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Implications of tipped balance of parties at lawmaking body in Abuja

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House of Representatives

A scenario similar to the pre-2015 elections defection saga that rocked the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), following the movement of the then Speaker of House Representatives and others to the All Progressives Congress (APC), played out in the National Assembly, yesterday, with 15 senators and 37 House members changing from the ruling political grouping to the opposition group.

With this development and adjournment of the plenary to September 26, governance would take the backseat, as politics and scramble for party tickets by these politicians shift to their various states.

At the states level, the lawmakers would confront their governors who have taken control of the party structures, depending on which side of the divide the states helmsmen stand.

They will also battle with the original members of the parties they have defected to, who will oppose their membership.

Going by INEC timetable, primary elections would commence next month and end by October. Having adjourned till September 26, the National Assembly members will henceforth abandon all legislative responsibilities in pursuit of return tickets.

What happens to President Muhammadu Buhari’s pending requests at the National Assembly that require approval? Such matters include funding for preparations towards the 2019 elections as well as some nominees and appointees that have not been screened and cleared, among others. With this, it is obvious that governance will suffer as 2019 politics have taken the front burner.

The development is not about good governance or tackling security challenges facing the country; it is about how the politicians can remain politically relevant ahead of and after 2019.

As the drama unfolds, public funds will continue to exchange hands to the detriment of the rest of Nigerians.

Speaking to The Guardian on the development, a human rights activist and lawyer, Mr. Joe Adri, accused the politicians of misleading Nigerians with their selfish politics ahead of 2019.

He said: “What happened in NASS where some APC members defected to PDP has nothing to do with the common good. It is all about the political and selfish interests of these politicians that have held the country down for years.

“This set of leaders and politicians cannot lead the country anywhere. It is time to rescue the country by championing paradigm shift in leadership recruitment. Nigeria needs fresh air.”

On how this drama will affect good governance in the country, Adri remarked: “Was there good governance before? What has been happening between the National Assembly and Presidency was cosmetic leadership devoid of people’s welfare but characterised by politics of selfish interests and survival. With what happened at National Assembly yesterday, governance has taken a back seat and politics centre stage.

“Nigerians should not expect any miracle or something good from government at all levels again. From state to state, public funds will be shared to people at party meetings and gatherings. The intrigues and scheming have commenced and the majority of Nigerians are the greatest losers, not the politicians. ”


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