SINCE 1999 when Nigeria returned to democracy, the same political party has always been the one controlling both the legislature and the executive arms at the Federal level.
And for want of further evidence of the inadequacies of our democratic practice, the governors have been the worst of the emperor posture, threatening the survival of the nascent democracy, but for the federal level; the legislature exists only in name at the state level. It is at best an arm of the governor’s office.
For the first 16 years of the current democratic experiment, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) controlled both the executive and legislative arms at the Federal level. The situation became dramatic in 2011 when, against the wish of the ruling party, Honourable Aminu Bello Tambuwal emerged as the Speaker of the green chambers, as against Honourable. Mulikat Adeola-Akande, who was regarded as the ruling party’s choice.
Tambuwal’s emergence, though caused a lot of ripples within the ruling party, never degenerated beyond manageable point. And Tambuwal was never declared persona non granta by the Sokoto State government for moving against the tide of the party’s wish. He remained the Speaker and a member of the ruling party till the very end, though, it was clear to all where his ideals were.
However, since the All Progressives Congress (APC) assumed power at the centre, the party has not been able to manage its affairs as a united political party.
In his inauguration speech, President Muhammadu Buhari was explicit that he was not going to intervene in the appointment of the leadership of the National Assembly, promising to work with whoever emerged as the leaders of the two chambers.
However, the ruling party hierarchy could not wait for the president to finish his speech when names of preferred candidates of the party for the National Assembly leadership began to fly in the air. Members of the two chambers, Senate and House of Representatives, were considered inconsequential as to have a say in the affairs of the Chambers, at least in the choice of its leadership.
Unfortunately, the ruling party has since been at daggers drawn with the leadership that emerged at the two chambers because its preferred candidates could not make it in the open election that produced these set of current leaders.
The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, has known no peace since he emerged, going from one battle to the other with some political commentators speculating that his own political party is the unseen hand behind his travails. From the Code of Conduct tribunal, he’s now facing another charge of criminal conspiracy before a regular court for allegedly forging the Senate rule.
Also, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Yakubu Dogara, is having a taste of the bile of his own party.
It is high time the ruling party resolved its internal wranglings and focus on tackling the economic challenges facing the country. Given the fact that the party met a bad economic situation, the expectations of Nigerians is for the government to swing into action and look at ways towards ameliorating the people’s problems.
The quantum of time devoted to working for the people through coordinated efforts of all the arms of government as compared to what is being dissipated on fighting and bringing down the National Assembly cannot be justified.
At a time when Nigerians are looking for solutions to the poor power supply, poor state of roads across the country, unpaid salaries of civil servants, the party in power is only busy with unnecessary in-fightings.
The Boko Haram insurgency, which the regime inherited, is not yet over, but today, Niger Delta militants are making crude oil production a problem with the frequent bombing of oil pipelines. Kidnapping has virtually become a part of us; these are issues the party should be looking towards addressing.
The South West geo-political zone, which used to be the most peaceful region in the country, is now having its share of militancy and kidnapping.
Having said this, it is important that the ruling party should have a rethink, thereby focusing on how to fulfill the promises that brought it to power. Anything short of this, is great disservice to the country.
If the PDP, the official opposition party, is not creating much problem for the APC, then it leaves much to be desired that the ruling party has now turned itself to an opposition against it own government.
- Ntim is a public affairs analyst.