By Ini Akpan Morgan
The Nigerian people gave their mandate to President Muhammadu Buhari on 23 February 2019, the same way they have been giving other leaders their mandate since 2003, and nevertheless, the 2019 elections proved to be an improvement on former elections especially the 2007 and 2011 elections.
Senators-elect and Representatives-elect are not yet members of our national legislature, and so they remain prospective members of the national legistlature, holding forte for their political parties, until they are sworn in as participatory representatives. Until then, there is no basis these prospective members of the national assembly have to begin to draw upon the constitutional provision of the separation of power. They do not yet have that power.
For those who are incumbent members of the national assembly, it should be well noted that their being members of the APC caucus of the 8th Assembly does not give them automatic hold on the 9th Assembly, as the 8th Assembly must of necessity hold a Valedatory session to wind down before the 9th Assembly can find the legitimacy of continuity.
The leadership of the APC must as a matter of retrospective reference take the challenge of members insisting on contesting the national assembly leadership seriously. For now, and as they stand “prospective”, the party is above all of them, until members are seated together after their inuaguration, and facing the elections of their principal officers.
The erroneous logic that members who hold party and people’s mandate are superior to their parties and the people they represent holds no water and should stop. Next in hierarchy to the people in democratic power dissemination are the political parties before those who think the real power resides in them. Nigerians are proving this irony wrong and sending many self asserting political Titans home on retirement. And Nigeria will soon get to where the people will determine who represents them.
So my opinion on the prospecting national assembly leadership is for any dissenting member of the APC, elected to representative status in the national assembly, is to exclude them from representing the party in the national assembly, by suspending their membership of the party until further notice.
If Olusegun Obasanjo can, at the peak of preparations for the 2007 elections, withdraw the candidacy of Ifeanyi Ararume of the PDP, unfielding him as candidate, then the APC can withdraw it’s flag from any dissenting member of the party, and communicating the suspension, with inputs from Mr President, to the Clerk of the National Assembly for immediate compliance.
The APC will not be cowed into believing that Nigeria operates her democracy on an optimum universally acceptable basis, and so the hypocrisy around the influence of the executive over the legistlature, as if we have had anything better before now, is the height of political deceit and a self serving device.
President Buhari now knows clearly that he is no longer for nobody and for everybody. He lied to us. In his second term inauguration address, it is expected of him to apologise to Nigerians for that empty array of semantics he used to hieghten our blood pressures. Let him vehemently address the influence of the “cabal” that has clearly caged him these past 4 years, and have cleverly enlisted him as the “worst President” we are experiencing today. It is clear where it all went wrong for President Buhari.
All went wrong when President Buhari looked the other way after approving the inauguration of the 8th Assembly and went holidaying in London, returning on the dawn of the national assembly leadership election to find that the Senate president he has is a clear “thief in the night”, who illegally smuggled himself into a premises on which he was a “tresspasser”. How could the spirit of the government come out right, when the headliners have the Intruders of darkness among them?
This must not be allowed to thrive in the 9th Assembly, otherwise President Buhari will enjoy the biggest nightmare of his life and at the end of his second term he would wonder how he never got it right since 2003 when he started dreaming of becoming Nigeria’s President and when his presidency was accomplished in 2015 and reaccomplished in 2019. He would realized he should not have ventured into politics in the first place.
I am praying for our leaders to get it right this time: Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan is the most qualified to become Senate president. He is by every legitimate means, precedents and internal law’s of the senate the best most qualified.
The Deputy Senate President is the right of the south south and I think a vibrant Senator Ovie Omo-Agege deserves to seat as DSP.
The Speakership is the rightful preserve of the South East. No matter the contributions of the south east to the success of the APC, the Speakership is, in the 9th Assembly, their deservation.
The vain talk about the North Central zone deserving a considerable principal position in the 9th Assembly, the only office that zone deserve is that of the Deputy Speakership. We cannot forget that the north central zone enjoyed 8 years of deputy Senate presidency and another 12 years of Senate presidency. Na only dem dey?
So the correct thing, satisfying all provisions of the federal character act as amended, situates principal office allocations as follows:
1. Office of the President – North West – Muhammadu Buhari
2. Office of the Vice President – South West – Yemi Osinbajo
3. Office of the Senate President – North East – Ahmed Lawan
4. Office of the Speaker – South East – Nkiru Onyejiocha
5. Office of the Deputy Senate President – South South – Ovie Omo-Agege
6. Office of the Deputy Speaker – North Central – Mohammed Bago
Anything outside this, and apart from the names sumitted above, is robbery. Nevertheless, for the experience of legislative accomplishment, the choice of Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of House, though ursurping as it is, can be accommodated, especially if this will fascilitate a stabilized direction for APC’s presidency in 2023.
This is a just and fair opportunity the APC has in it’s reelection as the ruling party for a second term to make gains and plug loses. The party must not waste this golden opportunity of taking the “Change” they promised out of this present hopelessness to the NEXT LEVEL in which we have presently found ourselves. Whether we will be fortunate or not depends on how President Muhammadu Buhari and his party, the APC, handles the national assembly leadership elections
God bless Nigeria, Amen.
Ini Akpan Morgan is the convener of the Akwa Ibom Patriotic Forum and writes in from Uyo via email@example.com