NATIONAL chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) Comrade Adams Oshiomhole has been at his vocal best in the past week, dishing out orders to Senators of the APC to remove the President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki. He had also fired a notice to the Senate President, declaring that whether the Kwara Senator likes it or not, he will be impeached as Senate President.
At a point last week, the meetings between the chairman of APC and the Senators became a daily affair. Every night and noon, they would converge on some locations in Abuja to debate the singular topic of Saraki’s removal. Each passing day, Oshiomhole would found a way to repeat his warning; “Saraki must resign or get impeached!”
Like the chairman said, the subject of impeachment is not illegal. The 1999 Constitution actually provides processes and procedures by which elected officials can leave their office and impeachment is one of such conditions. But like I have also stated in earlier write up, the procedures are clearly stated.
Luckily, the processes have been further adjudicated upon by the Judiciary, in observance of the power of Judicial Review.
Having looked at the stated procedures and processes to impeach the Senate President and his Deputy, which emphasises the number 73 as the required two thirds majority, I have concluded that the magic number is a tall dream for the APC and that Oshiomhole should spare us of his
high-sounding warnings to Saraki. If he feels it’s an important message he must deliver, he could possibly send personal messages to Saraki. He needs to leave the public out of this show as its becoming all sound and fury that signifies nothing. He has said the impeachment would be done legally, we can only wait and see.
To gain our attention, the chairman has talked about minority rule, he also talked about morality. The question of minority rule is already taken by the constitutional provisions. Whoever has control of two thirds majority can remove the Presiding officer of the Senate or the House of Representatives. But the question of morality looks like the politician eating his cake and having it. In 2014, when Oshiomhole’s APC was the beneficiary of the defection of Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who was Speaker of the House of Representatives, the party called the defection “an act of courage,” even though the APC remained the minority party in that chamber, Tambuwal retained his seat as the Presiding officer till the end of his tenure.
And then, you may ask, when did morality become an integral part of our politics? A political upstart is nurtured by some leaders; he gets his tutelage and funding from those leaders and when he comes of age, he dumps those who nurtured him and openly calls them names. That is the widespread practice in the two leading parties today. My verdict: No politician of the APC or PDP should bother us with issues of morality in politics.
On a serious note, the public has to evade the trap set for them by politicians in this case. Elections are by the corner and politicians are devising clever ways of seizing our attention. Rather than allow us the space to think of serious existential issues, they want to drag us along the debate of defection and impeachment. In what way does the impeachment of Saraki put food on the table of the people on the street? In what way does Saraki’s ouster help the refusal of the Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to implement the 2018 budget as passed? In what way would the defection of Senator Akpabio help the Ministry of Finance fund the capital components of the budget? For 17 years, the Ibadan/Ogbomoso Ilorin Expressway has not been completed, despite claiming scores of lives annually. How does defection help that?
In real terms, the grandstanding of Oshiomhole, the harassment of the media space by agents of the ruling party, their opponents and sympathizers has nothing to do with the common good. It only serves the purpose of politics and is aimed at diverting attention from crucial issues of development.
Election time should be a season of scorecards not a season for debating inanities, especially in a developing economy like ours.
It pays the politician that attention is given to hooded men that seized the entrance of the National Assembly, while no one pays attention to the resurging acts of Boko Haram insurgents in the North East, where our soldiers are being made to needlessly pay the supreme price; it pays the politicians to get us discuss Saraki’s impeachment while paying no attention to the reports that the Gboko and Katsina-Ala axis of Benue state has been seized by a particular kidnapper, who is replaying Evans the Millionaire video all over; It pays the politician that you do not ask questions about the performance of the three full budgets the administration has got so far; the 2016, 2017 and 2018 budgets.
We the citizens must resist the ploy to drag us into their game; a game that seeks to create a sense of urgency only around elections but mute about performance in office.
Rather than worry ourselves about Oshiomhole’s concerns on Saraki and Ekweremadu, the people should ask the questions; how has the government fared in the execution of the three main budgets it has been saddled with. If all we get after examining the scorecards are excuses, then we the people should not shy away from wielding the big stick, like the employers of a non-performing boards would do.