President Muhammadu Buhari swore to rescue Nigeria from the jaws of the pathological plunderers and daylight robbers who virtually emptied our national treasury and carted billions of Naira away to their damned accounts. Cleverer ones amongst the rogues carted theirs in billions of Dollars to foreign lands where they thought they would never be caught.
The President’s efforts, according to reports have started to yield fruits. And more positive results are about coming. Many other sectors of the polity are seriously receiving attention. So far so good as far as the presidency is concerned.
But governance in a presidential system of government is not limited to the Presidency alone. It extends to the Executive arm of government, the Legislature and the Judiciary. The Press remains the constant fourth estate of the realm. For now, the Executive is yet to be constituted. But that is not really any cause for worry. And in any case, were President Buhari to submit the list of his proposed Ministers for screening, where is the legislature to perform that constitutional role?
This is where our worry begins. The National Assembly is regrettably, despite its pretences, not at peace with itself. The hallowed Chambers have been hijacked by money bags whose only interest in Nigeria is their bank accounts and the degree to which they can put fellow Nigerians on their knees. It has been said several times that the present National Assembly as currently constituted is not likely to be on the same plane with Buhari on his Mantra mat. It is exactly 60 days now since the beginning of this new administration and the National Assembly has not been able to present, discuss, or debate a single Bill.
The National Assembly has been bugged down with power and supremacy tussle so much so that some members have beaten Mike Tyson’s record at pugilism. Very soon, we shall be having ears chopped off by our so-called law makers and representatives. It is quite unfortunate that the political party that prided itself as champions of change could get itself so confused, so disorganised, so disorientated to the extent that some distinguished members’ flagrant disregard for party supremacy and party discipline became an eye sore.
President Buhari can only do what a normal human being can do. The gentleman famed for his legendary integrity, self discipline, morality and incorruptibility is not a magician. He can only function within the framework of the existing Constitution and with the support and cooperation of all those charged to work with him. Now that we have all sorts of characters constituting themselves to clogs in the wheel, what can poor Buhari do?
The APC as a party that worked its ass out to drive away the PDP must put its act together. The APC as a political party does not seem to appreciate that managing a governing party is a science by itself. It requires knowledge, political sagacity and adroit media and public opinion management to sustain the love, understanding, patience and support of the electorate. And if the trust of the electorate is lost, and the generality of the populace lose confidence in the ability and capability of the party voted into power to deliver, the party and its government must consider themselves doomed.
President Muhammadu by virtue of his office is the leading leader of his party the same way state governors are leaders of their various parties in their respective states. I am aware that the APC is a child of many fathers, but once it has acquired power, all the fathers of the children that merged into the super child named APC must submit to the policy direction of Mr. President. This is not to whittle down the position and power of the Party chairman. It is not even meant to rubbish the various fathers that donated whatever to the conception of the pregnancy that resulted in the birth of the child. The party chairman runs the affairs of the party from the grassroots to the national level and continuously works to ensure that his party remains in power, his members and followers remain in line, and get the party re-elected as many times as it goes to the Polls.
The President of Nigeria cannot afford to give a blind eye to the affairs of the National Assembly or the Judiciary. Every president in any presidential form of government anywhere in the world should and must be concerned about the leadership of the Legislature or the leadership of the Judiciary. A bad Legislature can make governance very difficult for a well-meaning President, the same way the leadership of the Judiciary can make nonsense of all the efforts of a good president in fighting corruption and lawlessness.
We are confronted with a Legislature that is bent on behaving the way it has behaved these past sixteen years. You cannot do something the same way over and again and expect different results. This is where the danger to Buhari’s rescue mission lies.
I have mentioned at different forums that a mere ten percent of the membership of the Senate which is composed largely of the old members of the Red Chamber can swallow the entire remaining 90 percent who are JJCs! All the new members of the Senate and the House of Representatives combined do not have the financial muscle or clout of the few old members in the National Assembly.
And we are witnessing arm twisting and horse trading on a large scale. What is happening today is definitely not what Nigerians who clamoured for change had wanted. But there is hope. There is hope only if those in government and in political leadership listen.
For starters, the APC should not be blind to the blunt fact that there were millions out there who voted for PDP, the party recently overthrown. Those millions who voted for the PDP and their leadership wanted the status quo to remain. They have fat wallets. They have terrible connections and contacts in all departments of government, and they shall remain so influential until they are dislodged.
Secondly a good number of those in the APC leadership were only yesterday powerful members of the PDP. Many of them merely temporarily exchanged their Umbrella for the Broom because they wanted to take advantage of the mood of the electorate. Their heart and soul is still in the PDP and the life that party represented for sixteen years.
Thirdly, and we must face the reality, there are PDP governors that are very much popular in their states and perhaps more popular than some APC governors.
All these are factors that those who seriously require and desire change should take into consideration in evaluating the bumps on Buhari’s highway.
Both the APC and the honest members of PDP who even worked for the overthrow of their party in the greater interest of Nigeria must now place Nigeria above party politics. Nigeria is in dire straits. Buhari symbolises the change we all craved, and we must therefore join hands to rescue the country.
President Buhari must set up machinery to weed out all the corrupt and culpable elements in positions of leadership in all our institutions. The leaderships of banking, finance, education, customs, immigration, aviation, the civil service, security agencies and several other institutions that had played visible role in the governance of this country must be probed, screened and those whose hands had been soiled should be weeded out immediately.
Nigeria can never move forward if those on the drivers’ seats are the decadent characters of the immediate past.
This government must not fail or else calamity is hanging on the weak and weakened citizens of this damned country.