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.
APC, PDP Bandy Words Over Buhari’s Fresh Loan Request
The ruling All Progressives Party (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have argued over President Muhammadu Buhari’s request for approval to borrow $4 billion and €710 million to fund the deficit in the 2021 budget.
Recall that the president made the request in a letter he addressed to the National Assembly on Tuesday.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in reaction to the development, cautioned the NASS against approving the request, saying it could set the country’s debt profile skyrocketing without a feasible repayment plan.
With the approval to borrow $8.3 billion and €490 million loans by its legislative body barely two months ago, Nigeria’s debt profile risks reaching over N40 trillion.
“More alarming is that the debts that APC is hanging on Nigerians are for nebulous projects whose scopes, utilities, locations and contractors are largely vague; a development that validates apprehensions of a huge swindle on our nation at the expense of innocent Nigerians, including generation yet unborn.
“Our party holds it as an act of wickedness that individuals who know that they will be leaving office in less than two years will be accumulating debts instead of seeking ways to reduce the liability they have brought upon our nation.
“The APC knows it will not be around after May 29, 2023. That is why it is pushing our nation into a deeper economic quagmire with foreign loans, which are largely diverted to the personal pockets of their corrupt leaders,” the opposition PDP said in a statement signed by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, on Tuesday.
But responding to the PDP’s criticism, the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Wednesday, said the loans are for “the good of the country” and well-being of the citizenry.
The ruling party also accused the opposition party of looting foreign loans obtained during its 16 years rule rather than spending on infrastructure and economic growth as, according to it, Mr Buhari-led government is doing.
“It was in PDP’s era that loans to fund power generation, purchase arms and ammunition to fight a raging insurgency were misappropriated and diverted to fund PDP activities; and the borrowed money ultimately found its way to the pockets of cronies, friends and family members of administration officials. Nigeria is still servicing a $460 million loan taken from China to fund a phoney Abuja Closed-Circuit Television (CCTV) contract awarded in August 2010.
“Nigerians should also reflect and recall that the PDP had in its 16 years of misrule pushed the country into a dark ditch of insolvency, and a period in which most state governments could not pay workers salaries, not even the minimum wage, or settle contractors’ bills and cater for patients in hospitals, to name a few,” the APC interim National Secretary, John Akpanudoedehe, said.
A’Ibom Gov Signs Anti-Open Grazing Law
Akwa lbom State Governor, Udom Emmanuel, has signed into law a bill to prohibit open rearing and grazing of livestock and provide for the establishment of ranches in the state.
The Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, with the Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Mr Uko Udom (SAN), presented the bill for signing on Wednesday at the State Executive Chambers, in the Governor’s Office, Uyo.
The governor, after signing the bill into law, stated that the new law was no respecter of persons irrespective of status or calibre.
He instructed relevant authorities of government to ensure that the law was implemented and enforced to the letter with strict compliance, stressing that, culprits must be brought to book accordingly.
The new law will promote modern techniques in animal husbandry, prevent the destruction of farms by wandering cattle while reducing clashes and killings between herders and farmers in the state.
It will also promote international best practices in livestock administration, regulation and control in the state, among other things.
The state Assembly passed the bill on Tuesday, and the Speaker, Aniekan Bassey, directed the Clerk of the House, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to communicate the decision of the House to the Governor for his assent.
Also at the Executive Chambers, the Speaker who was accompanied by the Leader of the House, Udo Kierian Akpan, and the Clerk of the Assembly, Mrs Mandu Umoren, to the signing ceremony witnessed the inauguration of two C\committees by the Governor.
The committees are the Akwa Ibom State Gender Based Violence Management Committee, chaired by the First Lady, Mrs. Martha Udom Emmanuel, and Akwa Ibom State Road Safety Management Committee, chaired by the Deputy Governor, Mr. Moses Ekpo.
NASS S’East Caucus Moves To Reconstruct Federal System
Members of the South East Caucus of the National Assembly have resolved to join hands with other patriotic Nigerians across regional, religious, political, and ethnic divides to reconstruct a federal system where the rights, happiness, and prosperity and those of unborn generations are guaranteed.
Making their feelings known in a communique issued at the end of an extraordinary meeting held at the Apo Legislative Quarters, Abuja last Wednesday, the law makers said the topic of the meeting centered on review of developments in the South East, particularly the security situation in the region vis-à-vis the sit-at-home orders by members of the proscribed Indigenous People of Biafra(IPOB) and the detention of Mazi Nnamdi Kanu.
“We expressed solidarity with our people of the South East over the marginalisation of the region in the scheme of things within the Nigerian commonwealth. The Caucus feels the pains of our people and their quest for equity, justice, and protection of their lives and property in every part of the country. The Caucus, therefore, resolved to continue to fight for a level-playing ground and an enabling federal system where Ndigbo are able to develop their homeland at their own pace and equally pursue their happiness and actaulise their enormous potentials in every part of the country, unmolested.
Reviewing the sit-at-home orders by the IPOB and the mayhem some nefarious elements have seized the opportunity to visit on the lives, properties, and psyche of the people, the Caucus equally reviewed and rued the incalculable economic losses and hardships these have brought upon the region.
They, however, condemned in strongest terms the disruption of the ongoing Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination in some parts of the South East, particularly the incident at Comprehensive Secondary School, Nkume, Njaba Local Government Area of Imo State, where the English examination organised by the West Africa Examination Council, WAEC, on Monday, September 13, 2021, was ruthlessly scuttled by armed men, who chased away the students, teachers, and examiners before setting ablaze motorcycles belonging to the teachers.
“This is certainly not who we are as a people. On the contrary, we are a people, who have always cherished and encouraged learning from the ages. We are a people that fully appreciate the place of education in the liberation and enlightenment of the human mind and the socio-economic and political emancipation of a people”.
The South East legislators equally condemned in strongest terms the incessant killings in the South East, adding “This must stop immediately. We call on the security agencies to unravel the culprits behind these wicked acts and ensure that they are brought to book to serve as a deterrent to others.
“ Noted with delight that IPOB has called off the Monday sit-at-home order and resolved to ensure that nobody uses them as façades to bring ruination on Igbo land.
“ Call on our people to go about their lawful businesses and enjoin our governors and the security agencies to rebuild confidence in our people by not only ensuring the security of their lives and properties, but also ensuring that our people feel safe as they undertake their legitimate businesses.
”Elaborately discussed the issue of Mazi Nnamdi and resolved to intervene. To this end we resolved to set up a committee to constructively interface with relevant stakeholders, the Federal Government and its relevant agencies towards finding a political solution. We will keep Ndigbo abreast of developments in regard.
“Appeal to our people not to allow anyone to destroy the South East region. The post-war South East was not built through government patronage, but largely by the sheer determination and sacrifices of our people, who refused to resign to fate or bow their heads in defeat.
“It is in Igbo land that you easily find hospitals, schools, roads, and other social amenities built by individual or communal efforts of the people, home and abroad, through the instruments of the town unions and other community organisations such as the age grades, Umuada, etc.
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