Recent events unfolding in the polity are worrisome, not because the government is geared at fighting corruption which is plausible, but the seeming return to the Obasanjo and Jonathan era in the manner certain cases are given sensational expedition by different agencies of government and political groups. I read the piece by Mahmud Jega on Monday where he brought out two previous cases before Bukola Saraki’s, where the CCT was seen to have played politics on matters of asset declaration and similar cases. Last week, the Tribunal issued a warrant of arrest on the Senate President on the grounds that he failed to appear before it on the day he was asked to. I stand to support the institution of supremacy of the law and equality before the law.
I am not worried if the Senate President or the Speaker of the House of Reps would appear in any court of law. I am worried about when politics take the centre stage of judicial sanctity in the nation, where the judiciary, like any other institution, is a reflection of the age-long decadence that has paralyzed the country.
When I wrote a piece a few months ago about the manner in which the EFCC was adapting the old methodology which invariably reduces the public perception of the institution in the minds of several citizens, the meaning in that message was and is that Nigerians have asked, worked and got change in the March and April polls. What we require to see is new ways of doing things aside the old methodology which no doubt was shrouded in deep suspicion as a result of the involvement of those in authority on matters that ordinarily were legal and judicial.
When Obasanjo started the EFCC, no doubt Nuhu Ribadu was rightfully appointed. He had passion and understanding of the nature of the endemic national calamity across the length and breadth of the country. You could see the appointee’s agitation and drive to do all that he could to rid the nation of the evil called corruption. However, as time went by, he began to blur the thin line between war against corruption and dispositions of the ruling class. The regime ended with not much achieved not because the commission didn’t do well but mainly because of interference, and weaknesses of the nation’s judicial processes.
Both presidents Obasanjo and Jonathan did say consistently that they didn’t have any hand in the interference but the findings of Nigerians suggested that certain privileged individuals very close to them were responsible for the unfortunate developments. People suspect that there seems very clearly – either covertly or overtly – the reincarnation of what looks like cabals, whose activities rendered those governments in the past very unpopular. I hope the PMB administration would not allow such a cartel to exist.
I am not worried if Bukola Saraki is tried for impropriety, but I worry if his case is determined on the pedestals of political bickering arising from the APC’s internal wrangling on the leadership in the senate. This could be dangerous due to many reasons. I am worried that some people are angry about the turn of events in the Senate. I am worried also that the president, according to reports, has refused to meet with the Senate President, perhaps in solidarity with mainline APC, whose inactivity and political naivety resulted in the development.
When the president said he was not interested on who leads the National Assembly, my point then was that he was personally right, but politically wrong. Personally right because he could work with anybody and didn’t want to interfere with the process. Politically wrong because as the leader of his party he should have interest on what the position of his party ought to be. If he chose to stay away from the position of his party, he should not be worried about the outcome.
We warned severally between April 12th and June 9th that the APC did not seem to be learning from the mistakes of the PDP. They needed to put their house in order if they wanted a rancour-free inauguration of the NASS. They failed to and only thought they could adopt the same styles used by the failed PDP through compelling their elected members to act the way of the party on the eleventh hour. It didn’t work and what we see today is the expression of desperation of some members of the party. This, in my view, is capable of portraying the party in bad light.
The dangers of this seeming politicization of the Saraki affair is that it will take away quality time for governance and legislation, and it is also capable of derailing the APC into unnecessary fictionalization and crisis which will have negative impact on the ability of the government to deliver the much needed change in the polity. Those who are bent on unseating Saraki, I am of the view, are only agitating for personal ambitions in political obscurantism in view of the fact that each time he is ‘persecuted’ on the basis of politics, his support would rise on the floor of the Senate.
I wish to call on the president to take charge of his party so that political hawks do not run it and the government down, and this is very possible. It is not all about integrity and honesty, it is also about politics and governance. I am worried about the development in the polity. I am worried about change and I am worried that the writing on the wall seems to suggest that a clique is around the power center.
The party and its government must be good students of history by learning from the mistakes of our immediate and distant history in order for Nigeria to witness the desired change. Too much time on conflict has the capacity to massively distract, and 2019 is next door. Nigerians have asked and worked for change and they got it. Bring forth a new reality. The PDP is watching and they are laughing, and millions of us, the agents of this change, are unhappy at that.