I can’t think of anyone likely to be inspired by the Senate led by the scheming, diabolical and treacherous Kwara Senator, Bukola Saraki. The illegal election of Saraki as the Senate leader has further driven the Senate to a new low.
Right from the days of David Mark, the Senate has become a more dyspeptic and dysfunctional institution. The continuous narrative of our nation informs us that corruption is the most essential leadership qualification in Nigerian politics. To be a member of the National Assembly you must be a certified or licensed thief.
There are many reasons individuals stand for election for public office. However, sooner or later all elected representatives would realize that they’ll have to follow party discipline rather than their primitive personal ambition and agenda.
Party discipline is likened to team spirit in sports. It’s like a team sport of soccer, basketball, and baseball. It is dependent on mutual trust, on close cooperation by all members of the team and confidence that each member will play his role.
Party discipline is also the unwritten rule that forces senators or reps to set aside their personal ambition or agenda if they conflict with the decisions made by their party. Of course dissent can be voiced in caucus meetings which are usually held behind closed doors.
In civilized democracies, the leadership of a party has the power to control its members in the legislature. Party discipline therefore is the ability of a party leader to get his party’s legislators to support the party line rather than follow their narrow, selfish motives. Party discipline is the guiding principle of democratic centralism. Indeed, V. I. Lenin rightly argued, it is “unity of action, freedom of discussion and criticism.”
The party is supreme. Party supremacy give party leaders with the capacity to enforce discipline even when the members disagree. Discipline is a necessary aspect of party cohesion in any multiparty setting. Party leaders exercise their influence over a group of people who have chosen to join the party, whom the party has agreed to accept, and whose support the leader may rely. The party leadership exercises his power and influence in the selection or election of members for legislative offices.
There is no crucial time for party discipline than now in Nigeria when Nigerians clearly and loudly said “YES” on March 28 to the much needed change to rescue Nigeria from destruction and ultimate oblivion Iron party discipline is a prerequisite for the All Progressives Party (APC) before it can successfully fulfill its campaign promises of war on corruption, freedom, and better life for Nigerians.
Saraki has demonstrated so far by his utterances and actions beyond any reasonable doubt that he’s not ready or willing to abide by APC’s party discipline and party rules. He has factionalized the party with his clique of political criminals. With his latest action by blocking party nominees for legislative offices and by appointing a member of the PDP opposition party as his deputy, Saraki has once again defected to PDP. Needless to say, this is incompatible with party spirit and continued membership of the party.
A party member is obligated to defend party unity – the major determinant for party strength and power. Those guilty of violating the rules of the party, and party discipline or party morality must answer to the party. Saraki has violated all.
The historical emergence and experience of APC, requires a member to be an active, selfless fighter for the implementation of President Buhari’s agenda. Any retreat from APC’s requirement of party discipline which the PDP defectors and revisionists like Saraki and co have embarked upon, leads to the party’s degeneration into a reformist anarchist or pseudo democratic organization.
We know democratic norms, principles, and etiquette, and the rule of law are alien to Nigerian politicians. This is so because majority of our politicians are criminals, thugs, ruffians, scalawags, barbarians, drop-outs, failures, name it. Because of their animal nature, love of power, and their propensity for looting of public treasury, they have no regard for democratic rules and law and order.
Take a survey of Nigeria’s political landscape and see how elected officials – governors, legislators, ex-presidents – go about the business of governance. What do you see? One example tells the complete story. Remember Ayodele Fayose the Ekiti State Governor? Remember how he became the governor? Remember how he chased 19 APC elected representatives of Ekiti people out of town and governed the state with seven PDP legislators?
Remember how he beat up a judge who was presiding over his case? Remember how he sealed off Ado-Ekiti the state capital from the rest of the world by blockade of timber logs, buses to prevent 19 APC legislators from coming to town to discharge their duties? Remember how he locked up the state House of Assembly to prevent the lawmakers from entering? Till tomorrow Fayose still presides over the state. Where in the world with democratic system of government could this happen or tolerated? Only in Nigeria.
Saraki has borrowed a leaf from Fayose’s Principles of Democracy – hooliganism and total disregard for democratic civilization. Since majority of the senators are thugs, criminals, and hoodlums headed by Saraki the Ogboju Ole (the bravest thief), it will amount to time wasting and a barren exercise for President Buhari to deal with Saraki in a democratic way. The only language the Sarakis of the world understand is the language of hooligans. And that’s how Saraki should be ejected from the Presidency of the Senate.
Here is how President Buhari can oust the Saraki by nuclear option. The first choice is to make him answerable to party rules and discipline. And if found guilty, he should be expelled from the party. Once that’s done, the President should appoint the party’s choice for the Senate President and Deputy Senate President.
While the expulsion brouhaha rages, Buhari should appoint a new no nonsense chairman of EFCC, establish a Corruption Court headed by a tough judge sympathetic to Buhari’s mission. Give presidential marching orders to the EFCC chairman and the judge of the new Corruption Court to speed up corruption and fraud cases including Sarakis, that have languished for years. After all, Saraki is scheming to abscond from justice from his many pending fraud and corruption cases with the EFCC. With that in place, Saraki will be slammed into the cooler for the peace, progress, and prosperity that we voted for on March 28.
The second choice, is for Buhari to invoke his presidential powers and that of the Commander-in-Chief and federate the National Assembly with soldiers and police and install the party’s nominees for the Speaker of the House as well as the Senate President. He should also instruct that henceforth all legislative business would be conducted with heavy military and police presence to provide security in the National Assembly until sanity is fully restored.
Yes, this may sound undemocratic. But this is Nigeria where democracy has never worked, it’s not working and will never work. If Fayose and Jonathan could get away with murder, why not Buhari? As a matter fact, Buhari will not be committing any impunity because (1) public opinion is solidly behind him, (2) Nigerians want to see the changes they voted for March 28 take place, (3) Nigerians are willing to remove obstructionists and traitors like Saraki who are out to derail their mandate, and (4) Nigerians want Buhari to get the job done any how and by any means necessary.
Saraki has shown irritating and visible contempt for the President and his VP. He once described Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo as a “mere commissioner.” Saraki is uninformed that under the presidential system the Seante President has a special responsibility to work with the President.
He failed to demonstrate that the Senate is a place where Senators have to subordinate their individual agendas and obdurate ambitions to take collective action through principled compromise. Saraki is not aware of the fact that the pursuit of national interest and commitment to the institution of the Senate is paramount.
By the way, who the hell is Bukola Saraki? We didn’t vote him as the president. He won the Kwara senatorial seat with paltry118, 879 votes against his PDP challenger Abdulrasak Abdulrahman who garnered 66,864 votes. Nigerians overwhelmingly elected Buhari with over 15 million votes. How can a criminal hold the mandate of 15 million plus Nigerians hostage? Who cares whether he’s the biggest fund raiser for the Buhari campaign. He’s not the financier of the people’s mandate given to Buhari March 28.
President Buhari and APC leadership should not raise their hands in the air as if there wrists were handcuffed by Saraki. Nigerians have sacrificed too much and for too long for change. We’ve gone too far now to be derailed by Saraki Ogboju Ole (a brave thief). The political nightmare and historic crisis initiated by Saraki must be nipped in the bud – NOW!
Who Will Explain Coronavirus To Buhari?
Coronavirus (COVID-19), an exorable doom, threatens life on the planet. It is exorable because it is conquerable. This explains why world leaders are taking the charge to combat this ominous apocalypse. It is a time for leadership from the fore-end; a time when citizens must hear their leaders speak to them; see them take action, making assurances and fulfilling those promises. The counsel, consolation and firm statement of a leader is imperative at this moment.
In Canada, Justin Trudeau, prime minister, despite being in self-isolation and his wife battling the virus after contracting it at a conference in the UK, is leading the fight against this dreaded disease from the fore. He is providing regular updates of the efforts of his government to roll back this scourge, listening and speaking to citizens.
In a popular broadcast on March 13, Justin spoke to citizens of Canada announcing measures to relieve the financial stress brought on by the pandemic on Canadians.
“We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries, or care for their kids or elderly family members. We need to make sure that Canadians have the options and the ability to follow the best public health advice and keep themselves safe,” he said.
In the UK, Boris Johnson, prime minister, leads the struggle against coronavirus. He provides updates, alongside health experts, on the measures his government is taking to tackle the spread of the disease. And in the US, Donald Trump is not shying away from speaking to Americans on the virus.
As a matter of fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lapses are often easily dismissed by his supporters or by Nigerians who do not know better. Some of them say, ‘’ Why must the president speak when the minister of health and the NCDC DG are already doing that?” This is a contemptible rationalisation of incompetence. Are they suggesting the president lacks the capacitance to understand the issues?’’
Really, I surmise the president has been walled off the ‘’candid cameras’’ over the years by his handlers – not just now – because he lacks the intellectual propensity to understand and discuss incisive issues. The last presidential media chat he held was in 2015 and it was a woeful outing. Also, his non-choreographed media interviews have been abysmal to say the least.
The truth is the unfiltered Buhari is a vacuously gaffing one. On October 14, 2016, standing beside Angela Merkel, German chancellor, Buhari said his wife, Aisha, ‘’belonged in the kitchen and the other room’’, when he was asked to comment on the first lady’s criticism of his government.
On April 18, 2018, at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, the president said the young citizens of the country he leads are lazy.
“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” he said during a panel appearance with world leaders at the forum.
In a February 2016 interview with UK Telegraph, Buhari dropped another clanger. He said the young citizens of his country have a knack for criminality and should not be granted asylum in the UK.
With the Buhari experience, it is indubitable that Nigerians must place a high premium on education — not just certificate – in choosing their leaders. The cost of electing leaders who do not have the intellectual grit to understand and handle matters is far too high.
The senate has asked the president to speak to citizens on this threat, and Nigerians are also asking the president to speak to them. This is an abnormality. Citizens must not beg to hear from their president. But because it is Buhari involved here, we have to beg and even excuse the crass inefficiency and vacuity.
Perhaps, the president is still trying to get a hang of it. I think he has ‘’capable handlers’’ who can break it down to him in ABC.
Mr President, speak to your citizens. The words of a leader are more resounding and assuring than the blandishment of proxies.
PS: Let’s follow all health protocol as advised by the NCDC.
• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.
• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.
• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.
• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.
Sanusi: Once Upon An Emir, By Wole Olaoye
We are all potential Ex-es: ex-student, ex-director, ex-lecturer, ex-senator, ex-governor, ex-president, ex-oba, ex-emir…. The inimitable Zik famously reminded us when he had a spat with Ukpabi Asika that Ex was an inevitable prefix for any human being as was evidenced by the fact that a certain young man who would someday become an ex-Administrator, was the son of an ex-postmaster!
So, what’s so apocalyptic about Sanusi Lamido Sanusi joining the ranks of ex-potentates? Nothing? Everything! Don’t ever think that bell you are hearing is tolling for the former Emir of Kano. No. It could be signalling the beginning of a comprehensive demystification of traditional rulership by plebeians holding tenured political power. In centuries past, no plebeian messed with the traditional institution. The halo of nobility, the sheer vastness of a prince’s hereditary powers, rights and privileges, made the subject know his place.
Yesterday’s subjects are today’s political sovereign. They make no pretences to sophistication. They load a gun to kill a spider. When you dethrone a monarch and then deprive him of his liberty, forcefully banishing him to a place without electricity and potable water, you are playing god. If it was all a public relations Olympics, the calm dignity with which Sanusi handled the humiliation made people all over the world admire his chutzpa and hand him the gold medal. A
Life and its many puzzles! Why is it that for some men and women, “their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall”? What do you do about an ego that knows no satiation? As the Preacher in the Good Book timelessly says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing… there is nothing new under the sun”.
The Yoruba have a poem that says just that. “The horse struts and frets and then dies. Being a veteran walker is no immunity to getting lost. Nothing new under the sun. I’ve seen kings reduced to slaves; and servants who mounted the throne. Haven’t my eyes beheld both river and sea? Haven’t I seen a hunchback on spindly legs, and a midget climbing a ladder to add condiment to the soup pot? Tell me, has anyone ever started a building from the roof?
The new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, is a cousin of his predecessor. As royal intrigues go, when the dust is settled the sword will be sheathed and brother will embrace brother. That is the way of princes. Eventually, outsiders will realise that all they can ever be in palace politics is outsiders. Our very own Nobel prize winning Kongi was not amused by the scandalous extra-judicial detention of the former emir.
He put the emir’s travail down to his progressive stance: “Emir Sanusi was a one-man EFCC sanitisation squad in the banking system, taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution…. “Most important of all, and most pertinently for the nation, Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits the nation is currently reaping….
The doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi. As for his current crowing Nemesis, a different kind of gates remain yawning to receive him when, as must, the days of governorship immunity finally come to an end.” Support for Sanusi is not limited to radical voices.
Veteran technocrat Alhaji Ahmed Joda penned a panegyric in support of the ex-emir: “The purpose of this letter to you is not to commiserate with you, because I know that you must have known the likely consequences of the principled position you have taken. The reality we must face in Northern Nigeria is that the evil forces of feudalism that have kept us in bondage for so long are still there and fighting. You have been the only voice that has been telling us this truth….”
It is easy to kick a man given a pin-fall by fate, or piss on the grave of a fallen warrior. Dead men don’t bite. Real friends show up when you are in life’s valley. Say what you will, I would rather have a friend like Nasir el Rufai when the chips are down. In the midst of all the turmoil, conspiracy theories have surfaced to the effect that the dethronement is but a political sleight-of-hand to propel Sanusi to Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Caution! Let’s separate the issues. Political succession is totally different from fundamental human rights. Sanusi is not my next president.
My views on power rotation are well documented. The ex-emir will go down in history as a champion for the rights of the poorest of the poor. He advocated for a new Northern Nigeria where old backward practices such as the almajiri system and irresponsible parenting will be abandoned. His was the voice crying out in the desert, lift my people up from the cesspit of penury. The attempt to demonise him after dethronement through various allegations, including one on religious fundamentalism, is dead on arrival. The same fate will befall the vilification of El Rufai on account of his loyalty to Sanusi. Please quote me: Modern challenges can never be resolved with a resort to medieval solutions.
Christopher Hitchens’ Q&A may someday apply to the ex-Kings College boy who’s now an ex-king.
Sanusi Dethronement: The North Only Beheads The Bearers Of Truth
By Fredrick Nwabufo
Northern Nigeria is prostrate. It is the axis of uglies – banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, diseases, ignorance, and drug abuse. Alas! The region’s elite are aware of the problems, but look away because the disequilibrious status quo sustains them. What is petrifying, however, is that they maul and clobber at anyone who spits the truth in their faces.
I think, this is the mortal sin of Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano – beyond his politics with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano.
The World Bank says 87 percent of Nigeria’s poor are in the north. And that while poverty is plummeting in the south, it is rocketing in the upper region.
“Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing especially in the north-west zone. Almost half of all poor lived in the north-west and the north accounts for 87 percent of all poor in the country in 2016,’’ the Bretton Woods institution said in its report entitled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ in February 2020.
In August, 2019, the federal government revealed that 1,460 people were killed by bandits in seven months. And that the north-west is the worst-hit by this bloody enterprise. The killings have steadied, expanding in proportion and execution in the region.
In his accustomed manner, Sanusi recently vocalised these depressing figures of retrogression in the north – as regards the World Bank report — earning himself praise from progressive Nigerians and reprimand from the usual suspects — those stuck in the cesspit of bigotry.
Also, the gadfly emir of Kano, whom I regard as the John the Baptist of the north for his vociferous condemnation of this status quo, is alone in his advocacy against irresponsible polygamy, Al-majiri and child marriage – practices the northern elite espouse. He is the face of a progressive north; the northerner of the new age.
As a matter of fact, on different occasions he had complained about the northern elite whom he said wanted to silence him for speaking the truth about the region.
‘’Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the north-east and north-west of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat; the noise has yet to die down. The response to this speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voices that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls,’’ he said at a lecture held to commemorate the Chibok girls abduction.
And I guess they can only take the throne away from him but cannot take away his royalty in the community of decent humans. Really, I believe the emir would rather give up his throne than be gagged by the shareholders of iniquity.
To say the least, Sanusi’s dethroning was not unexpected. Ganduje had always shown his hand in this plot. Really, the emir of Kano never hid his dislike for him. But what is there to like about a governor who was allegedly caught on camera stuffing wads of dollars into his babariga? In the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in the state, the emir was not shy in expressing his disapproval to Ganduje’s candidature.
So, Ganduje, who considers Sanusi a ‘’loud mouth’’, plotted a bitter revenge after he was re-elected. He had moved to remove the emir in 2018 but for the intervention of some ‘’higher powers’’. However, he whittle-down the power of the emir by creating new emirates from his domain. He was not done though. He rustled-up allegations, set up probe panels – all in the desperation to embarrass Sanusi.
But Sanusi was still talking.
Really, one of the most abrasive places to exist is in the circle of non-progressives. You talk different, think different or act different, they will feel threatened. Even when you try to clown around; the aboriginal clowns will still feel threatened because you do not look the part.
I think, Emir Sanusi is light-years away from the people he is dealing with in Kano government. He is needed more at the top echelon of government where he can contribute more meaningfully to the development of Nigeria.
Northern Nigeria is not ready for an emir like Sanusi. He is ahead of his time.
Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.
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