By Usama Dandare
It is no more news that the upper legislative chamber and the Presidency are engage in a political face-off with the latter accusing the former of sabotaging its efforts in the fight against corruption and the former accusing the latter of trying to control them. This renewed rifts may be democratically healthy but lethal to the collective peace and progress of this country.
While many are pointing fingers at the legislatives, others are of the opinion that the presidency should take home all the blames. Whatever, the problem facing the country’s leadership today isn’t the National Assembly nor the presidency but APC as a party, members of the ruling party has unfortunately succeeded in becoming the strongest opposition to themselves and the government in power. The current fracas emanating between the presidency and APC Senators only highlighted nothing but a serious lack of political structure and a glaring absence of party supremacy within the APC.
The APC national leadership has completely failed to put it house in order, it has lost control of the party and has also proven to be incapable of controlling it party members. It’s clear that APC national leader lacks the basic knowledge in conflict resolution and command no respect from party members especially the legislators, a deficiency that has successfully degraded the ruling party into a laughing stock to the delight of the naysayers.
However, APC leadership alone cannot be blame for the current misfortunes facing the party, the presidency in fact has the lion share of the blame. President Buhari and indeed those around him – who shared the common believe that party politics should be separated from governance – are to a large extent the sole architectures of all we are witnessing today. The government in power needs overall party support to succeed just as the party in power needs overall government support to function, there must be a sort of a linkage connecting the activities of both organs which is clearly missing in today’s regime.
The national party chairman for example is supposed to be given due recognition by the president and be involved in all government policy making and implementation in line with the party manifestation, he should at least have a say in government and participate fully in the appointment and firing of political office holders, only then party members will know his value and take him serious, but whereas he’s left with little or no recognition as in the case of today, then nobody will give a damn about his existence let alone his directives.
Even during the era of PDP despite their several shortcomings, the party in every angle was supreme and institutionalised, every PDP member used to worship the party and obeyed whatever instructions the party leadership issued without any delay. The PDP national leadership was so powerful that no party member can step on it toes and went away with it, they can expel and discipline anybody irrespective of position or status, we were all living witnesses when governors and members of the National Assembly were suspended from the party for various anti party activities. A reason why some people who felt they were above disciplinary actions left the party for APC, and today, these same people are here repeating even bigger offences than those they were sanctioned for in the PDP while APC keep handling them with kid gloves.
This has been the case since the coming of APC and shows no signs of progress. The election and appointment of principal officers for the 8th assembly which pitched party leaders and members against one another was the first pointer to how the APC as a political party came onboard without institutionalizing the most vital organ of party politics – party supremacy. This was where the current fracas all began. While the APC national leadership had already made a final decision on those to be elected and appointed as principal officers of the National Assembly in line with the doctrine of party supremacy, some stubborn members outsmarted the party with the support of the opposition to elect the assembly’s new leadership against the party’s decision, insisting that the 1999 constitutional provisions and the National Assembly’s Standing Rules should take precedence over party supremacy.
I my opinion, the main reason why APC national leadership failed to control and sanction it’s strong headed members is the gospel truth that the party’s leadership didn’t emerged on merit or fair electoral process, but on compromise and caprices of some few powerful figures including those currently in the National Assembly, a practice that often rubbish party constitution and nobody can challenge it, even those who try to do so are quickly suppressed by the powerful figures in the party. This perhaps is the reason that whenever there is need to enforce party supremacy and discipline on members as clearly enshrined in the party constitution, the party leadership becomes helpless, confused, and divided.
The lawmakers on the other hand and vast number of APC politicians only regards political party as a ladder to lift them to their various political destination where they will have the opportunity to sharpen their proboscis and suck national resources at the detriment of all and sundry. As such, they see nothing absolute and sacrosanct about political party and its supremacy, except during electioneering period when it comes to issuance of party tickets. This is undoubtedly one reason why APC members in the 8th assembly fell short of respect and loyalty to the party on whose crest they all rode to power, as just a handful of them are still loyal to the party. Even Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara wouldn’t have been where they are today had’it been they have a little bit of respect for APC, same goes to over 90% of them in both chambers.
There’s a serious problem of disloyalty, enmity and sabotage within the ruling APC that required with all sense of urgency a proactive and decisive measure to house and unite all party members effectively. Call me a prophet of doom if you like but keep it at the back of your mind that I once said these festering crisis will rip APC apart and hinder smooth governance for President Buhari if not properly tackled. Only time will tell.
Usama Dandare, a social commentator writes from Sokoto. Reach him via Email: [email protected], Facebook: facebook. com/usama.dandare, Twitter: @osadaby