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Saturday, 8 August 2015

POLITICS] Euphoria and intransigence in NASS.



Moments after Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, announced the principal officers of the 8th House, in which he appeared to have caved in to the pressures of the All Progressives Congress (APC), the lower chamber quixotically erupted in euphoric praise. Mr Dogara was a hero, they chorused in unison. All swords must be, and are even now, beaten with the best of sculptural graces into ploughshares, they cooed. In his announcement, a part of which was encapsulated in deliberate, dramatic flourish, the Speaker undisguisedly conceded nearly all the disputed APC leadership positions to his opponents. Femi Gbajabiamila, who seemed to embody party supremacy, and had poignantly anchored the main opposition to Hon. Dogara’s team of legislative refuseniks, became the House Majority Leader.

Had Hon. Gbajabiamila wanted that position on the day Hon. Dogara was elected Speaker, he would have got it a la grecque. But after spurning even the position of Deputy Speaker as beneath him in the giddy days of the rebellion against the party by the Dogara column, he had subsequently had to fight tooth and nail to grab a lower post, with a lot of metaphoric shedding of blood on the floor of the House. The party and party supremacists, including Hon. Gbajabiamila, are euphoric. Hon. Dogara himself perhaps feels heroic, having deigned to give sop to his opponents, and received such applause in return that probably left him bewildered. And those who voted the lawmakers into office also expressed relief that this needless rebellion and the grand posturing of legislative combatants had at last come to an unremarkable end.

But the euphoria is inexplicable. Hon. Gbajabiamila has what he craved. The APC is mollified. And Hon. Dogara has his peace. However, it is doubtful whether any of the three is really satisfied. The Majority Leader knows that the Speaker was arm-twisted to concede to the party. The Speaker does not fully appreciate the point that party leadership positions in the legislature must be the exclusive preserve of the party, that is if it cannot be the preserve of tradition, which established and long-standing democracies enjoy. Had Hon. Dogara not eventually bowed to party wishes, it is hard to see how he could have known peace in the House. Nor is it clear how he and any lawmaker he could attract to his camp could hope to function without party programmes and philosophy. Did he understand these delicate points? Or did he simply reluctantly bow to party wishes in order to enjoy his reign?

The public may be relieved that peace has finally been secured in the House of Representatives. But the ululation of the Gbajabiamila/party supremacist group was both indecent and obscene. Their group was right to insist on Hon. Dogara respecting party wishes. But by erupting in cheers and even garishly adorning the Speaker with the robes of heroism, the party supremacist group suggested they were dangerous opportunists — lawmakers without character and conviction. They should have taken the Dogara concessions with the placidity and profound aloofness of superior minds, and damned him with faint praise.

If the farce in the lower chamber is condonable, it is hard to know what to say of the continuing intransigence in the upper chamber where the opinionated and recalcitrant Bukola Saraki is encasing his rebellion against his party in the granite of realpolitik and the cynical use of committee positions as baits. To him, the party does not exist outside the legislature, and its borders not inviolable to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Believing that his position will become impregnable on account of the number of lawmakers he coaxes to his side, the Senate President has attracted as many senators as possible, irrespective of their political standing, moral stature, or deficiency of principles. He is praised by every rebel in the Senate, and venerated by the capricious and loquacious Dino Melaye.

Senator Saraki is, however, unlikely to make any good impression on the equally adamant President Muhammadu Buhari who appears dead set against him. He may have seduced scores of foolish senators and representatives into accompanying his wife to the EFCC office, thus making an ass of themselves and giving the foul impression he is being persecuted by his APC opponents, but it is almost certain he will sink deeper into fallacies and contradictions. The Saraki rebellion is, however, not just an indication of the Senate President’s Machiavellian prowess, or his vaunted unassailability; it is also a more flagrant reflection of the low quality of legislators grandstanding wildly in the upper chamber. Alas, it is also a depressing show of how, irrespective of party leanings, the chamber is stuffed with unprincipled and unreflective opportunists devoid of any sense of the lofty purpose and inclination the ruling party enthused during the campaigns. Senator Saraki should be proud he is building a united and motivated army of undifferentiated lawmakers — an army solely dedicated, across party lines, to satisfying self, ego and financial greed.

By: Adekunle Ade- Adeleye.
via: Facebook, Apc London

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