I Belong To Everybody And I Belong To Nobody: A Focus On The National Assembly Leadership Election

By Terfa Naswem

When President Muhammadu Buhari said in his inauguration speech that: “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody”, I was very impressed and knew that our democracy would be reborn and nurtured by leaders whose spirits of patriotism for Nigeria never lingered despite how most unpatriotic leaders projected their personal interests above the collective interest of Nigerians.

I don’t blame the Clerk for refusing to shift the inauguration time which President Buhari’s spokesperson, Garba Shehu said Buhari requested, but I blame APC because since 1999, no clerk has ever shifted the National Assembly inauguration time. I blame APC for not putting its house in order on time knowing very well that PDP was looking for the slightest opportunity to turn things around to their advantage.

I urge APC to wake up and make sure that they will be wiser in the inauguration of the 9th National Assembly in 2019. As for the 8th National Assembly, they should just accept their mistake and move Nigeria forward.

Despite that fact that Saraki and Dogara are leaders that I doubt their ability to fight for the common good and promote stability in an environment that yearns for it, I am very glad that Buhari has accepted to work with them despite enormous pressures on him from APC leaders to do otherwise.

Since 1999 when I started observing Nigerian politics at the national level, this is the first time the president refused to interfere in the National Assembly leadership election.

I know that what Saraki and Dogara did was not in line with the decision of APC which I personally didn’t support their actions, but since a constitutional process was followed in the issue just as Buhari has admitted, APC Senators and members of House of Representatives should just resolved the crisis and not allow this to have a tremendous negative effect on Buhari’ government.

Both Saraki and Dogara among others who defected from PDP to APC contributed their best to the party. Buhari has never won in Kwara state in all his previous elections nor did ACN or ANPP ever won any senate election in the state. Saraki worked very hard to give APC three senators plus a Governor and still some people see him as an outcast because he asked to be allowed to become the Senate President. Politics is a game not a war and party should treat all its members as equal. APC is very strong in government today because of most of those who defected from PDP and joined the party.

The question I always ask is if People like, Tambuwal, Amaechi, Atiku, Saraki, Gemade and others never joined APC, would the party be where it is today? My answer is no. So PDP’s “blood” still flows in APC.

I blame the 51 APC Senators for not being smart enough which led to emergence of Saraki as Senate President. They slacked in their schemes and Saraki took that opportunity. I think next time they should be wiser. This should teach them a lesson that the game of politics is played and won by those who are faster than their shadow.

Even if PDP had all the Senators and House of Representatives members, they would not be as corrupt as they were in the government of Jonathan because Buhari will not allow the National Assembly to promote corruption with impunity like they did during the Jonathan’s era. Both PDP and APC Senators should ensure that they do their best for the interest of Nigerians because Nigerians are watching and some have already started dusting their Permanent Voter’s Card ahead of 2019 if anybody messes up with issues that should benefit Nigerians.

I am strongly believe that Buhari will make Nigeria the kind of country we will always love.

I urge Buhari not to interfere with the activities of National Assembly except in issues that are not for the common good. He should ensure the rule of law and allow each arm of government to have its independence. If this is done, “I belong to everybody and I belong to nobody” philosophy will stand the test of time.

I am proud to be associated with Buhari’s ideology and philosophy of leadership.