By Naphtali Ukamwa
Have you ever wondered and pondered why spiders do not get stuck to their webs, yet their preys do? The secret is lubricant. Research as shown that the spiders constantly emit oil to their tiny legs and that enables them glide through their webs and not get stuck.
Similarly, Nigerian political leaders have common traits with the spider. They have always devised and concocted “smart” mechanisms and networks that afford them the skills and opportunity to glide through interconnected frames of corruption. In doing so, they preclude themselves from being stuck. To stop them or make them stuck, the webs which they glide constantly through must be cleared.
The sage, Obafemi Awolowo, conceived the home truth about Nigerian politics and politician and put it thus:
“Given a choice between the white man, the traditional rulers and educated elite, the average Nigerian would choose the white man first because with the white he was sure of fairness and justice.”
Our educated elite can not be trusted with power because of their extreme rapacity, egoism, bias and unquestionable and unquenchable thirst for power. They are power drunk, as leaders, and have jaundiced view toward the fundamental tenets of democratic rule – checks and balances and the rule of law.
Furthermore, Obafemi Awolowo opined that “the aim of a leader should be the welfare i.e the physical, mental and spiritual well – being of the people whom he leads.” From recent terrorist attacks and other activities which has led to the deprivation of the rights (especially that of life) of many Nigerian since 2009 is a clear representation of the irresponsiveness and non reliability of the Nigerian leadership – past and present. While those that elected them into offices are scourged, brutalised and squashed to death, APC, its law makers and executives are busy jostling for party supremacy. Of what utility is a party supremacy when the carnage of the electorate and citizens means nothing to the government? Party supremacy should be kept in abeyance and the life of the strangled northerners – Boko Haram’s victims– should be salvaged from colossal carnage.
The National Assembly crisis is symptomatic of leadership without bearing. While Saraki and Dogara’s faction believe they can co-exist with the PDP parliamentarians in leadership. Other factions in APC wants all PDP elected officers eliminated from leadership. Who cares which party rules? All the masses want is for the leaders to deliver to the fullest of the mandate given to them irrespective of political affiliations, affinities and nomenclature.
If the crisis rocking the legislative boat is not timely nipped in the bud, we may envisage a colossal defection from APC to PDP. The alliance of some APC senators with those of the PDP and the double game politics they play is symptomatic of this assertion. Graphically illustrating this, we have 51 APC senators who seems to be loyal to the party, on the other hand we have 49 PDP senators, and still we have 9 senators who although are APC’s yet they are strongly tied to PDP senators – they were the ones whom together with the 49 PDP senators elected Saraki the senate president and Ekweremadu as the Deputy. Should this 9 indeterminable APC senators defect, PDP eventually becomes majoritarian in parliament. This may give us the sense of reminiscence of the Balarebe Musa’s saga in the second Republic –executive ruling party at variance with the majoritarian party in legislature. This is not in the interest of Nigerians – they are for leaders seeking more powers.
Although there are good grounds for party supremacy, yet we must understand that party supremacy is subject to sovereignty of the people as provide under section 14(2)(a), 1999 constitution (as altered). The crisis in the legislative chambers is to a large extent the product of the quest for party supremacy. This is not in the interest of the Nigerian people in whom ultimate sovereignty lies.
However, party supremacy should be balanced with sovereignty of the people – whether APC or PDP representatives, they represent the people in the strict sense of democracy. Until this is understood democratic chaos is inevitable as it is now in the legislative houses.
The USSR collapsed in 1991, nearly 70 years of its existence, as a result of misconstrued and faulty federation. Its ideological expression lacks tangible manifestations of democratic ingredients. This traits are also largely evocative of Nigerian Federation. We can not afford to do it the way USSR did it. Otherwise a fall of the Nigerian Federation is inevitable.
Another viral plague that Nigeria shares with the defunct USSR is structural deficiency and institutional weakness. Our federal structure which has in ceaseless continuum whittle down from three to four regions into fissuring states, with the North championing the majority of Federal seats is a a feature we shared with the USSR –republics dominated centrally by the Russian majority. This facts are template in Sir Olaniwun Ajayi’s books: Nigeria: political power imbalance, Nigeria:Africa’s failed assets.
As President Buhari sets to appoint his cabinet what we need is that there should be equitable representation and meritocracy in his appointment of men into his cabinet. He must totally purge his appointment from regional hegemony, shed his martial conceptions and indoctrinate his team into federalist ideology.
The same cobwebs that stuck Obasanjo’s administration were the ones that stuck that of Goodluck Jonathan. President Buhari must exempt his administration, if he must succeed, he must endeavour to study the cobwebs in Nigerian politics lest he be stucked by them before he clears them. He must constantly emit lubricant to allow him glide through this webs until he fully clears them.
Published by Teni Akeju