NASS leadership elections and APC’s double speak

“Now that the undemocratic mock has backfired, its spokesperson is crying blue murder. The fact is that the has just reaped from its past misdeeds, including the indiscipline it sowed during the 2011 National Assembly leadership elections.” -Babalobi

Treachery’, ‘Disloyalty’, “Monumental act of indiscipline’, ‘Betrayal’, ‘Ridicule’, and ‘obstacles for the new administration.”

These are harsh words used by the Publicity Secretary of the ruling , APC, , in his reaction to the election of (both members of the APC) as of the Senate and Speaker of the Federal House of Assembly, respectively.

On a day the APC should be rejoicing that two of its members emerged leaders of the National Assembly, the is rather in a sorrowful and mournful mood; crying foul like a bereaved mother whose male children just died tragically. The offence of Saraki and Dogara are that they are not the anointed candidates of the party. The APC few days earlier through ‘mock’ elections had announced Ahmed Lawal and as its choices for the coveted offices of President of the Senate and Speaker House of Representatives, respectively.

Lai Mohammed’s lamentations is misplaced, unwarranted, uncalled for, and odious ; just as the victory of the duo of Saraki and Dogara mocks the ‘mock’ election conducted by the leadership of the APC for contenders for the office.

First, it was the same APC that benefited from a similar scenario in the 7th National Assembly when it directed its members to support former Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal, who was not the preferred candidate of the then ruling , . Don’t let us forget the fact that APC’s mock election was boycotted by the camps of Saraki and Dogara; but in spite of this, the APC leadership sanctioned it instead of calling both parties for a truce.

Now that the undemocratic mock election has backfired, its spokesperson is crying blue murder. The fact is that the APC has just reaped from its past misdeeds, including the indiscipline it sowed during the 2011 National Assembly leadership elections.

Second, perhaps still basking in the euphoria of its victory in the presidential election, the APC failed to put its house in order, leaving its Federal legislators disorganised up to the inauguration of the National Assembly. It is more disheartening that on the day the Federal legislators were supposed to be inaugurated, the APC’s’ leadership decided to convene an emergency meeting several kilometres away to deliberate and decide on a matter that would be decisively resolved in the chambers of the house.

The APC Federal legislators and its leadership displayed unprecedented political naivety and opportunism by convening a meeting to coincide with the inauguration of the 8th National Assembly. For God’s sake every Federal legislator was supposed to report to the National Assembly on the June 9, 2015; rather than report to International Conference Centre to meet political godfathers! Lai Mohammed and his cohorts should be told that the National Assembly is greater than the trumpeted party supremacy.

Third, the victory of the candidates endorsed by the PDP for the leadership of the National Assembly marks the beginning of the return of the party to power at the Federal level. Since the APC has so far not shown ability to manage high level power politics and relations, the PDP is gradually cashing in to inch closer to Federal power. I would not be surprised if APC’s internal wrangling and leadership crisis result into more electoral loses in the future.

Lastly, the success of Senator Saraki’s rebellion against his party’s wishes and choice reinforces the well-known view that Nigerian political parties are mere platforms for political aggrandizement and fulfilment of personal ambitions rather than platforms for advancing ideological interests or the public good. The new President was a PDP Governor who decamped to the APC over squabbles on power sharing and resource allocation in the PDP.

He had decamped into the APC not necessarily because he was a ‘Progressive’, whatever the word means in the political context. Now that he has fulfilled his ambition with the support of his former friends in the PDP, I would not be surprised if Saraki decamps back to the PDP in the near future; not with the name calling and denigration he is suffering now in the hands of the APC leadership.

Written by Babatope Babalobi, the Coordinator of the Movement for Revolutionary Change, MRC.

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