On May 29, former President Goodluck Jonathan of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) handed over power to the Muhammadu Buhari-led opposition All Progressives Congress party (APC), and then, kick starting a new look and APC dominated 8th National Assembly.
A need therefore arises for Nigerians to critically examine the factors that are likely to play out and point to the direction of leadership and largely determine the progress or otherwise, to be made by the new administration.
In all democracies, beyond the passion by politicians to positively impact on the populace through people-centred policies and programmes, the equitable distribution of political offices plays critical part in determining the speed, shape and manner of progress by any administration.
Little wonder from ages, no society allows power, whether it be economic, social or political, to be concentrated on one person or political party. Experience has shown how absolute power can corrupt even the saint and ultimately ruin the entire system, the people and leaders.
It is on this backdrop that care must be taken by the new APC government to ensure no single individual lords him or herself on the party and nation as moves intensify on the distribution of political offices and appointments at the presidency and the National Assembly leadership.
While individuals and party members who contributed in no small measures to the success stories of political parties deserve recognition for their invaluable roles, never has history borne kind records about systems that allow personal interests to override national or party interests.
Indeed, in all steadily advancing and working societies around the world, systems were never built around individuals, but made to be independent such that it gives everyone irrespective of religious or party affiliations room to achieve their God-given potentials.
In fact, where a system works, individuals would always find expression in ways that are beneficial to the society as opposed to systems built around individuals. Today and with the way things are going, the APC and the Buhari presidency may burst even before they get to a bump, especially as there are emerging concerns over the growing influence of the former governor of Lagos State, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu on the party leadership and incoming government. While one acknowledges his enormous contributions and steadfastness in the political struggle, particularly in the emergence of APC as a political force in Nigeria, care must be taken to differentiate between tipping personal ambition and greed; and, national and party interests. Nigerians know too well that arrogance; greed and overriding interest of individuals were some of the attributes that eventually saw to the demise of the so-called Africa largest party, the PDP.
For, truth is, however good the intention of APC or Buhari is, danger will certainly show up where it is subsumed under a parochial interest. A choked Buhari presidency will obviously spell doom and be counter-productive. This, essentially, explains why the decision about who becomes what in the new government must not be left in the hands of one man by any name called and, his contributions to party success, notwithstanding.
Unfortunately, danger signals are so clear even the blind can see them with the ongoing intrigues over the leadership of the National Assembly and who makes the ministerial list, as well as what portfolio or ministry. Indeed, it could be safe to say that if the Buhari administration would succeed or have problems, it would start with Tinubu – his willingness or otherwise, to let internal democracy take root in APC and the government in general.
Having secured the vice-presidency through Professor Osinbajo, who may likely be in charge of implementing the economic policies that will directly impact on Nigerians, any attempt as feelers point, to control the legislature by having also his perceived lackeys will be tantamount to holding the presidency by the balls; a situation that leaves him with the option to attempt an impeachment on Buhari if and where he feels that he is not yielding to his dictates.
But why is Tinubu so ferocious in his preference for a particular candidate? Could it be just for national interest? Where are other leaders of the party who worked for the success of the APC? Where are former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, Kwankaso, Amaechi, Rochas Okorocha, Baraje and others? The earlier Tinubu realises that Nigeria is not Lagos, the better for the APC.
This is why well-meaning Nigerians should end the victory lap and focus on these possibilities and the dangers they portend to the nation before it is too late. We recall that Senator Tinubu threatened Governor Babatunde Raji Fashola of Lagos State, his stooge, with an impeachment when he questioned some of his excesses.
Popular for his insatiable appetite for power, APC leaders must ensure that the peace we currently enjoy today is not compromised just to fuel an individual’s greed and ambition. Therefore, all attempts to log the control of the National Assembly and the Executive into Tinubu’s daily chores book must be thwarted.
This is possibly the only way to ensure a smooth sail of the 8th National Assembly and bring down the long elusive democratic dividend to the growing majority poor. To do otherwise, would mean buying a corpse and paying for a mortician to dress him up for a wedding.
For Buhari to succeed, Tinubu’s ambition and desperation to have his ten fingers on all fronts must be curtailed, else, however good Buhari’s plans are, Tinubu, like a faulty pin in a hand grenade, will cause an explosion that will destroy the plans.
– Ikharia, a public commentator, wrote from Benin City