Since Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara emerged Senate President and Speaker, House of Representatives respectively, several narratives have emerged to justify, reject or accommodate what transpired on that June 9th morning.
From the Presidency to the All Progressive Congress(APC) to the usual band of armchair critics that thicken the public space, the reactions have been swift.
Perhaps, the most truculent of the narratives is the one purveyed by APC chieftains that Dogara and Saraki repudiated their party position and insisted on standing for election. Standing logic on its head, the narratives continues that the Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives went ahead to stand for elections when the party had “selected” its preferred candidates in a mock election boycotted by both and devoid of the APC vaunted claim to inclusiveness.
Those who push this argument that APC’s ‘position’ should have prevailed are right up to a point. In the absence of independent candidacy, all elected officials owe allegiance to the party on whose platform they were elected.
However, that is assuming that the posturing by APC since Saraki and Dogara’s emergence represents the real position of all party stakeholders or that its preferred candidates, Senator Lawan and Hon. Gbajabiamila emerged through an inclusive process.
Is it a case of the hand of Jacob and the voice of Esau? Or is the APC structure smarting on behalf of a few leaders who pursued a personal vendetta against Saraki and Dogara but failed? Can we situate the hue and cry over Saraki and Dogara in the context of a battle for supremacy in the APC whose leaders seem reluctant to recognise that President Muhammadu Buhari is the party leader by reason of his position as number one citizen?
Clearly, the APC position does not reflect broad-based opinion in the party neither was the process leading to the adoption of the position participatory or inclusive. I will explain. In the run-up to the last general elections, APC positioned itself, among others, as a better alternative to the impunity that triggered crises in the then ruling party PDP and diminished the Jonathan administration.
As the narrative went, the APC abhorred such impunity and imposition. Instead, it will make inclusiveness the hallmark of its party and government should it win the elections. The subsequent presidential primaries appeared to support that position. Among Nigerians, the expectation was that this participatory process would continue and present a refreshing departure from the norm.
Disappointingly, the APC’s anointing of its candidates for the Senate Presidency and Speaker of the House of Representatives was anything but inclusive.
Instead, what the nation has been regaled with is the decision of a few individuals packaged as the party’s position. And the evidence is telling.
Like most parties, the APC has several decision-making structures through which it governs the party. These include the party’s National Executive Council, (NEC), the National Working Committee (NWC) and the party’s Board of Trustees (BOT). If, as the party will have us believe, the decision to foist Senator Lawan and Hon. Gbajabiamila on the Senate and the House of Representatives respectively was party’s decision, when did the NWC, NEC and BOT meet to decide and ratify that position? Who participated in those meetings? At what meeting did the APC and its 59 Senators, for example, meet to cede the Senate Presidency to Senator Lawan?
As a part given to profuse publicity, there are no way these decision-making organs of the APC met without Nigerians knowing or being informed of its decision directly or subtly.
From the foregoing, it is clear that the APC’s decision to present Lawan and Gbajabiamila for the leadership of the 8th National Assembly was anything but inclusive or participatory. Rather, I hold that only handful of its leadership manipulated the process to exclude Saraki and Dogara in a classic case of personal vendetta and cronyism. Although we hear the APC voice in its posturing about the party supremacy, there are clearly a few individuals controlling events from behind the scene. Individuals whose agenda is being pushed as party position and whose machinations are precipitating crises in the National Assembly.
While the Saraki and Dogara will have earned more legitimacy if all National Assembly members had attended its inauguration and elections on that day, both men were validly elected as the party has affirmed despite its huffing and puffing. It is time national prevails over the a few individuals’ interest. Our legislature has asserted its independent right to elect its leaders. APC stakeholders should rally round the leadership of the National Assembly and, to use a hackneyed expression, move the nation forward. Let the will of Nigerians prevail over the machinations of a few.
Mr. Gbenga Alaba,a political analyst, wrote from Abuja.
Culled from Vanguard