Eighth Assembly’s political marriage and juicy appointments By Tunde Temionu

Senate President Bukola Saraki

If it is for altruistic motives, teamwork in politics is not only ideal; it is a necessary synergy for nation building. But the teaming up of the Peoples Democratic Party legislators and some All Progressives Congress legislators of the 8th National Assembly is like a same-sex marriage from which no fruit of the womb is anticipated.

Obviously, the ephemeral marriage was motivated by ambition and the uncontrollable appetite for personal gains. Although to an extent, the APC leadership had used political maturity to minimise the adverse effect of the incendiary and war-like marriage on the party, it is likely to gain tempo again when the struggle for another juicy opportunity arises.

Suffice it to say that the juicy appointments in the National Assembly are almost completely exhausted. But the ruling party is still left with copious and juicy appointments. So it won’t take Nigerians aback if legislators subjectively shift base to the side of the ruling party’s leadership very soon. It is a matter of juicy appointments, not on principles.

One of the most challenging and successful projects that the APC ever executed was the selling of its presidential candidate, Muhamadu Buhari, to the electorate. Despite the marketability, integrity and disciplinary antecedent of the candidate, the then ruling party, the PDP, embarked on an aggressive and non-gate-keeping propaganda to thwart the project. But the APC made its “change” precept clear to Nigerians, hopefully on the promise that the party (APC) would effect true “change”. Hence, the people, for a change, gave the APC, on trust, the necessary support they needed to win the elections.

All the warring 8th Assembly APC legislators were also a part of the change project. They also pivoted their own campaigns on the slogan “change” to enable them to win their elections. Change, in this context, depicts the replacement of non-public-friendly government functionaries with a set of patriots that are capable of re-engineering a distressed polity.

Therefore, any act in whatever form, by a member or members of the change project to team up with, or co-opt members of the opposition into the project without the consent and approval of the party’s authorised organ is an overt antiparty activity, and a betrayal of the trust reposed in them by the people. It is also the best way to sabotage the commonly-agreed change project and to perpetuate the deep-seated corruption in our polity.

A spade must be called a spade. The emergence of a deputy senate president from the opposition party is a political miscalculation and a yoke about the neck of the ruling party, APC. Real change could only reflect on the polity when driven by principle and stable exemplary moral values.

Lawmaking is an intellectual exercise. So astute legislators should be asking for challenging, not juicy appointments. How do we grade the integrity and sincerity in the legislators who left the support for the common objective of their party and jumped at juicy appointments in the opponent’s camp? Certainly, such legislators have placed their personal interest above the nation’s. Hence, it is becoming clearer to the people that the fear of betrayal must be one of the reasons why the APC leadership preferred to place tested and reliable officers in key positions where absolute trust was needed.

Although political propagandists have painted black the action of the party leadership in censuring candidates, making this action look dictatorial. A football coach who wants to retain his job must be sure he has his best 11 on the pitch. Similarly, political leaders propelled by vision and reputation must be held responsible for the candidature of their party’s bad representatives at any level.

The immediate hope of Nigerians for political and economic emancipation is on the APC’s widely orchestrated electioneering promise – change. So, posterity will not forgive the common man’s enemies who would shamelessly ossify the progress of the change project for personal interests.

Even if the disputes in the National Assembly were partially settled, the scar of the deep injury inflicted on the APC remains a painful obsession and hindrance to the actualisation of the party’s programme and promises to the people. It is not possible for a party loyalist to embarrass the party that catapulted him to the apex of the political pyramid.

Owing to desperation and lack of respect for party directives, some legislators have injured trust and trust has deserted them. Ironically, the problem of this country is the political elite. Many of them are being inspired by the evil spirit of their illegally acquired wealth.

They corruptibly encouraged the inadequacies in our educational and health systems. Ostentatiously, their own children school abroad where the educational system is reliable. Their families also enjoy the modern health facilities provided by the civilised political elite through caring governance in the United States and Great Britain. They ignorantly spend most of their weekends and festivals in civilised societies abroad yet, they do not see the import of embracing selflessness in governance.

Unfortunately for the polity, with the aid of nepotism, either by hook or crook, these plutocrats bulldozed their ways into public offices. They formed a cabal and entered into partnership with corruption and made kleptomania their goods-in-trade.

They emptied the public treasury to the advantage of their families and the foreign countries where they stashed our money! Because they need political power to sustain and protect their loot, and secure their liberty, they will do anything to be in government at all times and at all costs. These political mercenaries in the uniform of democrats are not only enslaving the masses, they are also fighting the ordinary Nigerians with tax payers’ funds.

Their slogan is “every Nigerian has a price”. In the same norm, every crime has a settlement-price. So, they can always buy their way to avert justice, making it easy for them to hoodwink the masses and placed a huge economic yoke about the neck of the common man!

The PDP is not supposed to be a completely bad party, but some of these characters wrecked it, made its case worse and dumped it in shame. Human nature is difficult to hide. According to an adage, a prostitute who relocates can only temporarily hide her identity in her new community, because character is like smoke and cannot be in chains. Obviously, the APC has good plans for this country, but do all the key members on board have the same precept with the party

From all indications, not minding whose ox is gored, the Buhari administration is out to fight corruption in a more serious manner than any administration had in the past. Looters, in and outside the government are panting, not only because business is not going to be as usual, but because of the fear of ending up in jail.

No other time for corruption cleansing could be better than this. Nigerians have been waiting for an upright time-keeper and an exemplary leadership. So, the Buhari-led APC administration is the last hope for this generation. Well-meaning Nigerians see this development as an opportunity and therefore cannot afford to take chances. Should it fail, the consequences may provoke a chain of events which no one can foretell.

Nigeria does not belong to any dynasty or clan, it belongs to all Nigerians. The tail cannot wag the dog. So plutocrats and kleptomaniacs should live and let Nigeria live.

PUNCH