right-thinking Nigerians should applaud, rather than condemn the inclusive political configuration that has just produced a majority senate president and an opposition deputy senate president
The recent election of Senator Bukola Saraki as president of the senate is one of the evidences that democracy is thriving in Nigeria. The corollary of the foregoing is that the subsequent condemnation, rejection and the call for sanctions and punishment to be meted out to him for weathering the storm on his way to clinching the position by the very party on whose ticket he had contested and won, the All Progressives Congress, APC, is in utmost bad faith! And this bellicosity must be condemned totally by well-meaning Nigerians.
Or what is the APC trying to tell Nigerians? That only they have the monopoly of the true definition of democracy? That when it is antidemocratic per the whims and caprice of the APC party heirrarchy, therefore Nigerians must begin to re-define or re-conceive their own definition of democracy as such? The very presidential candidate they had fielded, and who had won the election, notwithstanding the opinion or reservation of analytical political watchers that the election,in which supposedly less populated region had more Permanent Voter’s Card was flawed, President Mohammadu Buhari, had, in the spirit of give-and-take gestures initiated through former President Goodluck Jonathan’s congratulatory phone call, said in his inauguration speech that he belonged “to everyone and to nobody”! And when there were insinuations that he might have preferred candidates for the leadership position of the legislature, he had issued a caveat, to wit, that he had no preferred candidate; rather, he was ready to work with any candidate that emerged!
How else do Nigerians intend to lower political temperatures than allowing this less dogmatic political stance to sink into our national psyche? Is APC, by its condemnation of Saraki’s emergence as senate president, trying to over-heat the polity they are supposed to assuage or they are just stretching their luck too far? Did they really win the last election fair and square? Mindful of the fact that there were passionate electorate who voted for PDP in the last election, would it be fair or in the spirit of reconciliation for the APC to continue to fuel the feeling of incendiary through arrogant pronouncements? Would the APC discountenance the fact that Saraki is a political brand in the North Central geopolitical zone of Nigeria, and that it took a consistent political acumen of members of the dynasty to continue to be in the good books of their constituents? Senator Bukola Saraki was a two-term governor of Kwara State on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
When he crossed carpet, the APC became the beneficiary of that gesture. He delivered Kwara to APC on his own terms. At that time APC didn’t see that as anti-party! And when former speaker, and now Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Tambuwal, defected from PDP and APC benefited from that, APC didn’t think heaven should fall.
As for the ambush and underhand shadow election in which contesting candidates had no time to campaign or lobby, and prospective voters had no time to consider their choices before casting their votes, since “no party was put on notice”, to quote the APC publicity scribe, Alhaji Lai Mohmmed, and which had produced sole candidates in Lawan and Gbajabiamila for senate presidency and speakership of the House of Reps respectively, do the APC party stalwarts think Nigeria is an Orwellian ‘Animal Farm’, where “all animals are equal, but some are more equal than others”?
Is electoral process not a contractual deal in which the five elements of a valid contract – offer, acceptance, consideration, capacity and consensus – must be present? How, in a society of right-thinking characters, can some adults. far above 18 years of age, the age of majority, be ushered into a hall, given ballot papers, and be put under duress to vote for a party’s “sole candidate”? Who is fooling who? And with profound respect to a sprinkle of learned silk and counsel in the APC, is the party aware that no matter what the party’s constitution says, it remains a subsidiary legislation to the Nigerian Constitution, the supreme law of the land, and that at every moment when any law is inconsistent with the provisions of the Constitution, such law must be void to the extent of its inconsistency?
And which section of the Constitution or any party’s constitution vests the power to elect principal officers of the legislature in a body outside the parliament? Were the newly elected law makers not misled by their party heirarchy in the APC by seeking refuge outside the roof of the parliament where they have now, as it were, been beaten by the very rain made by their own rain-makers? Methinks right-thinking Nigerians should applaud, rather than condemn the inclusive political configuration that has just produced a majority senate president and an opposition deputy senate president.
Isn’t this the best thing to happen to the Nigerian legislature at this moment of our national history? As against the long night of divisive polity, this is the most cohesive thing to happen to our very dear country. Viva Nigeria!
•Fasehun wrote in from Lagos.