This call for Buhari to intervene in the current NASS leadership impasse
Unfortunately some of our countrymen appear utterly shortsighted and naive in their analysis of political development. Upon having listened to and read a plethora of mediocre commentaries regarding the NASS crisis, one which captures my attention albeit unbelievable is the persistent call for President Mohammadu Buhari (PMB) to intervene to resolve the NASS crisis. Question. Is the NASS, an arm of government, unable to reconcile their differences and understand why they were elected? Some have gone too far in their analysis as to blame the president for his perceived neutrality in the build up to the inauguration of the 8th Assembly. I find this position absurd and devoid of clear understanding of liberal democratic principles
under the presidential system which Nigeria operates. It's cliche to recite the principles of separation of powers. Although there is no such thing as absolute separation of power, in its simplest form, it ensures the diffusion of power within the arms of government. As absolute powers corrupt, it becomes important to create a system which negates the concentration of power in any one human institution. At the core of separation of powers, is a principle which prohibits meddlesomeness, it spells out clear functions and personnel for each arm. These arms are independent organs operating on a principle of checks and balances to ensure power is not abused. The electorate gave independent mandate to each elected arm believing that they would look out for their good.
Granted that PMB currently has huge deposit of political capital both within and outside Nigeria, I still think that the president would inevitably squander this political capital so quickly after meddling in the internal affairs of a separate arm of government - he will need most of this goodwill in the tail end of his administration and so must spend it with some wisdom. The call for the president to intervene, however well intentioned, is alien to the presidential system of government. Here, arms of government have distinct functions and personnel. The president, as head of executive, cannot be seen influencing either covertly or overtly the choice of personnel of the legislative arm. An institution established by law to check against likely drift to executive tyranny. The legislature has rules and procedures for electing their leaders, and managing conflicts. The rule of law and due process should be brought to bear in resolving the unnecessary impasse which bedevils the 8th Assembly. The Nigerian constitution has already vested in the office of the president huge powers - any extension of such powers could easily lead to tyrannical tendencies. This must be guarded against. The fact we have immense trust in Buhari should not cloud our sense of judgement into encouraging lawlessness in governance.
Challenge. Those instigating President Mohammadu Buhari to travel the route of meddling in the legislature, where he has no constitutional powers to do so, don't mean well for the president. It is my considered opinion that those elements of the president's party insisting to have their stooges in strategic principal offices of the NASS may have him as their primary target. President Mohammadu Buhari should work with the current leadership of NASS represented by Senator Saraki and Hon. Dogara, but allow them constitute their teams and run this arm of government according to the dictates of our law books. Has it ever occurred to the President that some of those that were instrumental to his emergence now feel threatened and would want to control him through the legislature? The president should see the emergence of the current NASS leadership as one of the best things that has happened to his presidency. A good relationship based on mutual respect is that which the president should pursue with Senator Saraki and Hon. Dogara. This is not too much to ask.
The NASS is in a state of crisis at the moment because of an unholy external interference under the guise of party supremacy. While it's vital for party interest to be respected by all party members, such interests must be agreed to following a collective decision of the relevant party organs. A situation where the hand is Esau's but the voice is Jacob's is unacceptable. The APC rode to power on a change mandate. The party must allow for internal democracy and abide by the stringent requirements of the constitution in its conduct. Some powerful individuals can not continue to hold sway in pursuit of selfish as opposed to collective agenda.