What is all the fuss about?

NOW that the electoral battles have been lost and won, the chattering classes have had their days in the press and the social media, we must now look at the positive lessons of March 28 and June 9 for deepening and strengthening our democracy and respect for the constitutional separation of powers respectfully.
 
Democracy is not about rigged elections or intimidation and often use of brute force by security services against opposition parties and their supporters or emptying the Treasury to buy votes at election times or merely going through an empty process to produce plainly dishonest results. These merely lead to violence and worse cynicism and lack of faith in democracy by citizens resulting in resigning to the fact that our votes don’t count. “They will rig the election anyway.” With the result that our nascent democracy is diminished. 
 
Democracy is about free and fair elections and parties alternating in government to avoid elected dictatorship. Even in advanced democracies rule by dominant parties leads to corruption. Japan and Italy are clear examples. In developing countries such as ours, dominant party rule not only leads to corruption but also despotism, thus negating the fight and clamour for democracy for which many of our compatriots have either died or have been exiled or jailed.
 
In the last 16 years, we have witnessed the blurring of the constitutional separation of powers between the executive, legislative and judicial arms of government ostensibly to check abuse of power. We have seen this power abused by the executive through excessive intrusion into affairs of the legislature and directly influencing of the election of leadership either by threats, intimidation or bribes. 
 
Therefore, if we reflect, we should be celebrating March 28 and June 9 not because of which party won or lost at the general elections or who won and lost in the leaderships of the National Assembly. Both are welcome and celebratory developments for strengthening and deepening our democracy, introducing accountability – you deliver or we vote you out – and rekindling active and participatory democracy in the citizens who now know they have the power to remove governments in power if they are found wanting.
 
The elections to the leaderships of the National Assembly also give real meaning to the constitutional separation of powers, which the President publicly reiterated in his inaugural speech where he declared: ‘The Federal Executive, under my watch will not seek to encroach on the duties of the legislative and judicial arms of government.’ If he had come out and openly sided with one or the other side, as recent Presidents did to their cost, there would have been howls of opposition, shouts of incipient dictatorship, etc. 
 
The press, social media and the citizens should apply their tremendous power and energy on constructively engaging and probing the executive’s social and economic policies in a way that such policies don’t negatively impact on the most vulnerable and more particularly how it intends to fight the real enemies of Nigeria: poverty, ignorance, disease and squalor. The new Government came into power through people’s power in the teeth of opposition from most of the elite classes. Therefore, its duty should be to constructively plan and execute peoples’ policies and not worry too much about who gets what post. The National Assembly’s role in passing social and progressive policies should also be watched. In a peculiarly Nigerian way, we now have a bipartisan assembly. And it is good for democracy, and good for Nigeria. A warning: this is the most popular President in our history: to unjustly stand in his way is to risk the wrath of Nigerians.

• Abba Kyari is former editor of the defunct New Nigerian newspaper
 

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2 Comments
  • Iskacountryman

    wrath of jihadis…not nigerians…

  • Okey

    It is utterly shameful, to say least, that Nigerians will be heard making a preference for an immoral meeting summoned at the International Conference Centre, Abuja, falsely engaging President Buhari’s instance and name, for the imposition of one-man’s candidates on the nation’s highest legislative body, NASS, over a duly conducted leadership election on the floor of the Senate. Impugning a result that made for national inclusiveness, whilst supporting a cabal for ethnic exclusion by anybody making a pretence of love of Nigeria is highly is most regrettable.

    The President duly issued a proclamation to bring into life the 8th National Assembly. In that issue, the President was certain; he said the 8th Assembly shall come into effect at 10:00 A.M. of June 9, this year of our Lord, 2015. And in line with that constitutional order, 57 Senators-elect dutifully, patriotically and constitutionally went to the Senate Chambers to be inaugurated and were, in deed, inaugurated. Thereafter, the Senate carried out its first legislative duty which was the election of the Senate President and his Deputy. That they did successfully and in fact, their President, Senator Saraki, enjoyed wider acceptance that he was elected opposed. And that of his deputy keenly contested.

    Meanwhile, some other Senators unpatriotically ignored the President’s order of proclamation and went to the NICON hotel extension behind the ICC, just to wine and merry for having won election into the Senate. And by the time they sauntered back to the Senate, the law and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria have taken their due course. The wining and merrymaking Senators now say the hand of the clock should be shifted backwards to accommodate their giddy dream that 36 hours, instead of 24, make up a day. That cannot happen as it is a pure lie.

    APC should be full of gratitude to Senator David Mark for being himself – being and remaining gentlemanly in the circumstance. In fact, they should also thank Senator Saraki for standing up to defend APC’s interest at that crucial moment. Had Saraki not done what he did, one of those 49 PDP Senators dutifully present would have emerged the Senate President and no Jupiter will reverse it, since APC doesn’t have the 2/3 majority to upturn it. APC should be full of gratitude to Saraki and the Clerk of the National Assembly.

    What took place on June 9, 2015, was a national rebellion against one man’s imposition; a national rebellion against false-Change. That’s precisely why President Buhari never wasted any time in validating the National Assembly proceedings of June 9, 2015. That is as it should be. Also the British and the American governments have validated same by paying courtesy visits to the leadership of the National Assembly pronto. All the authorities – the President the British and American Govts – knew that what was to take place at the restaurant adjacent to the ICC was an imposition, NOT democratic.

    For the first time in the history of this nation, a Christian minority from the Inner North was able to squeeze his head up to become the No. 4 Citizen of our dear country. Also in an era where a Buhari was expected to punish the South East for
    not voting for him massively, the man decided to prove all of us wrong. What then is the unbearable headache ? The only converge between the cabal impositionists and pseudo peacemakers is the discomfort that an Igboman – Ike Ekweremadu – emerged in an era where there is a “consensus” that Ndigbo be punished for voting Jonathan. But thank goodness, President Buhari is not comfortable with that “consensus” and has openly and clearly demonstrated he is not part of it. That’s why he wasted no time in welcoming the result of June 9, 2015 in the National Assembly. At least, the President has distanced himself from those who want perpetuate tribal hate hiding behind a Buhari.

    Now the decision, in fact duty, whether to have a smooth, peaceful and enduring parliament in Nigeria or not lies with the anti-Ekweremadu, nay, anti-Igboman, elements in APC (party and NASS). Unless the whole essence of APC politics is “Power Grab and Igbo Exclusion,” they have a duty to concentrate on legislation as their duty and allow the Senate Leadership be. Now, APC does not have the 2/3 to effect a change of Ekweremadu or anything in the Senate. Any “We no go gree” in the Senate will only result in crisis, confusion and setback against the Buhari Govt and the entire nation. Because, PDP in the Senate will equally “No go gree.” APC operatives in and outside the Senate has a choice to make between guaranteeing a peaceful governance for Buhari and Nigeria or a crisis-ridden 4 years with nothing good to show for it.

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