The desperation of the chairman of All Progressive Congress (APC), Mr Adams Oshiomhole and raucous vituperation all over the media in his bid to promote “Saraki must be impeached” position of his party has taken a dangerous trajectory. Most Nigerian citizens are aware of the vehemence of Oshiomhole who has unleashed all arsenals in his wild goose chase to oust the incumbent Senate president, Dr Bukola Saraki. In this game of thrones, he was reported as insinuating sitting with APC senators at the Eagle Square to unseat the Senate president or reconvening the Senate illegally without following laid down procedure in the Senate rules. The initial political fiasco of ousting Saraki — recent siege on the senate — has created consternation of pugnacious proportion. While it has not been established in toto which persons were behind the siege on the National Assembly orchestrated by masked men of the DSS, which has seen the secret service director-general, Lawal Daura relieved of his position, all five fingers are pointing in direction of APC and its boisterous chairman whose brigandry echoes in many of his utterances.
Recall that it was this same man who made a snide remark at the widow who was caught in the enforcement of ending street hawking in Benin, Edo State. As the governor of Edo State, he beckoned on the wretched widow to ‘go and die’ in the glare of national TV. The video has been recirculating in recent times as we watch yet another period of militant and radical politics, which is threatening to torpedo the fourth republic. Since the emergence of Oshiomhole as APC chairman in 2018, he has shown in words and deeds that removing the senate president is his primary agenda and he is ready to explore every means possible, both legal or illegal to achieve his cynical objective. He has called for Saraki to vacate his position, a call that is alien to the laws of the land. The constitution is clear on the procedure for electing the Senate president and nowhere is it started that defection requires vacating executive positions which are attained through elections in the red chambers. The siege of the National Assembly has his fingerprints all over it as they were allegations in the media that he as APC chairman was the henchman amongst ‘influential politicians’ which the Inspector General of Police Idris fingered were responsible for the siege in a report submitted to acting President Osinbajo after investigation were ordered to unravel those behind the assault on Nigeria’s parliament and democracy.
Impeaching a senate president is constitutional and requires 2/3 of all members of the Senate as against 2/3 of a quorum of the senate according to section 50(2)C of the 1999 Constitution and in a judicial precedent by Justice George Oguntade. What is egregious remains that Adams Oshiomhole in his overzealous and radical behavior reminiscent of his past as a former trade union leader wants to forcefully reconvene the senate which is in a recess currently and is ready to flagrantly break the law and resort to illegality to achieve his ignoble aims. In context, keeping up with the composition of the senate nowadays requires constant verification from reliable sources like Wikipedia and the Senate website. As at the time of writing this article, the composition is as follows: APC (53), PDP (50), other parties (4) and vacant (2). From these numbers, it is clear the APC doe not have the numbers (73) to impeach the senate president and any usurping of the rule of law in ousting Saraki will most likely lead to anarchy. The Senate president recently defected to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the opposition party which helped bring him to power has vowed to defend his position and the constitution in the face of any attempt to subjugate the opposition by the ruling party.
Meanwhile, the National Assembly (NASS) suspended reconvening to consider request of virement of budgetary allocation to enable the executive fund the 2019 elections to the tune of N240bn after the leadership of the NASS Saraki and Rt. Hon. Dogara alerted Nigerians of attempts of APC caucus to cause chaos by calling for impeachment instead of focusing on the reasons for reconvening the senate from a recess. The threats of Oshiomhole exacerbates tensions rather than calms the polity. There is palpable disquietness as the battle to control the NASS Assembly continues but all lovers of democracy, majority of Nigerians who don’t want a truncation of the fourth republic are beckoning on the presidency and the APC leadership led by Oshiomhole not to jeopardise democracy. Given the abysmal performance of President Buhari’s administration in its 3 years and a few months since 2015, it will amount to complicating the already precarious condition of the masses. The recent siege on the National Assembly saw the Nigerian stock exchange nose diving. Investors are wary of the political climate while foreign governments have warned in the recent past that 2019 elections will be bloody if politicians do not sheath their swords.
Penultimate, impeaching Saraki by 73 out of the 109 Senators of the NASS is almost an intractable task for the APC as they have boxed themselves into a cul-de-sac given the winner take all approach they have adopted since coming to power in 2015 which has come back to hunt them. In a bid to exclude the nPDP which was led by Saraki, they lost the senate presidency. The PDP has been rejuvenated in recent times given the wave of defections, which has been in its favour all over the country. Even in the north west and north east which has been the strong hold of Buhari where his cult following and populism has held sway since 2003 when he first ran, many are disenchanted so gathering the required number of votes to impeach Saraki remains a pipe dream.
In conclusion, there is need to remind Oshiomhole that if he continues his bravado and radical approach to unseating Saraki and Nigeria’s democracy crashes, his ending will be inglorious as the whole world is watching what becomes of our democracy. If his highfalutin antics leads to ominous ends for the fourth republic, not only posterity but also Nigerians alive today will not forgive him. It is in the best interest of his party and Nigerians that he shifts his languid intransigence disposition. On the contrary, Senate president Saraki has remained sang-froid, addressed a press conference after the siege and called for neutral panel of inquiry into the siege on the National Assembly. Nigeria’s democracy must be protected, as it remains the best form of governance for the multi-ethnic country. The tantrums of a party chairman and whims and caprices of APC senators without the requisite votes to impeach a Senate president cannot be placed above national interest.
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