National Assembly “Crises”: Searching Seriously

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If you have been frantically looking out for my opinion on the recent National Assembly leadership election, you are probably searching too seriously. My only conclusion is that you must be an extremely interested party for pushing so hard to know my views on the matter.

For those who know, I have never been interested in who occupies the positions of Senate President and the Speaker of the House of Representatives until the day of the inaugural sitting. My disinterestedness steams from the fact that, for the contestants are those who do not, in my estimation, have the ingredients for exciting leadership for that important arm of government, at least as their profiles show!

Like I said earlier, I became only interested when the drama started. For me, I see nothing wrong in the June 9 election. I also do not share in the All Progressives Congress(APC) official position on the outcome. Quoting the Party’s spokesman, Lai Muhammed, he argued: “The party duly met and conducted a straw poll and clear candidates emerged for the posts of Senate President, Deputy Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives, supported by a majority of all Senators-elect and members-elect of the House of Representatives.” The APC’s thinking was on establishing party supremacy, but I am afraid, that is not a concept we are used to in Nigeria. The meeting the party had to select its “candidates” for the positions are not in any way biding on all members of the National Assembly. A mistake like this is too important to be ignored!

Quoting him further, he said: “All National Assembly members-elect who emerged on the platform of the party are bound by that decision. The party is supreme and its interest is superior to that of its individual members.” It is at this point that I understood APC’s frustration.

A strategy is good when it works wonders, but it can hurt when one loses a game in one’s own manoeuvres. This appears to be the position of the party today. This time four years ago, I watched members of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria(ACN) members in the National Assembly display victory signs at the announcement of AminuTambuwal as the new Speaker. Suffice to say, Tambuwal joined the newly registered APC to which ACN is a partner.

Again, let us look for the Constitutional requirements on the matter. To form a quorum in of the Chambers of the National Assembly requires in attendance one-third of its members. If that is correct, those who voted in both Chambers had more than half of its members in attendance. It is why I said I saw nothing wrong in any decision that might have been taken!

Those Members-elect who decided to attend to an even at the International Conference Centre(ICC) while such an important event is going on in the National Assembly could be classified as “boycotts”. I am not in the position to know if the APC just simply decided to boycott the event or just a time-buying tactic. Whatever the case, nothing positive ever comes out of boycott. It is only an early acceptance of defeat!

In my article, APC: The Question of Strategies,I have argued that the party’s strategies are in fact dangerous. The party won the election, not as a result of a super-fantastic strategy, but thanks to a abysmally poor tactical approach from the People’s Democratic Party(PDP). The APC must be thankful to people like Femi Fani-Kayode and AdamuMuazu for poor handling of the PDP campaigns.

I am sorry to say this, it appears to me that APC strategists largely went on a honeymoon after President MuhammaduBuhari was declared winner on 31 March. They largely assumed that with its 64 members in the Senate, all was well. It also appears they assumed the PDP was “dead” beyond resurrection as a result of its loss of power at the centre. President Buhari’s indifference as to who leads the National Assembly only complicated matters. In general, APC post-election strategies are at best below average. Can this be a case of mental fatigue?

In general, my unsolicited advice to the APC is that they should now live in the reality of having both houses of the National Assembly out of their control(except things change), at least for the next four years!

OlalekanWaheed ADIGUN is a writer, philosopher, academic, political risk analyst, and researcher. He is equally an independent political strategist and brand consultant for individuals, political organisations and campaigns. He is based in Lagos, Nigeria.

His write-ups can be viewed on his website

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Articles by Olalekan Waheed ADIGUN