In Political lexicon, especially in the African concept, power is either won or captured whether it is a so-called democratic setting or military rule. Both under democratic and military rule, the desire to win at all costs and maintain that status quo involves not only intrigues but also some level of ruthlessness and intimidation of opponent.
Most times those who lose out in the power game do not just cry foul, but also behave as if they are saints. This behaviour cuts across party lines as there is hardly any and politician in Nigeria who does not exhibit this behaviour.
Prior to the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly, the power play that brought Dr Bukola Saraki and Yakubo Dogara zx Senate President and Speaker House of Representatives respectively is well known as the godfathers who felt that it was their sole right to appoint the senate President or Speaker of the House of Representative lost out. However, the shame they brought to the country was of no consequence as they believed it was only their will that must be done.
Today, the situation is not all that different even at the state level, where individuals still prefer the speaker or Deputy Speaker of a house of Aassembly.
Recently, states like Edo and Bauchi were in the news a lot of house trading, scheming and shouting took place in these legislatures following the emergence of some honourable members as speakers and deputy speakers.
In Edo State, there was a running battle between the governor Mr Godwin Obaseki and the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, on who becomes a principal officer of the Edo State House of Assembly, and at the end of the tussle, the Godwin Obaseki faction emerged victorious with his preferred candidates emerging Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
Here, the Nigerian incumbency factor played a very crucial role as 8 out of the 24 members won outright, indicating that in this country anything is possible as no Governor will allow his opponents to outwit him in the game of thrones and patronage.
This same game of power was just a replica of what happened in 2014, when the house of assembly was ingulfed in crisis over who became the Speaker. over that situation was a bit different as the power equation in the assembly was evenly balanced, between the APC and the PDP. But, sadly in 2019, all the gladiators belong to the APC, yet there was still infighting.
The major question is, why is the APC, which has both the executive and legislative arms in its pocket, still behaving as if they belong to two different political parties? Reacting to the crisis, the immediate past National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, John Odigie-Oyegun, accused his successor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, of trying to undermine the Obaseki’s administration.
However, the 15-member-elect, who were absent during the Monday night inauguration, are still insisting on proper inauguration, arguing that the house was not properly inaugurated and that the government has no right to foster a leadership on them.
This same scenario also played out in Bauchi State where II out of the 33 members elected a speaker and deputy speaker. But the difference here is that the APC has a majority of 22-member-elect but were clearly outwitted by their opponents.
How did we get here? Under the 1999 constitution, section 92 (1), Chapter V, states that there shall be a speaker and a Deputy Speaker of a State House of Assembly, who shall be elected by the members of the House from among themselves.
Section 98 (1 and 2) clearly stipulates that voting must be by a simple majority. The question is, were those guidelines followed? In any power tussle in Nigerian politics, it has always been to outwit the opponent remained outwit your opponents, then let them fight you from the This has always been the case at whatever level of election, as nobody likes losing out in elections.
Here, people do not ask whether there is right or wrong, but who won at the end. If the losing camp had the day, they would have attributed such success to the will of God. So, to whom will they attribute their failure, if not God?
What most people in politics don’t take into cognizance is that in every power play, it is usually ‘dribble your opponent, using every weapon at your disposal. Politics is war, don’t give excuses for your failures’.
Today, Rt Honourable Frank Okiye of Edo State and Abubakar Suleiman are Speakers but the situation can change anytime as no condition is permanent. That is why the utterances of Comrade Oshiomhole should be condemned by all lovers of democracy. Oshiomhole even had the effrontery to give directives to the Inspector-General of Police “Not to provide security to the Houses of Assembly in Bauchi and Edo State”. So it is the great Comrade that is now controlling the Nigerian Police. Tin god syndrome has no place in Nigeria democracy.
Since every State House of Assembly is independent and autonomous, let the members sort themselves out and the least interference in the system the better.
We can always disagree to agree why sometimes people begin to question the quality of representation we get at the legislature. Most executives from the Presidency down to the state level, want absolute loyalty and are afraid of the unknown. That is why they want a rubber stamp legislative arm. That is also why most houses of assembly are not robust in lawmaking.
In the Second Republic under the late President Shehu Shagari, the quality of representation was very high at both the national and state assemblies. We never heard or read in the papers about midnight or 6am inauguration of the legislative arm or even factional Speakers. Today, even within the same political party there is always fighting, violence and court injunctions.
Nigeria did not vote honourable members to fight among themselves but to render serve to the populace; all those elected as state legislators should start exhibiting some sense of maturity and stop running to Abuja to seek support when they eventually lose out in their ambition to clinch a particular position. After all, in politics in those parts of the world, is either a game of numbers or using every means to outfox your opponent.
Governors Godwin Abaseki and Bala Mohammed will be savouring their victory as Kingmakers. If they had failed in their first task as Chief Executives, their swearing-in, then it would have shown that they did not have clout and that they lack the scheming skills as politicians in Nigeria.
The losers in the this first round should also learn that there is always real power at the hand of the governors, who at all times can grant favour. You just don’t toy with the executive as a legislator and if in doubt, ask Bukola Saraki.
Igbo Youths Task PDP, APC On Presidency
The umbrella group of youth leaders in the South East geopolitical zone, under the umbrella of the Coalition of South East Youth Leaders (COSEYL) has said that it is either the presidency for the Zone in 2023 or nothing.
The group emphatically demanded that the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, should cede the presidency to the South East zone in 2023 at the expiration of the tenure of the incumbent President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The youth coalition warned that refusal of any big political party to zone the presidency to the South East in 2023 simply means swimming against the tide of the curriculum of democracy in Nigeria.
This was contained in a statement issued by the President-General of the group, Chief Goodluck Ibem, and made available to newsmen in Umuahia on Saturday.
The Coalition warned that those clamouring for the North to take the presidency after eight years of Buhari’s presidency, are not patriotic, but place their personal gain and aggrandisement above the survival, progress and success of the country.
The youth leaders maintained that the zoning arrangement was borne out of doctrine of necessity designed as democracy bond with the sole objective of creating a sense of belonging, harmony, happiness, peace and unity for our dear country Nigeria.
The statement added, “Zoning of the presidency has its moral weight. Zoning of the office of the president to the South East in 2023 is very important to preserve the corporate entity of Nigeria and also calm down political tension.
Police Have Abandoned Duty For Political Thuggery – PDP
The Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Kogi State has warned against looming anarchy in the state, saying police authority has left its duty post for political thuggery, intimidation of electorate by the State government and APC.
Deputy Director of Public Communications of the PDP in Kogi State Campaign Council, Austin Usman Okai in a press statement on Sunday said the state Commissioner of Police has refused to stop the rising political thuggery and intimidation of electorate by APC thugs in the state.
Okai alleged that the State Commissioner of Police was giving technical support to the All Progressives Congress, APC, political thugs in the state, which has made them untouchable for security agencies despite glaring evidences of violence against them.
The council called on Police authority, Departments of State Security to call the outgoing governor of Kogi State to order, stating that, “nobody has monopoly of violence but in PDP we believe in peace.”
“No amount of gun importation into Kogi State will make Bello popular, we warned that we will not continue running for help, and we must not be pushed into self defense as that will amount to anarchy, if police failed, we will protect ourselves, the IGP must guarantee our safety as we will not fold our hands and watch some APC government officials intimidate us using police and SARS.
“In Dekina local government, the government officials have contracted some boys whose responsibility is to go after our candidate posters and billboards, the boys are armed in Sienna buses and guns, the police are aware of their activities but decided to look the other sides, while the thugs are boasting they have police and nothing will happen.
Okai also expressed worries over the level of sporadic gunshots across Abejukolo the headquarters of Omala local government area of the state, stressing that activities of the local government administrator, Hon. Aboh in sponsoring thuggery activities against the main opposition party, PDP, under the guise of electioneering campaigns needs to be checked.
He noted that the LG administrator has contracted miscreants fully armed who move in Siena and Sharon buses across the entire local government to create panic, among members of opposition political parties in the area.
“Honourable Aboh is known to be harbouring hoodlums under the cover of vigilante group, but their main mission is to attack the PDP members and their families in the local government.”
He said the decision to start now is to create uneasy calm, instill fears into the electorate and supporters of PDP from the local government under the supervision of the state government.
“This ugly trend has also spread to Olamaboro Local Government where the coordinator of PDP in the local government, Enefola Charles Agada and his family have been harrassed severally, his properties destroyed and other members of the party chased out of the area”.
“This developement is expected to go round the local government as the election draws nearer,not for anything, but to ensure PDP members are chased out of their homes on the instructions of APC leaders who are viewing the election as a war.
He called on security agencies in Kogi to without further delay address the issue of thuggery from the ruling APC government in the state, noting that the APC’s only strategy in winning the election is to instill fear in the minds of the people not to come and vote in next month’s election.
“The APC have devised several means to spread to other local government areas of Kogi East to ensure voters particularly PDP supporters and sympathizers are not allowed to come out to vote.”
Ekiti PDP Disowns Members Urging Boycott Of LG Poll
Ekiti State Chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP), on Sunday, declared its readiness to participate in the forthcoming local government elections scheduled for December 7.
In a statement by the State Publicity Secretary of the party, Mr Jackson Adebayo in Ado Ekiti, PDP maintained that there was no amount of shenanigan that would stop the party from its resolve to participate in the election.
This position has also been corroborated by all the 16 Local Government Chairmen of the party in the state as the party threatens to brand members working secretly against its interest as rebels, with appropriate sanctions awaiting them.
The party described its members calling for boycott as fifth columnists working for the ruling APC.
“We are aware of some fifth columnists among us who, perhaps, are working in collaboration with APC to stop PDP from participation in the election due to public opinions that favours us.
“It is not unusual for some members to want to play fifth columnist in any political party, but whenever such action is established, it would be naturally treated as an anti-party activity
“We therefore call on all our members to ignore the ranting of some individuals against our participation in the council election.
“Rather, we should concentrate our energy on strategies that can win the election for us instead of allowing some black agents to plant distractions in the party,’’ he said.
Adebayo, who said that apart from the decision of the State Executive Committee of the Party to participate in the election, the State Working Committee (SWC) had also been up and doing in preparation for the election.
According to him, all necessary forms had been obtained by candidates while the party has concluded all documentation at the State Independent Electoral Commission (SIEC) and only waiting for substitution if any need arises.
The PDP spokesman also explained that the party had put some mechanisms in place to ensure unity in the party which informed why imposition of any form was not allowed in the primaries of the candidates of the party.
The PDP state Chairman, Chief Gboyega Oguntuwase, in an interview confirmed the stand of the party.
“The position of the extended EXCO and the SWC, with all party chairmen of all the local governments remains same.
“We met and we discussed extensively on what the PDP should do concerning the local government election.
“We all resolved that, in the overriding interest of the party, so that there will be activity in the party, so that Ekiti people will have option, so that the fundamental provision of the constitution that we all have right to vote and be voted for would not be blotted out by unnecessary emotions and sabotage, we should participate in the elections.
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