Boniface C E Egboka
Nigerians are now at the challenging crossroads of sociopoliticalcum- economic instability that seems parallel to the then pervading insecurity and instability that enshrouded the nation at the ingress of Nigeria-Biafra war of 1966-1970. By a token of Divine intervention, distinguished Senator Olusola Saraki and Senator Ike Ekweremadu, the bridge builders, have been elected by colleagues from the different political horizons as leaders of the National Assembly of Nigeria; this is a new opportunity at nation building Nigerians cannot afford to miss if we do not want to disintegrate.
The present position being occupied by the PDP politician as a Deputy Senate President is an Act of God that must be allowed to be. If one can go down memory lane of historical Nigeria’s political scenario that prevailed and resulted in the total break-up of Nigeria for three years; when life became Hobbesian in nature, brutish and short, there was the unjust and riotous western Nigeria election that heralded the “Operation Wetie”, killing of people and burning of property; a Federal State of Emergency; military coups and counter-coups; massive genocidal pogroms innocent easterners were butchered all over Northern Nigeria; massive movements of populations to their regions of origins; emergence of refugees and IDPs of easterners in their domains; starvation and hunger were used as weapons of war on the easterners; there were political rigmaroles, gerrymandering and discordant voices that threatened national break-up; the famous Aburi-Ghana Peace Accord for a confederate status for Nigeria.
The rejection of the Aburi Accord agreement by the military government of Gen. Yakubu Gowon became negative turning point into the cantonization that eventually-emerged in Nigeria; then, followed threats of armed invasion of Eastern Nigeria with the Nigerian Army and the birth of the Republic of Biafra for self-defense and survival of the oppressed people. Millions of Nigerians and Biafrans lost their lives for nothing that could have been prevented if our then leaders used their brains instead of brawns. Avoidable and horrendous genocide, loss of human lives, sociological and psychological imbalances, severe and preventable economic losses occurred in massive scales and dimensions all over the country.
People repeat their mistakes and negative acts in history and turn around to blame history for repeating itself instead of blaming themselves for their omission or commission over events of discords. Today, Nigeria is once more at crossroads into disorder/anomie and at the verge of severe disunity if older people would be sincere to tell the truth and become nationalistic. Our political leaders and actors are most disunited as they chant in discordant tones over issues.
The country’s socio-economy is at very low ebb; poverty, hunger, diseases etc. are widespread; people are not employed while some who are working are not paid. There are economic hues and cries all over the country as people eagerly-pray for things to change for better. Insecurity of lives and property caused by armed robbers, kidnappers, Boko Harams etc. are on high-rise nationwide.
The insurgent Bokos are on the rampage all over northern parts of Nigeria. Some of these deadly killer-Bokos have been transported for some unknown reasons into a minimum security prison at Ekwulobia, Anambra State, into the heart of the Igbo nation. This is a place the Nigerian Army woefully-failed and could not reach despite all the desperate efforts they made from Awka and Onitsha sectors of the Nigeria-Biafra war to advance/reach the then Uga international airport which was Biafra’s economic lifeline to the outside world. Whoever transferred those Boko-prisoners into Igbo heartland should know that the people would resist such an aggressive maneuvre into a peaceful Igbo community, depending on what eventually happens if those hardened criminals are not removed and transported back to their place of abode. Already there are widespread complaints, protests and demonstrations against the bokos-import all over Igboland and beyond; one is yet to notice any irrefutable response to remove these Boko-Harams from Anambra State soils by the Federal Government.
The PDP leadership played mature and nationalistic politics when they peacefully-handed over the government to APC leadership when the election was won and lost; it was a remarkable historical experience for the Nigerian people in particular and the developing world in general. It showed that Nigerian leaders are maturing in peaceful handling and solving their democratic problems. The singular action by then President and PDP raised the rating of the political thermometer of our progress. It saved the possible major loss of lives/property that would have occurred if the reverse was the case.
The graceful approval/acknowledgement of the action of President Jonathan and the PDP by President Buhari and his commendation are quite satisfying. It showed that Nigerian politics was making an encouraging progress that should be continued ad eternum. But this seems not to be as we continue to be confronted with bad dreams of retrogressive dimensions from unprogressive political elements on daily basis.
Some of their actions are scandalous. These brands of politicians seem to be putting on reverse gear whatever political successes the country has emerged from in recent history. They desecrate the sanctity of the reverred National Assembly by quarrelling, abusing and fighting one another during Assembly sessions; utterly-disrespecting and not appreciating the independence of the three tiers of government, namely, the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary; undue ingress of security authorities and party officials into the private affairs and domains of the members and offices of the National Assembly; unnecessary delays in executions of relevant functions that would allow the Executive arm of the government to carry out required legal and governance functions as quickly as desired; mudslinging between political parties and their leaders; unnecessary blames and counterblame games across politicians and their parties while positive governance suffers; enthronement of fears of disunity, poverty, hunger, unemployment, insecurity etc. that promote bad governance statewide and nationwide.
The APC has to settle down, now, and properly-manage their political victory as a party; the APC membership is yet to do so; they tend to, still, wallow in the aftermath of campaign-for-election sociopsychological trauma; they did not engage in fiscal combat to wrestle victory baton from President Jonathan and tend to believe that everywish thing would come easy like that In governance. The bridge-building Saraki-Dogara-Ekweremadu political development is a clear wake-up call for the possible emergence of a positive political development for a modern Nigeria.
If the situation becomes well-managed, it may turn out as the real first positive change mantra to happen as touted by the APC during election campaigns. As far as one is concerned, the APC as a party has lost nothing for now; it has rather gained much by assuming more prominence and relevance; no one can really-joke with or deride her as it is at the head of almost every part of the national governance. Let no one be deceived by the battles that were lost and won; may be individuals in APC lost in their shenanigans and may be trying to impose their personal losses on the party vis-à-vis the nation; life will recover and move on as the winds blow away the ashes of feigned divisions and irresponsible distractions. Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the opposition PDP is at the centre of this bridge building in the desired national consciousness of the change dream.
Distinguished Senator Ike is a decent, honorable, bold, courageous, well-educated, trustworthy and loyal politician who must be trusted by Nigerians to play the role-of-Destiny as a bridge builder placed upon him as the Deputy Senate President of Senate. The timely- emergence of Senator Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President saved the potential for disastrous implosion that might have occurred within the APC as a result of personal/group/conflicting struggles that would have arisen if unchecked; and prevented similar explosion between the APC and the PDP that would have possibly-resulted if the two grave situations were mismanaged by the political leaderships of the parties that were involved. Such possible implosions and explosions, if allowed to have happened would have been most undesirable and disastrous for the country.
The entry of Senator Ekweremadu should serve as a gracious relief; he is a considerate performer and gentleman who worked creditably in the earlier Senates; was most loyal to Senate President, Sen. David Mark with whom he worked very hard over the years for successful governance. Senator Ike is a very reasonable man who will never go ahead to plan any evil against his boss, Senator Saraki or President PMB or allow them to be maltreated/ shortchanged by anybody/any group under his watch. Senator Ekweremadu believes in the force of argument and not argument of force; he is a symbol of dialogue who believes in effective communication in the resolution of conflicts and problems. He was a peacemaker in several encounters during his earlier Senate experiences; he was a successful Speaker for the African Parliamentary Union and has been providing a wonderfully-soothing balm of fruitful leadership within his PDP domain. He is an encouraging political game-player not only in his Senatorial Zone but also in his Enugu State where he sorted out political problems that resulted in the emergence of the new State government and successful completion of tenure by his former Governor, Barrister Chime. Senator Ike’s emergence is a positive standard deviation in political development for Nigeria; he will be a positive political bridge builder between PDP and APC all of which shall be for the progressive growth of Nigeria