Weekly political notes
Why We Can’t Reconvene National Assembly Now- Saraki, Dogara
The Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara, have said a date has not been set for the reconvening of the Senate and the House of Representatives to consider the request by President Buhari for funding the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) 2019 elections.
Saraki and Dogara in a statement signed by their media aides, Yusuph Olaniyonu and Turaki Hassan argued that the National Assembly cannot reconvene until the committees set up to consider INEC budget have a report to present.“Until the Committees have a ready report for the consideration of the two chambers, it will be most irresponsible to recall members from recess especially those that may have travelled to Saudi Arabia for the Hajj,” they added.
While Saraki and Dogara’s excuse for not reconvening National Assembly soon appears tenable and political, they should know that there is a timeline for them to reconvene, especially when there is urgency. Again, both the executive and National Assembly members should know that no matter what their interests are, the interest of Nigerians should be paramount at all times, unless the elected leaders have forgotten that they were elected by Nigerians to represent them.
Nigerians cannot be held to ransom due to selfish ambition that has pitched some members of the National Assembly against the Presidency and the APC national leadership. This is because they know that the battle for the soul of the National Assembly by the political gladiators is about the selfish ambitions of politicians ahead of 2019 elections. It is not about the welfare of ordinary Nigerians.
Of utmost importance in a democracy at all times is the strict adherence to the rule of law and constitutionalism. There is no alternative to it. It is for this reason that major actors in the ongoing political ding-dong between the ruling All Progressives Congress, the Presidency and the opposition, Peoples Democratic Party ahead of 2019 polls should play by the rules. It shouldn’t be about individuals or political party in power, it should be about deepening and sustaining the country’s democracy.
We Are Working With Some PDP Senators To Remove Saraki-APC
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has disclosed that it is working with some PDP senators, in its quest to remove the Senate President, Bukola Saraki.This was disclosed in a statement issued by the Acting National Publicity Secretary of APC, Mr Yekini Nabena.“As a Party, we don’t believe in inducing lawmakers to achieve our legitimate goal of removing Saraki as Senate President. We will get the support of some PDP Senators to get the required 2/3 votes and impeach Saraki. We are already talking to some PDP Senators who believe and support the direction of the President Muhammadu Buhari administration to achieve our legitimate goal,” the party said.
Even though, not many Nigerians would believe APC, it is expected of the party to toe constitutional line, by getting the required two-third majority of senators to impeach Saraki. It is not enough for APC leadership to insist that Saraki must go without fulfilling the constitutional requirement to remove him. Now that APC has said they are working with some PDP senators to remove Saraki, this can only be confirmed when the Senate reconvenes. If upon resumption, two-third of the senators supports Saraki’s impeachment or prevails on him to resign before he is removed, that is democracy in action. But if that fails to happen, it means that APC has failed again.
What Nigerians and the law are against is illegal removal of Saraki as Senate President. Nobody cares or bothers how APC gets two-third majority of senators to impeach him. For Saraki, it is hoped that he is not surprised by APC’s threat, knowing full well that politicians including him cannot be trusted in a situation like this. Politicians usually cave in easily, especially when the powers-that-be dangle carrots before them. Besides, majority of the politicians have skeleton in their cupboards and this is the time, it is can be used against them and the senators are not different.
INEC Registers 23 New Parties, Extends Voters Registration Deadline
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) has registered 23 new political parties, ahead of the 2019 general election.According to reports, INEC has also extended the ongoing Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise by two weeks. The commission initially said it would suspend the exercise on August 17 until after the 2019 general elections.The national chairpersons and secretaries of the new parties have been invited to receive their respective certificates of registration at the INEC headquarters on August 16 at Abuja.
No doubt, INEC’s action in this direction is in line with its constitutional responsibilities. With the extension of registration deadline, more Nigerians have been afforded opportunity to register. But that does not mean that every eligible voter will be interested to register, having lost confidence in the electoral process. It is hoped that INEC will promptly produce Permanent Voters’ Cards (PVCs) for these late registrants ahead of 2019, so that what happened in some states in 2015 will not repeat itself.
With additional new 23 registered parties, Nigeria now has 91 political parties with only three or thereabout being visible and functional. This development is against the position of advocates of two-party system. It is possible that more political parties will be registered in future. But if one may ask; do these parties meet the constitutional requirements before registration or were they registered because of their promoters’ relationship with some INEC personnel? This is because one of the requirements for political party registration is for the proposed party to have offices in Abuja and two-third states across the country.Majority of the registered parties have no presence in most states. It starts and ends in the briefcase of their promoters, who use them as a means of earning a living during elections.Meanwhile, INEC appears helpless in stopping further registration of parties, because efforts in the past to deregister non-performing parties was defeated in the court.
How Akpabio Was Threatened To Join APC-Lamido
Ex-governor of Jigawa State and Peoples Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Alhaji Sule Lamido, on Tuesday, said that Senator Godswill Akpabio defected because he was “afraid.”While addressing delegates to the next month’s national convention of PDP, Lamido said Akpabio who defected from the PDP went to the APC for “protection,” alleging that the APC government showed “Senator Akpabio some files and he became afraid”
Politicians are funny and very crafty. They know how to bamboozle some Nigerians by telling them what they want to hear. Otherwise, what is the business of Lamido with Akpabio’s defection, when Akpabio has the right to associate the way he likes. Is Lamido, who also has corruption cases alongside his sons at the anti-graft agency, EFCC, saying that if his own case file were shown to him he would have defected to APC? Or is Lamido saying that his tenure as governor of Jigawa was corrupt free? That is hard to believe.
Lamido is not Akpabio’s spokesman to tell Nigerians why he defected to APC. Akpabio has since denied that he was compelled to defect to APC, because of corruption case hanging on his neck. Instead of dissipating energies on Akpabio’s defection, Lamido should tell Nigerians what he will do if elected president. Akpabio’s defection has no place in Lamido’s aspiration to become president. After all, if Lamido has seen Akpabio as a stumbling block to his ambition in PDP before now, Akpabio’s defection to APC should be a blessing in disguise for him.
2019: You Can’t Speak For Nigerians On Buhari’s Re-election, Tinubu Tells Obasanjo
A Chieftain of All Progressives Congress (APC) and former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, Tuesday, said Olusegun Obasanjo has failed as a leader during his tenure and lacked the credibility to speak for Nigerians on who to vote for in the 2019 general elections and cannot stop President Buhari’s victory.
However, Tinubu, also gave credit to Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo for his prompt intervention in the wake of invasion of the National Assembly by men of the Department of State Security, saying, Osinbajo saved Nigeria’s democracy from crumbling. The APC leader made the remarks at a stakeholders and consultative meeting of APC chieftains and members at the party’s Secretariat Lagos.Hmmm, Tinubu is at it again. Having been quiet for sometime now, it appears Tinubu’s support for Buhari’s presidency come 2019 is unshaken. His outburst that Obasanjo cannot decide Buhari’s victory in 2019 is a sign that he is prepared to work for Buhari’s victory. But whether he is just playing along with Buhari will be known later. Whatever it is, Tinubu cannot underestimate Obasanjo’s influence in political calculation in Nigeria. Obasanjo is a factor and Tinubu knows it and cannot dismiss it like that.
After all, it was the same Tinubu, who led APC team to Abeokuta to solicit Obasanjo’s support for Buhari in 2015. What has changed between 2015 and now that makes Tinubu think that Obasanjo is inconsequential in political calculations ahead of 2019 polls. Nigerians know that Tinubu has solid political base in the Southwest zone and beyond, but that does not mean that it cannot be balkanised in 2019.
So, if Tinubu a former governor of Lagos can speak for Nigerians on Buhari’s 2019 ambition, what stops Obasanjo, a former military Head of State and two-term president of the country from telling Nigerians his position on Buhari’s ambition? It is only that Obasanjo spoke after falling apart with Buhari’s government. If Obasanjo had spoken earlier than he did, Nigerians would have listened more.
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