‘New N’Assembly leadership is conspiracy against change’
Chief Ayo Opadokun, a former Secretary-General of pan-Yoruba socio-cultural and political organization, Afenifere and National Coordinator of the Coalition of Democrats for Electoral Reform (CODER) said the emergence of the leadership of the National Assembly would have negative impacts on the Muhammadu Buhari Presidency.
Implications for the APC IT is sad that the event happened because what Dr. Bukola Saraki, former governor of Kwara State and past Chairman Nigeria Governors’ Forum did, added a monumental dimension to the confusion in Nigeria.
The fact that Saraki got into a ‘dubious agreement’ with the PDP to the extent that they demanded and he offered them Deputy President of the Senate and Majority Leader is totally a reversal of fortune for true democrat and ideologue.
I never imagine that it will come so early in the life of the All Progressive Congress (APC) that what is regarded as ‘change’ in the coloration of the political platform in Nigeria had been totally reversed by the election of Saraki.
He has not only totally betrayed the course of what democrats wanted to have to make life better for the ordinary man, the conspiracy that he hatched has brought up a very negative coloration to the situation of our country.
It is unfortunate that some of the party leaders could not foresee the situation. It is also difficult for me to believe that President Muhammadu Buhari did not envisage what has happened.
It does not help his image to claim that he would work with anybody that emerged. That was a very unfortunate attitude to this whole ballgame because he would need to get the approval of the National Parliament for most of the changes that his party will propose.
When we now have a Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) collaborative President of the Senate you already have problem in your hands. He will have to give quotas, at every time, before his bills could sail through. All the pretence of going to provide possible understanding and neutrality may not really work out as he thinks.
Failure of APC leadership I wondered why the leadership of the party failed to foresee that type of situation and it was even more painful when I read the submission of Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former governor of Kano State that the APC would seem to have lost out in foreknowledge of what eventually happened.
This would represent the first battle they would have to fight because now there is an end of polarization or divisional parliament.
I believe that the situation is not okay for the kind of changes that Nigerians deserve to have. This is my worry. We fought a terrific battle, long battle to get to where we are until this Saraki phenomenon became a fait accompli. Deliberate ploy against Tinubu The unfortunate thing is that quiet a number of Nigerians do not know that what we now called Governor’s Forum was in fact and in truth started by Tinubu when he was governor of Lagos.
In fact, he held the first three meetings with other governors as the governor of Lagos but as soon as former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Dr. Victor Attah left the leadership of the forum because of his ambition to run for the presidency and Saraki took over from him, it lost steam.
Immediately Saraki took over the leadership of the forum, it was turned into inordinate power brokerage settings, to the extent that governors became so powerful that they could force the President to give them certain considerations. They began to use the forum to take undue advantages.
They also positioned themselves as the one to nominate delegates for party primaries or government activities. Apart from these, governors became very powerful under Saraki’s NGF period and they made undue demands from the President of the country. They did this to former presidents, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, Umaru Yar’Adua and Goodluck Jonathan.
That forum was turned into power platform to achieve selfish and self-cantered interest. They used the forum to make unpopular demand against the interest of the Nigerian masses. I mean to say that when the five governors of the PDP decamped to the APC, which of course included Saraki, who I can take to be the ringleaders of the defected governors, they carried the burden of their selfish interest of the governors into the new APC. For instance, you can imagine how powerful the former governor of Rivers State, Rotimi Amaechi was as the chairman of the forum because he took over from Saraki. These people cared less about anything called principle, they cared less about anything honour, to them it is about power, money and anything of selfish interest. A thought for Parliamentary System That is what people like us expected to see.
That was our wish because the parliamentary system is cost effective. The current presidential system and the bi-cameral legislature are too costly, cumbersome and wasteful. It does not provide for effective checks and balances of government.
Because of the nature of the economy of the United States, it can afford to have what they now have but it is still an ongoing business.
But in the Nigeria situation we have a president that has the nation as his constituency, imagine the huge sum of money that you will need to run such office. Except we have a very vigilant National Assembly the status quo will remain in the country.
We have not got a parliament that will be devoted to its constitutional responsibilities. Since 1999, Nigeria never has a devoted National Assembly that places the interest of the Nigerians masses above other things. The Nigeria current system of government is a disaster and it cannot even recommend itself for anybody.
With a parliamentary system, most of the ministers will be part of the Assembly and the representatives of each constituency would hold regular interaction with the Executive and members of the Assembly where they table their matters and can also do oversight functions.
They can also compel the ministers and even the Prime Minister to do the bidding of the electorates and where they fail there is always room to raise motion to dissolve the cabinet. Impediments on APC’s performance Like I said earlier, it is a very difficult and dicey situation and it depends on how the leadership of the APC is going to handle the matter.
Honestly one is beginning to doubt if we have truly arrived in this country. This is not what Nigerians and true democrats bargained for when we voted for change.
What we have now is a dangerous collaboration, destructive collaboration that is capable of bringing down any good government. I least imagine this would happen but since it did I cannot with full confidence say this is what would happen.
Mind you, the National Assembly is key to the performance of the government in the Nigerian setting. We now have PDP/APC collaboration in the National Assembly. Honestly I don’t know how to describe it. The APC must have to wake up from its doldrums.