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Sunday 9 August 2015

Nigeria greatest parliamentary scandals power sharing and the South-East

One of the greatest parliamentary scandals played out on the floor of the House of Representatives on  June 25, 2015.
At the centre of it was the question of which of the competing political forces in the APC as it affects its North and South divide would be able to control the proceedings in the National Assembly and, by extension, the state called Nigeria.
This war over the control  of the government and its intended manipulation of governmental machinery started a little before the inauguration of this administration on May 29, 2015. When the  dust arising from the fierce battle settled around the evening of June 9,  2015, the score was – North 2, and South 0.
The North had before the incident on June 9, 2015 pocketed the headship of the Executive and Judicial arms of government in the persons of President Muhamadu Buhari and Justice Mahmud Muhammed respectively. The South, within the APC arithmetic, had to manage the office of Vice President in the person of Prof. Yemi Osinbajo from the South-West. The South-East which remained one of the tripod stand or power blocks in the Nigerian political configuration since independence, was conspicuously schemed out by the powers that be in the APC.
To leave no one in doubt that there was a criminal conspiracy by the North and South-West elements in the APC against the South-East, the eight remaining political offices in the National Assembly, that is to say, the Majority and Minority Leaders and their deputies, including the Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip in the two chambers of the National Assembly, were shared among the six geopolitical zones by the APC without the South-East considered to be worthy to have one.
This was against the backdrop of the fact that there were two APC members of the House of Representatives from the South-East and the question of their being new members do not hold as they are no longer Honourable Members- Elect but Honourable members of the House of Representatives as at now.
Besides, there was example of such in the 8th Senate by the same APC as it affects the only APC Senator from South-South (Edo) in the person of Francis Alimikhena who happens to be a non–ranking Senator but was appointed the Deputy Chief Whip by APC.
Not even the APC leaders from the South-East could protest or react against the marginalisation of their zone due to their perceived selfish interests as some of them either have an eye on the 2019 APC Presidential ticket or the elusive ministerial list and the like.
It was for the above reason that some APC leaders in the South East had to appeal  to the leadership of the National Assembly to obey the party position in the sharing of offices in the House, all in an effort to remain in the good books of Chief Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the leader of APC.
For them, the only way to attract attention and benefit to themselves and the APC on the national level is to direct them to remove Chief Ike Ekweremadu as the  Deputy Senate President by any foul means.
Action on this had long commenced.The intended objective is to ensure that no person from South East is seen to occupy any of the First  ten political positions, commencing with the post of the president of Nigeria, for refusing to vote for APC en masse.
The body language, utterances and actions of the President as it affects about 13 important appointments including the Service Chiefs which he has made so far clearly corroborate the above facts as no person from the South-East was considered worthy to be so appointed.  The argument that there are more appointments to be made by the President appears laughable. It appears that those who want to tell the President and APC the truth in Nigeria are in short supply, otherwise somebody would have told them that the days of campaigns and party politics are over.
That this is the period for governance and Mr. President is not the President of APC but that of Nigeria. That his effort to sweep away the clear democratic setting that produced Chief Ike Ekweremadu as the Deputy Senate President may do more harm than good to his administration.
And that if the PDP, as and when the need arises on bills and or decisions  that requires 2/3 majority of National Assembly to pass,  refuses to do so on grounds of party decision, it will be the nation under his watch that will suffer.
This, certainly,  is the more reason why the President and the APC should tread softly on the Ike Ekweremadu issue and allow national interest to override party interest in most cases.
From the totality of what is unfolding from Mr. President’s side, including his body language, it will be a big surprise if he eventually appoints any minister from the  South East in conformity with constitutional provision. And if such happens, I will make bold to predict that the said ministers are likely to be ministers of state in the various ministries.

By Jude Ezinwoke

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