19 March 2019

Nigeria: Party Supremacy, National Assembly Ladership and the Presidency

opinion

Kano — 'Once beaten twice shy' so says an age long maxim. For any individual, institution or group to have regretted an avoidable mistake for a period of four years as seen in the emergence of the leadership of the National Assembly in the All Progressives Congress (APC) dominated National Assembly in 2015, it is obvious that, deliberate and cautious measures must be adopted to avoid a repeat of such costly mistakes.

In 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari and by extension, the presidency, said, it had no business with the leadership of the National Assembly, it thereafter regretted and paid dearly for that heinous political miscalculation. The emergence of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki via an unholy alliance between some Senators of the ruling party APC and senators of the opposition PDP, was the starting point of the four year in house fight, wrangling, political bickering and opposition, throwing the executive and legislative arms of the APC government into parallel directions in spite of its dominance in the two chambers of the National Assembly.

The recent victory of the All Progressives Congress in the presidential, governorship, National and state assembly elections and, with the exit of Bukola Saraki from the corridors of the assembly, provides the party with another opportunity to put its house in order. It is another chance to build a robust relationship between the executive and legislative arms in the interest of peace, better understanding, support, cooperation and good governance for the party to successfully execute its policies and programs without the unnecessary sabotage and political back stabbing as witnessed in the last four years.

Weeks after the elections, emerging events are putting the party in a dangerous, precarious and disastrous position. The recent media reports credited to Senator Ita Enang, Senior Special Assistant to President on National Assembly, that the presidency would not interfere in election of leaders of the National Assembly, to say the least, was barren in reasoning, infertile in common sense, a gross sabotage and disservice to the party, the presidency and Nigerians having been a victim of such a careless neglect in 2015.

No. The president, the presidency and the party MUST have interest in who emerge as leaders of both the Green and Red chambers of the assembly. How do you explain, repeating the same mistake of the 2015, when a cabal in the assembly holds the executive and Nigerians by the jugular for another four years? How do you explain President Buhari's success in the fight against corruption when you have uncommitted persons and not being on the same page with the President heading the assembly?

If anyone is to tell the Presidency not to interfere in the election of the assembly leaders, certainly, not Ita Enang. It is treacherous to tread the same path of mistake which was regretted for four full years. Most surprising, is when you find similar ambitious characters comparable to Bukola rearing their heads for the senate presidency.

In a growing democracy such as ours, party supremacy must be at the forefront with lots of lobbying to have a leadership that will be on the same page with the executive for proper execution of the party manifesto, policies and programs.

At the peak of the crisis between the executive and legislative arms of government when Bukola and other senators abandoned APC for the opposition PDP trying to make the government a lame duck that could not meet the aspirations of Nigerians, some senators stood out to keep a united party and, a focused government giving the Buhari administration a sense of belonging and direction.

Recently, some groups known as lovers of democracy and political associates to Senate Leader, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, had cause to sponsor advertisements in national dailies suggesting that Lawan remains the best candidate for the Senate presidency considering his rich curriculum vitae, wealth of experience in the National Assembly, robust arguments on the floors of the senate and his loyalty to the party.

Similarly, we have seen the emergence of associates to Senator Ali Ndume, had also been drumming support for the Borno senator. Unfortunately, the style adopted by this group seems to have PDP blood flowing in its veins. The campaign group allegedly under the leadership of Hon. Mohammed Kumaliya a former member of the House of Representatives, is working aggressively to distance the senate from the party and presidency. Kumaliya's propaganda of taking the senate away from the party and presidency, to say the least, is another 'Bukolarism' that would engage the executive into another round of unnecessary bickering and avoidable conflicts for another four years.

It is will be perilous and tragic wound in the party's history not to have interest in who becomes the senate president or Speaker of the House of Representative. It is equally a political suicide to leave the National Assembly leadership in the hands of people who do not share the same mission,vision and destination with the party and presidency.

Obviously, the difference, commitment and vibrancy of Senators Ahmed Lawan and Ndume is absolutely clear and self speaking. Sen. Ndume in 2015, in outright disobedience to the party authority and President Buhari, partnered Bukola staging coup against the party and presidency. While, on the other hand, Sen. Lawan had consistently remained loyal to the party in his ward, local government, state and at the national level. He is often referred to as 'a consistent and resourceful intellectual leader'. The APC cannot afford to miss it this time. The party under Oyegun and Adams Oshiomole must be different. Party supremacy must be exemplary this time.

The old romance between Ndume and the PDP must not be allowed to resurrect to hold the President, APC and the country to another four years of political logjam, sabotage and underdevelopment.

Mr. President sir, you re-election in the recent polls must not be toyed with by the ambition of selfish politicians whose personal interests always count first before the interest of Nigerians. You must be supported by people who share the same vision with you for a better Nigeria, people who stood by you and the party in the times of need. You cannot afford to stand on the fence at this very last opportunity to fulfill your dream of moving Nigeria to the Next Level. Senator Ahmad Lawan has proved to be a reliable partner, a strong pillar of support to the party and government. Make no mistake, Sen. Lawan is a goal getter and obviously, the most suitable candidate for the senate presidency.

Othman wrote this from Kano

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