During the 2015 general elections, APC won across most states, had a majority in the National Assembly and also won the presidency. The progressives were excited while the conservatives and members of the PDP were embittered by the loss. Over two months after inauguration, there has been one news report or the other about the disagreements among APC members, especially those at the National Assembly.
These news reports are not good or interesting from a political party like the APC. The PDP which lost massively during the 2015 general elections is now beginning to be a clog in the wheel of change and poking fun at the APC saying that the party is not ready for power. This is however expected considering the opposition the PDP met with in the hands of the APC during the Jonathan administration and the PDP would be happy to see this crisis within the APC continue without end.
Most progressives are not happy about the lingering crisis rocking the APC and the leadership of the National Assembly. We ought to learn from the mistakes of the past that have brought us to where we find ourselves presently as a country. A study of the first, second and third republics and what led to their demise x-rayed in a book titled ‘Nigerian Political Parties and Politicians: Winding Road from Country to Nation’ showed how dangerous the struggle for power, selfish interest, political violence, tribalism, sectionalism, zoning and love of public office are to the survival of democracy and the ability of political parties to deliver the dividends of democracy. It is true that those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it. Most Nigerian politicians have not been able to move beyond their selfish ambitions and work in the interest of the country and the people. This is responsible for the APC and the National Assembly crisis.
Our politicians claim to be bound by the same party ideologies and principles but are divided over individual ambitions and personal gains. In a foreword written by Professor Akinjide Osuntokun to this book on Nigeria’s political history, he said ‘There is little or no political ideological debate among African politicians. Rather what we have is politics of primitive accumulation and over-empahsis on primordial differences as a strategy of attracting support’. Every Nigerian politician needs a book like this in order to raise their consciousness.
Most student of Nigeria’s political history would also agree that many politicians end up with their own agenda as against that of the political party even though they are supposed to be bound by party manifesto in the actual conduct of government business. Some politicians have no business in the corridors of power because they are agents of doom while those that have good intentions to serve the country and its people are not given the chance.
Unfortunately, Nigeria has not been blessed with politicians who are members of the same political party and are willing to abide by the ideologies, principles and manifesto of the party. That is the narrative of Nigerian political parties and politicians. Some people are driven by selfish ambitions.
If most Nigerian politicians truly care about the welfare of the people of Nigeria, there would not have been a struggle for the leadership of the National Assembly just as the 8th Assembly was inaugurated. But some politicians have decided to thwart the change agenda of the new government with their do or die kind of politics. Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara disregarded the party’s nominations for the leadership of the National Assembly thereby plunging the country into an undue political crisis. People in support of the coup of June 9, 2015 have said that it is no big deal, after all, the APC also did the same in 2011 when Hon. Tambuwal was made speaker against the wish of his then party, the PDP.
This is no justification for the present crisis rocking the APC and the National Assembly. Despite being members of the same political party, some APC members are working against the party policies and most appalling in the interest of the opposition party which they labored so hard to get out of power. Both Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara are bent on not honoring the party’s position with respect to the leadership of the National Assembly.
The disagreements among members of the APC have led to series of court cases and political moves. The crisis is becoming deep by the day with none of the factions willing to bulge until recently when the Speaker of the House of Assembly named Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila as the Majority Leader. Some APC members are relying on the fact that the standing rule used during the inauguration of the 8th Assembly was forged in connivance with the clerk of the National Assembly. A police investigation into the allegation and the submission of a report to President Buhari confirming the forgery of the standing rule is good news for those who see it as an avenue to get Senator Ike Ekweremadu to resign his position as the deputy senate president. Senator Bukola Saraki’s loyalist are hinging on the fact that there is no way the aggrieved APC members in the senate would be able to get the needed two third majority to impeach their man. This shows that they would do everything possible to ensure that the leadership of the APC and its loyal members do not outwit them in the struggle for relevance and power. The Senator Lawan faction is not also going to allow Senator Bukola Saraki have its way.
This crisis that has affected the progress of the country is rocking the two dominant political parties, the APC and the PDP. Little wonder some Nigerians are of the opinion that the APC is the same as the PDP. The PDP’s electoral loss at the recently concluded 2015 general elections was as a result of disagreements among its members. It is sad that members of the APC are also beginning to disagree among themselves over petty issues.
The PDP is happy about the present crisis and see it as an opportunity to bounce back in 2019 general elections. But APC is angry that Senator Bukola Saraki could sell the party to PDP because of his selfish ambition. This was the genesis of the problem. But in another twist, 81 senators recently passed a vote of confidence on the leadership of the senate.
Nigerians are watching helplessly while some people have hijacked the change they voted for. This has been the character of some of our politicians but there is light at the end of the tunnel as long as the citizens get involved and demand performance from Nigerian politicians. The National Assembly has failed to positively and directly impact the lives of Nigerians since the return of democracy in 1999.
The APC has to rid itself of the wolves in sheep’s clothing among its members in order to meet the expectations of its teeming supporters. The party has come a long way to get to this point and should not allow individuals who put their ambitions before the goals of the party destroy the hard-earned victory recorded during the 2015 general elections—and for which cynics, skeptics and pundits all over the world were proved wrong about the survival and existence of Nigeria beyond 2015. President Buhari should take the lead in addressing the disagreements among APC members. He cannot afford to stay aloof and be non-partisan in the affairs of his political party. I hope the leadership of the APC and its members take this advice and provide a new approach to government.