NASS: Lawan, Gbajabiamila Buhari’s Choice

By Haruna Usman

Events of the past few weeks have thrown light on the desperation by a few but vocal senators-elect on the platform of the majority All Progressives Congress (APC) to thwart the emergence of Senator Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan from Yobe State as President of the ninth Senate. Lawan already enjoys support of majority of his colleagues.  While the obstinate APC senators don’t seem to be making any headway in their campaign to upstage Lawan to the coveted post, their secret was let loose by the response of Senate President Bukola Saraki to a salvo fired at him by national leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

By declaring that the APC leadership would be ‘shocked’ once again during the election of National Assembly presiding officers in June, Saraki made it apparent that his camp was working in cahoots with some rebellious APC senators to reenact the 2015 scenario. It is known that Senator Danjuma Goje; a former minister under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a PDP governor for 8 years and senator on the platform of PDP for 4 years has been working in the shadows, in utter disrespect of the resolution of not just the APC leadership on the senate presidency, but also President Muhammadu Buhari. By no means less than Goje; Senator Ali Ndume remains adamantly vocal in seeking support of the PDP block against a divided APC to clinch the Senate presidency.

It is unfortunate that while both Goje and Ndume are banking on a united PDP to achieve their aims, both are seeking to divide the APC family in a selfish display of political opportunism. In their rigmaroles and struggle against party supremacy, both aspirants have been making promises to the minority party against the interest of their party. While ambition is permissible, it becomes worrisome when party supremacy is sacrificed on the altar of personal interest. For Goje and Ndume, the APC is a mere vehicle for attaining political victory, in any rate they have both rode on the back of the PDP to their political destinations in the past. They have both rebelled and dumped political parties in the past, so what is different with the APC.

The truth remains that most federal lawmakers in the North owe their election victories to President Buhari’s popularity. But for the hurricane-like movement of Buhari’s political acceptance in the North, the aspirations of many of those elected to the National Assembly would have been mere history, recorded on the ballot papers. A glance at the political fortune of some top lawmakers such as Senate President Bukola Saraki tell the tales of bitter repercussion of moving against the Buhari train. Anything on the opposite side of the Buhari locomotive could easily get crushed, while those hanging on it were mostly safely delivered to their political destinations.

However, in their habitual schemes of the dirty game, some lawmakers elected to both the red and green side of the assembly are looking to betray the President and the party. It is a known fact that President Buhari is in tacit support of the position of the APC leadership on Lawan for Senate president and Femi Gbajabiamila as Speaker of the House of Representatives. For any lawmaker; incoming or continuing to claim ignorance of Mr. President’s position on the matter, is in itself an attempt at stabbing the party hierarchy in the back. A rejection of the APC position on Lawan and Gbajabiamila is invariably plot at sustaining the legislature-executive rift, as waged by the outgoing leadership of the National Assembly.

Apparently, the adamant lawmakers in both chambers are being nudged on by external interests. The spate of endorsements by various groups and the secret support to some of the aspirants by some APC stakeholders calls for concern. The scenario is true to a saying the masquerade cannot dance without a drummer, this time the drummers are in dark, leaving the masquerades bare. The grand plot is to shock the APC on inauguration by nominating another senator to slug it out with Lawan. The plan is to conduct the election by secret ballot, to enable the rebellious APC senators betray their party, hopefully with support of the over 40 PDP senators.

President Buhari needs a stable National Assembly to actualize his much touted Next Level agenda. The president cannot afford another legislature that deliberately constitutes an impediment to realization of his programmes and policies. Lawan has made this much clear by promising to adopt a more democratic and civilized approach to resolving disagreements with the executive arm of government. Even the propounds of the principle of separation of power were more interested in division of labour in the governance process not constant altercation between the arms of government. As we have experienced in the last four years, when the arms of government are at daggers drawn, it is the masses that suffer.

Usman wrote in this piece from Kaduna, Nigeria.

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