It did not take long before the necessary concessions that had to be made were made. The very next day I think you all witnessed the general jubilation that greeted the final resolution of what was proven to be an intractable problem. We have been able to put one behind us; it is still one to go. Everybody has ended up being happy with the solution that was proffered to the problem of party position primarily being upheld.
The presidential intervention
Easily one can say that presidential prestige came to play. That means a lot and it counts for a lot but I won’t want to elaborate further on it. But I want to make it quite clear that we emphasised the fact that the people had not gotten his message before, he was re-emphasising it, that in this political system that we are operating, the party is number one and everybody derives whatever he becomes from the party. I think that finally resonated.
Allegations of marginalization by South East lawmakers
The sharing process is not over and I want everybody to get that very clear. Even in the House of Representatives it is not yet over. All these will be taken into consideration when other positions in the House are being distributed. I have no doubt. Here we are talking of real life, in real life there is no perfection, in real life there are pluses and minuses, in real life there are ups and downs, in real life there are valleys and there are peaks, what is important is that the system functions, the system went out of gear with the very first election that was made. So the planning of the party was disrupted. So you have to walk back and resolve it as best as possible in the circumstances. In human affairs there is no perfection.
APC leadership did not instigate the National Assembly crisis
We organised primaries for selecting our candidates who wanted to contest for public office, specifically presidential and what happened there was that all the aspirants cooperated. All the aspirants contested and a winner was declared and everybody agreed to work with the winner. In this case for whatever reasons what you called as a mock polls could as well pass as a primary election. But if some candidates say they won’t honour the primary, you can discipline them, of course according to the party regulations. What the party planned is exactly what you are seeing.
Indeed for our elections to select better candidates for the various offices we had to take the step. Human feelings and being what they are in a situation where the voting is limited, very limited. Everybody knows everybody and of course people reacted differently, it was not like our primaries where you have thousands of people forming the electorate, in the Senate we have 59 and in the House we have 220 members as the electorate.
So you can understand why what happened the way it did. Simple, in the case of the House that we have just dealt with it, we got to the bridge but have not crossed it. They had not named any principal officers, so obviously it was a lot easier to handle. The Senate has named its principal officers and by their rules they can only be removed either when they voluntarily resign or when you command a two-third majority to vote them out. So the approaches obviously will be totally different in the sense that, in the Senate also I hear there is a court process underway, that make a lot of issues sub-judicial so it changes the picture. What happened in the House is not enough for us and we are also watching how to engage the Senate and by God’s grace it will also be resolved.
Saraki and Dogara cannot work against the party’s ‘change agenda’
I don’t see how the change agenda will be affected. I will be very sorry for any member of the House who demonstrates objection to any measures or proposed laws which are directed towards the change agenda. Someone will stand up and say he likes corruption to thrive? somebody who will stand up and say we don’t need to do what we need to do to restore peace, that is to defeat the insurgency there, anybody who will stand up to say that the power sector should not be made functional, anybody who will stand to say we should not ask for any billions or trillions of dollars that have been stolen to be refunded or retrieved, that is the change agenda. I don’t think that will happen on both sides of the divide. I do not see that happening in the National Assembly. I don’t see that happening.
EFCC probe of Saraki’s wife
I want to assure you without any doubt that the APC absolutely has nothing to do with it; she is not on trial by the way. You saw all the speculation in the media, as a matter of fact this could have been triggered by the opposition party itself, its branch in Kwara. They have to be nudged to make a denunciation that they were not the originators of the petition or whatever triggered this investigation. We are totally, completely, absolutely, innocent of it. What we have not done like in the PDP days is to rush and say and interfere with the processes of the EFCC which our president has made quite clearly, everybody should be ready to carry out its legitimate functions without interference. The EFCC is doing what it thinks it has to do.
Probing only the Jonathan administration
I am aware that the president knows that he has only 4 years minus 2 months. So it is not 4 years anymore and if he wants to probe Nigeria where does he stop? 16 years? 50 years? Where do you stop when you want to do that kind of probe? What is important is that the level of impunity in the last 6 years has been very monumental. The level of rot in the last 6 years, the extent to which the economy of this nation has been damaged in the last 6 years is phenomenal, absolutely phenomenal. I can’t speak for the President, neither can I speak for the Presidency but I’m not aware there is going to be a formal probe meaning the High Court Judge with a few people sitting with him, but these things are there even if you don’t want to see them, they are sitting right in front of you. The impunity of the corruption is looking at you in the eyes. People were not bothered about hiding anymore, so when talking about probe, you cannot turn without seeing the damage, the theft, massive theft. That is the way I interpret it.