The recent power tussle at the National Assembly has continued to generate different views from the public. Civil society groups and the general public have been voicing their concern over the squabble in the hallowed chambers. Many are of the opinion that the legislators voted in to serve the public have either seen it as an avenue to pursue their selfish interest or to show off their strength.
Speaking on the crisis, Chief Executive Officer, Humanity Services Project (HSP), Comrade Linus Okoroji, said that since the election that declared Senator Bukola Saraki as the Senate President is causing the present rift, members of the National Assembly should be allowed to pick who they want as their leaders and end the confusion that is threatening to hinder the work they were elected to do.
He said that there are salient issues that may put a question mark on the election that threw up Saraki as the Senate President.
His words: “Indeed, it cannot be amusing or interesting to any discerning and patriotic Nigeria citizen that the election in the Senate was flawed, intriguing and controversial. It raised certain issues that need clarification.
“First, where is the justice in the lack of presence of Senator Saraki’s well known fellow contestants, that is, Senator Lawan, the de facto nominee of the leadership of the APC? Secondly, was the Clerk of the Senate, who conducted the inauguration and election with only 57 senators-elects not on good notice of the absence of the other senators-elect, who claimed to be attending a meeting with the President?
Furthermore, was it the practice or precedent or legal in Senate to inaugurate some of members, leaving others to be inaugurated later, and hold the elections of the Senate leadership just for a simple reason that quorum had been formed?”
Other questions he raised were, “Who organised the purported meeting with the President, which eventually, the President did not attend; and was Saraki and the seven APC senators-elect, who were present at the inauguration and election not on notice about the purported meeting with the President?
“Is it not intriguing how these were present at the inauguration and election that produced Saraki as the Senate President? I asked the above questions to show glaringly that there appears to be unnecessarily, treachery, sabotage, and immoral intrigues that raise controversy and breach of trust over the said election.”
He asked Nigerians not to always play to the gallery and politicise every fundamental issue such as the recent Senate election. “It has not been helping us,” he said.
He added that the President, Muhammadu Buhari, holds a superior mandate, having been elected by majority of Nigerians and that the National Assembly should show some respect by settling their differences amicably.
“I mean, the president’s mandate is now superior to those of the party leaders. The party leaders must understand this, and work out a formula to manage the conflict, so as not to rubbish our hard-earned change,” he said.
Okoroji said that what is important to the majority of patriotic Nigerian citizens is that as soon as members of the National Assembly resume office they should pursue matters of national importance so as to realise the change Nigerians struggled to vote for.
“It does not matter who the APC leadership wants to resolve their internal differences or deal with the controversy arising from the Senate election, it must not distract from pursuing urgent matters that will bring about the achievement of the Change they had promised Nigerians.
According to him, “The APC leadership, in spite of all insinuations, must demonstrate maturity, understanding of national emergency and achieve cohesion in order to deliver on their manifesto and campaign promises to the Nigerians.”
Referring to the Scripture, he said: “A farmer went to his field and planted good crops, and unfortunately his enemy went in the night to sow weeds among the crops. The farmer decided, in order not to destroy the good crops, to leave the good crops and the weeds to grow together until harvest time. A word is enough for the wise.”
A political analyst and musician, Etcetera, also raised questions about the National Assembly members going on recess at this time. He said it was a shame that at a time the country was faced with many challenges, the Senate that was elected by Nigerians, was going on recess.
According to him, “They should not have gone on break in the first place. A Senate plagued by crisis going on break? Isn’t that insensitive? And the painful thing is that they are getting paid while they are on this unnecessary recess. How many days have they sat that they are going on recess? How many bills have they passed into law? Does this mean that we will have to wait till they resume seating by the end of July before President Buhari will submit his cabinet nominees to be screened?”
He added that the issues at the National Assembly, if not resolved early, could hinder the performance of Buhari’s government at this early stage. “I think it is time we paid serious attention to the calibre of men and women we elect into the National Assembly,” he said.
Etcetera who is also a singer with lyrics mostly based on political issues expressed the view that the National Assembly should operate on a part-time basis, saying; “We should also consider having the National Assembly run on part-time basis. Whereby they will seat only when they have urgent and important matters to discuss and their payment based on the number of days they seat. It will save the nation unnecessary expenses.
He said: “How can they tell us that the Senate is going on recess for some committees to carry out their assignment? Does that make any sense? Can’t the committees carry out their assignment while the Senate is in session? These guys are just shameless and it’s a pity we are stuck with them for four long years.”