Tinubu and Saraki – Nigerians rolled out drums in fanfare to celebrate the long-awaited return of democratic rule in 1999, restoration of democratic institutions like legislature
became one of the victories made possible by heroes of democracy who through sheer resilience; perseverance and sacrifices reawaken the spirit of democracy again in the nation’s political history after protracted tyrannical years of military dictatorship which was characterized with underdevelopment and backwardness. Former Head of State, Retired General Abdulsalami Abubakar, is being respected by Nigerians today not for steady power supply, efficient health care or functional educational system he provided when he held sway as Commander-in-Chief but as a result of its efforts and contributions in restoration of democratic government in 1999 which was driven by global isolation; condemnation and discrimination against military governments universally.
“The deterioration of every government begins with the decay of the principles on which it was founded.” – Charles De Louis
Out of the three arms of government comprising; Executive, Legislature and Judiciary, Legislative arm is indispensible in any democratically elected government, that explains why it comes on under attack whenever Khaki boys topples democratically-elected government. Coup plotters and executioners suspends legislature immediately they takes hold of power as prove of their unjustifiable disdain for legislature. Absence of independent legislature in any constitutional democracy always breeds Executive recklessness occasioned by unrestrained use of political power which contradicts democratic principles and spirit of separation of power as enshrined in the constitution. It also gives credence to the quote that absolute power corrupts absolutely. The structural foundation on which democracy is erected begins to wobble when independence of legislative arm of government is compromised via imposition of leadership of the legislature by anti-democratic elements sponsored by the Executive arm of government, it erodes the power to oversight the Executive arm which is usually done through Standing Committees which serves as checks and balances in the polity to ensure transparency and accountability in the day-day activities of government.
It is no longer news that the current leadership of 8th Senate was constitutionally; democratically and independently elected by Senators in the Red Chamber on 9th of June 2015 against political permutations of self-appointed godfathers of the APC. Since that historic elections which gave birth to bipartisan leadership of Senate via the emergence of Senator Abubakar Bukola Saraki of the APC as Senate President and Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the opposition PDP as Deputy Senate President, hordes of hell have been let loose by those who were outsmarted and outplayed in the political chess game that shadowed election of Principal Officers of the 8th Senate. Instead of those who absconded their constitutional responsibilities as Senators-Elect on the day of inauguration of the 8th Senate by preferring to attend a political party meeting at the same time elections of Presiding Officers and swearing of Senators-Elect were billed to take place in the Upper Chamber to congratulate winners of the elections in the spirit of sportsmanship, they resorted to blackmailing and mudsling to tarnish the image of the entire Senate.
Those political “wako-jakos” who lost out in the horse-trading that trailed the elections of Principal Officers in the 8th Senate in connivance with their external sponsors started raising all manner of allegations to discredit the election of 8th Senate leadership; from treachery to alleged forgery of Senate Standing Rules; to the so-called disobedience of party directives via party supremacy jargon characterized by shenanigans propelled by media propaganda to arm-twist leadership of Senate to announcing their names into the remaining Principal Officers positions of Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip. Upon realization that election of Senate leadership cannot be annulled in the media, the aggrieved Senators under the auspices of Senate Unity Forum sued the leadership of Senate on their allegation of forgery as regards Senate Standing Rules which is still a subject of legal fireworks in Federal High Court of Abuja.
In forgoing context, a dangerous dimension has recently been added to the lingering tussle for Senate leadership with brutal face of tyranny by those anti-democratic elements who have sworn on the graves of their ancestors that Saraki/Ekweremadu-led Senate will be brought down at all cost using instrumentalities of government institutions like Economic Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB), Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and Nigerian Police Force all embedded in the fight against corruption to hoodwink unsuspecting Nigerians into believing a well-scripted political witch-hurting and vindictive mission as anti-corruption war to enable anti-Saraki-forces conceal their ill-conceived motive of decapitating hard-earned independence of the legislature, thereby annexing the entire National Assembly to The Presidency. Every true patriotic Nigerian supports apolitical fight against corruption but ridiculing of the entire legislature in the eyes of the world in the name of trial of Senate President Bukola Saraki for a crime of falsification of Assets Declaration he allegedly committed in 2003 by an institution of government under overbearing influence of the Executive arm of government that presently via its body language shown its unacceptability of the current Senate leadership is not only an insult on sensibilities of democrats and advocates of separation of powers enabled by Legislative independence in Nigeria but strangulation of our nascent democracy which has become fragile as a result of this political terrorism caused by those who are bent on not only mortgaging freedom and right to vote and be voted for as enshrined in the Constitution but are about transfiguring Nigerian government into political buccaneering—where people of contrary views are hounded like rattle venom-driven snakes.
If I may ask, when did Buhari-led anti-corruption fight discover that Senator Saraki is not “clean” enough to preside over National Assembly as Senate President? Was it not the same APC that cleared him to contest for senatorial seat? Prior to election time when Senator Saraki was being victimized by Jonathan-led Federal Government for supporting Buhari against his second term ambition, the APC came out strongly to defend Saraki. The question is: what changed the personality of “Saint” Saraki according to the APC description during the campaigns to “treacherous”, “corrupt”, “backstabber” and “over-ambition” Senator Saraki when he decided to exercise his constitutional right to vote and be voted as Senate President Aspirant? Is the APC trying to assume that all Nigerians are suffering from amnesia—loss of memory? The same power-drunk and self-crowned demi-gods of the APC who are championing Saraki-must-go ill-fated mission hailed and celebrated the election of Hon. Aminu Tambuwal as Speaker of House of Representatives, even though it was obvious that they connived with Hon. Tambuwal to work against his then political party, the PDP without seeing the whole conspiracy as treacherous and immoral. This is height of chronic hypocrisy!
To all democratic veterans and men of goodwill, Nigeria is at the verge of descending into full blown dictatorship orchestrated by those who want to covert this country into their personal fiefdom via Executive recklessness to demonize Nigerian legislature as the pillar of which Nigeria democracy is standing. According to Edmund Burke, evil triumph because good men doing nothing.
Nwobodo Chidiebere, political Analyst wrote in from Abuja.