AS the stakes and permutations over the structure of leadership of the yet to be inaugurated 9th National Assembly get higher, it has become instructive to sound the alarm that the worst Nigerians will get in respect of the 9th National Assembly is to have an assembly that is answerable to a political party. It is imperative at this point to state clearly that if the grand design of the APC is allowed to hold, we may be saying goodbye to legislative governance.
The legislature is meant to act as a check on the executive. Even when President Muhammudu Buhari promises to run an inclusive government, his design for the 9th National Assembly will make an inclusive and virile government a mirage. Now that the APC has vowed not to allow the PDP to share any principal office or committee positions with it, we are indeed degenerating into a one party state. Talk of winner takes all. But this undemocratic design of the APC will indeed become its albatross in full time. The National Assembly is an independent democratic institution which forms part of the government.
The APC and its leadership should be aware that the National Assembly is an arm of government whose primary responsibility is to the people and not to the executive. President Buhari talked tongue-in-cheek when he said that he now looks forward to having harmonious relationship with the 9th National Assembly unlike when the opposition was heading the National Assembly. The relationship between the executive and the National Assembly should not be suspect.
The APC has no right in whatsoever guise to choose who holds what position in the National Assembly on the simple ground that the National Assembly has the exclusive right to choose its leaders. I agree that in that choice, party affiliation will play a major role, but that does not reduce the National Assembly to a mere assemblage of party men and women. It is an assemblage of the representatives of the people, who have decided to form a common course to provide leadership to the people who elected them. The 9th National Assembly should not be reduced to a party affair.
The choice of leaders of the 9th National Assembly should be the decision of the Assembly itself. Now that APC favours Lawal than Ndume, the power tussle that may ensure may lead to lose of confidence of the Nigerian people on the Assembly. Usually, such endorsement is made a secret. The reason being that the party should not be seen as influencing the leadership of the Assembly, otherwise, this may erode the confidence the people have on the Assembly. The people may begin to see the Assembly as a puppet National Assembly. The Assembly is an equal partner in governance.
One unfortunate issue rearing its head is that of confidence. The APC is said to have preferred Lawal because he was never a member of PDP. This is curious to say the least. In otherwords, the APC does not trust its members who were former members of the PDP. Talk of party chauvinism! It is not difficult for a student of party politics and political history to see the crack already developing in the APC. The party only managed it before the general elections. Lawal may be the preference of the core APC and the presidency, but Ndume has the influence within the Assembly.
It is only a matter of time before the crack becomes unmanageable. If this happens, the permutations of the APC may be unrealizable, wherein the PDP becomes a factor to reckon with. If this happens, the greatest loser will be the APC. This is so because it may lead to the disintegration of the APC before the next general election. APC should not be myopic, it should look into the future.
Already, since the APC has made its position known, the PDP is right when it said that its members have the equal right to hold such positions. It is a matter for the Assembly to decide. I said that PDP may be a force to reckon with if it nominates a candidate for instance for the senate presidency, and where APC is divided between Lawal and Ndume, PDP may succeed in a power sharing formular, if it cannot get some of these positions outrightly.
In fact, I heard in the news that the APC has already zoned all the principal offices of the senate to the political zones in the country. The APC should retrace its steps, as we are not running a political dynasty. The 9th National assembly should be allowed to have a mind of its own.
Indeed, the primary factors that should be the decider on who takes what position in the 9th National Assembly should be the leadership acumen of the candidates, their past performances in any position they have held, and indeed, if the person’s election is still been contested at the tribunal.
Unfortunately, the APC is not putting all these into consideration. It is only being sentimental. Why? Because it wants to take all. A government without a governing opposition will soon be a dictatorial government. I mean to say that an executive without a legislature (governing opposition), not a political party opposition is indeed a one man government.This is what APC and the presidency want. Nigerians must resist it. The PDP must resist it. We say no to a puppet 9th National Assembly. All members of the elected 9th National Assembly has a right inspite of the political parties they belong to hold any position in the senate and the house. We must unite for the common good of this nation despite our political differences. Governance is not a bounty.
It is a call to duty. If the APC understood this, it will not make the plunder it has made so far over this issue. APC likes to give the impression of itself as a decent political party. PDP is a villain. This is what the APC rides on. With the type of leadership APC has now and my intuition of what may happen in the future, the APC may not survive the next general election. A stitch in time will save the APC.
Elemuo writes from Port Harcourt.