ANALYSIS: Enemies Within: Is Saraki, Dogara For Self Or National Interest?Featured, Featured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News Friday, June 26th, 2015
By Tajudeen Balogun, Head, African Examiner, Nigeria Bureau – “All great leaders since Moses have known that a feared enemy must be crushed completely. (Sometimes they have learned this the hard way). If one ember is left alight, no matter how dimly, it smolders, a fire will eventually break out. More is lost through stopping halfway than through total annihilation: The enemy will recover and will seek revenge. Crush him, not only in body, but in spirit”. This is the summary (Judgment) under Law 15 with sub title: “Crush Your Enemy Totally”, in the famous motivational book, THE 40 LAWS OF POWER, by Robert Greene.
Giving the manner in which another set of leadership emerged in the 8th National Assembly (Senate), it is very clear that the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and by extension, his Lower Chamber counterpart, the Speaker, Rt. Hon. Yakubu Dogara have the perception that they are in the midst of ‘foes’, therefore, nothing must be taken for granted by them, in a mission to trample on and exterminate the ‘unwanted fellows’.
After the first leadership rows, especially at the upper chamber (Senate) two weeks ago; the party’s disdain; the litigation threat by the aggrieved ruling Senators (but later dropped); the ruling party’s authorities, including its National Executives and Governors’ intervention, mediation and calls for regard to the party’s leadership wish, as well as public demand to all parties involved in the controversies for understanding, sacrifice, the urgent need to halt the distraction and move on, many Nigerians had hope for cooperation among the ruling legislators, with a view to end the stalemate and ultimately to have in place, a cohesive NASS.
Alas! The hope and expectation, given the developments Thursday (June 25, 2015) at both Legislative Chambers were dashed as the NASS leaders – Saraki and Dogara kept their games to their chest and failed to shift ground!
It is important to ask here that why Saraki and Dogara as well as their supporters should insist on “winner takes it all” attitude, especially when they are aware and had accepted that members of the ruling party are its products, therefore, are expected to bend to its standard? Why in spite of their party’s public declaration that it had put behind it, the first scene of power debacle, yet, the Senate President and Speaker remain adamant and kept rationalizing their actions? Then, talking about the project new Nigeria, can the duo of (Saraki and Dogara) explain to Nigerians which agenda they wish to promote at the NASS, which is or are different from the party’s, which they used the platform to be voted? Why Senator Saraki appears scared or lacks trust in working with his fellow party men (endorsed by their leaders)? What agenda Saraki’s party leaders have, different from the ones promised Nigerians during the electioneering campaign? Is Saraki being deceived or being hunted by his own shadow? To a very large extent, Saraki’s interest is very much likely to be personal rather than collective or National.
However, the Senate President should be mindful of the implications of his actions. First is that, with the support he presently enjoys from the opposition PDP colleagues, it is most likely his party agenda will be frustrated due to overriding interest of the ‘strange fellows’. Then the question is, can Saraki resist the antics of those who are bent on making his party to fail? Again, has the new Senate President ever reasoned that his present insubordination to his party’s leaders is a confirmation and vindication of the same leaders who lacked trust in him, the major reason for not considering him in the first place? Most regrettably, is Senator Saraki aware that, with what is going on between him and his present party, the opposition and its members will and cannot hold him in confidence on critical issues of this nature, especially given his pedigree of crisis of confidence and interest, in case he returns to the PDP?
It is very important Senator Saraki is asked, that, if in his party’s Chairman or President Muhammadu Buhari’s shoes, what would he have done differently, than insisting on obedience to the party’s authorities so as to achieve the common goals – good governance, empowered citizens and greater Nigeria?
And just like he postulated in the theory of grabbing power, under Law 12, Greene said: “One sincere and honest move will cover over dozens of dishonest ones; Open-hearted gestures of honesty and generosity bring down the guard of even the most suspicious people. Once your selective honesty opens a hole in their armor, you can deceive and manipulate them at will. A timely gift-a Trojan horse- will serve the same purpose”; with his present posture, Saraki seems to have secretly schemed to use his present political platform to rise to the present position, and might have had his eyes on the bigger one, in the future, using the present as a launch pad. It does not really matter, the platform could change, once the need arises.
Saraki might have also been driven by the same theory and passion for power, when last week Friday visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital with some of his supporters in the APC and PDP in the Senate. If truly and sincerely his visit to Obasanjo was to seek truce in the ongoing tussle, he would not have again backslided and disregarded the party’s nomination for the posts of principal officers yesterday. At best, his last weekend trip to Egbaland, could be described as window dressing; a show off and an attempt to play to the gallery.
It is not really clear whether Dogara was acting a written script or equally out, on a self-seeking mission, especially for him to have declined reading his party’s nomination for the House principal officers’ appointment, a situation that occasioned another round of chaos in the Lower Legislative chamber Thursday.
As argued by some, that the stance of the leaders in both chambers is tailored towards independence of the legislative arm of government, I dare say no and that the point is lost. In the first place, those on that side of divide should realize (or may I say) are fully aware that the opposition party, having seen the crack in the ruling party, used the advantage of the situation and fueled the stalemate. In order words, the unfolding tussle is not totally real, rather, was influenced remotely.
Two is that the issue in focus is exactly like a business organization and its ownership. No entrepreneur would want to risk engaging workers he has no confidence and trust, as this has strong bearing in the performance, success and otherwise of the business. In effect, the APC as the ruling party as well as the President must be interested and involved “objectively” in the internal process to choose those who occupy key positions at the various levels of government.
The same applies to the choice of Ministers and aides, as the success or failure of the government depends on their commitment to the party and their superiors, with respect to the party’s agenda and interest of the general public. Since the party and ultimately the President, take responsibility, why should they not be interested in the person they trust and believe they can work with without ruffling of the feathers? Here, the interest I am promoting is ultimately the common man’s, which will automatically be to the credit of the ruling party and the President.
This takes me back to President Buhari’s indifference to the choice of NASS leadership from the outset. As I mentioned fortnight ago (June 12, 2015) in my Analysis titled: Buhari’s Administration: APC Executive; PDP Legislature, Mr. President did not help his course, nor his party’s, hence the prevailing troubles. If he had involved and intervened in time, the confusion and uprising in the ruling party, the NASS and lingering public debates on the subject would have been avoided.
What I am promoting here is not about certain political Godfather, not necessarily directly in charge of the affairs of their States, yet seat on all the political appointments, giving little or no chance to the incumbent. This can be considered as an imposition and there is need for it to be reasonably checked in the Nigerian politics.
Now that Senator Saraki has drawn another battle line and his counterpart in the House, Dogara is on the verge of doing the same, I believe there is nothing the APC could do, than sanction. But could that work? I make bold to say no. Instead of taking disciplinary action, this is the time for President Buhari and the party’s top hierarchy to face another reality (as it did the first time), invite, discuss with Saraki and seek his cooperation with his team in the Senate, ultimately for Mr. President and the ruling party to succeed and make headway.
President Buhari and his party must face the reality that Saraki is again on the edge, so, punishing him will not help matter, rather, reasoning must prevail. Also, frustrating Saraki in whatever way, will not work, but become counter-productive, as he could decide to return to his old party. APC as a political party, I believe would agree with me, that so many pressure would have been mounting on him (Saraki), by his colleagues in the PDP to return ‘home’ even with juicy promises – the choice of 2019 for instance. This should not be taken for granted as I cannot imagine how devastating, disastrous and disappointing, Saraki’s defection to the PDP in this dispensation and at this moment.
I am again stressed about the failure of this government, if not in good terms with the NASS or totally taken over by the opposition – the PDP. Similarly, I am bothered how governance will suffer and how disappointed Nigerians who voted the APC and Buhari into power with the high hope of a new Nigeria, if Saraki abandons the ruling house and returns to his old party.
As for the House, amendment is still feasible. The party leadership could still wade in; listen to all parties again, seek understanding of Dogara and work on his confidence and trust with the party’s leaders.
Finally, it is time for Nigerians to be watchful of activities and attentive of the utterances by the NASS leadership. Nigerians should pay special attention to Saraki and Dogara as well as their principal officers just as they are already to the executive, ultimately to establish and confirm who is ready to work for change – say no to corruption; leakages; indiscipline; profligacy and most significantly to work towards achieving a new Nigeria that promises a brighter future for the present and incoming generations. Not only watching, Nigerians must be ready to revolt against and demand for sack of any of the NASS leader, attempting to truncate their dream and desire for change which they voted for. Ultimately, if both Saraki and Dogara commit themselves to their campaign promises, I believe they will be part of the success story of the present government. This should be their ultimate aspiration and desire. Fraudulent sharing of their political interest across parties is very wrong and undesirable. Therefore, the two gentlemen must and need to have a rethink! They should put Nigeria above other interest and agenda.
RE: The Characters To Watch In This Dispensation
On Friday, June 5, 2015, my sub piece focused on certain opposition PDP members, including the Ekiti State Governor, Ayodele Fayose; the one the people he claims to be governing address as the “Caretaker Governor” of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike and the National Publicist of their party, Olisa Metuh as individuals to pay special attention, especially, their actions and public speeches. As I write, these men are in the news and issues they were mentioned were expectedly controversial. For instance, Fayose last week reportedly rejected the appointment of his neighbouring State (Ondo) Governor, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko as the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum. He was said to have premised his rejection on the argument that “Iroko” of Ondo politics failed to deliver his State to the party’s Presidential candidate and former President Goodluck Jonathan. Isn’t this argument petty and treacherous? The man, as I stated it in the past, takes delight in being embroiled in avoidable brouhaha, so expect more from the apostle of “stomach infrastructure” politics.
Mr. “Caretaker Governor” on the other hand and in his legacy of good governance, also last week showed the way out to over 300 lecturers of the Rivers State Polytechnic. Please what is or are the reasons he adduced for the action that the immediate administration failed to see? What point Wike is proving and who is he trying to impress? The man, right from the ground of his inauguration (Friday May 29, 2015), till date, has said and done so many things, which I personally consider childish, vindictive, reckless, clueless and above all comical. Mr. “Caretaker Governor” sir, ride on with your drama, but I have this conviction (and every discerning mind does) that your days on that seat are numbered. But listen to this, if you wish to hate, do, but with restriction, for your worst enemy or opponent today, might be your best friend in the days to come. Such is life.
For Metuh, recall I mentioned in the previous sub piece that even if he passed the proficiency test, there remains the objectivity. Mr. Metuh, be told once again, that your job is not just about talking, even when there is no need for such. But if you do (already you have again been found wanting over this), just as I said then, you are only ranting. Mr. Metuh, if you are objective and factual in your releases, you will be taken serious. For instance, your rushing to press this week and picking citing faults, when President Buhari opened up for the first time (note after receiving reports from his transition committee) and narrated cases of financial recklessness and extravagance as well as impunity against the past administration, was a futile effort. Even if President Buhari did not mention this, Nigerians knew how wasteful the past government was and how corruption was taken to the higher level. In fact, what Nigerians are waiting for is probe. So, what should be your interest is how justice is done to your party’s men, summoned, when the real questioning begins. Once again, be told that your public communication on the PDP still lacks in the spirit of fairness, justice and objectivity. Still watching and looking forward to a new direction from you.
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