‘APC should leave National Assembly crisis and face governance’



AS the National Assembly prepares to reconvene, Deputy National Secretary of All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Comrade Jerry Obasi has urged leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) to seek a way to settle the leadership crisis rocking the legislature.

Obasi alleged that by waging its political battles within the National Assembly, the APC was frustrating national development and peace stressing that if care is not taken the harassment of floor functionaries and attempt to dictate to the legislators could reverse the progress of democracy in Nigeria.

Speaking in an interview with The Guardian, Obasi, who was Ebonyi State deputy governorship candidate of APGA in the April 11 election, said the leadership of APC should remember the diverse nature of the membership of NASS and cease from trying to spoon-feed the legislators.

According to him, “There are many dimensions to the National Assembly crisis; the dimension of ethnicity, internal politics of APC and the politics of the Assembly itself between the old and new legislators. But the fingers of APC godfathers in the crisis are becoming too hot for the legislatures as an independent arm to bear.

“So at a point the law makers looked at it and decided to produce leaders of their own choosing to lead the Senate and House of Representatives.

“That this development did not go down well with the APC leaders and overlords caused the crisis as they forget that outside the microcosm of APC in the Assembly, there are also members from the PDP, Accord Party (AP) and others parties. But the godfathers of APC are behaving as if every Nigerian is now in their party”.

Obasi who is also the immediate past State Chairman of APGA in Ebonyi State contended that in such a political situation in the legislature where the APC does not have absolute majority, the party ought “to reassess their strategies and carry other political parties along”.

He regretted that the way they have been carrying themselves, “APC leaders behave as though there is no other party except them and their interests” stressing that “this will not augur well for the democracy we have in Nigeria”.

Expressing his happiness over the election of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as President and Deputy President of Senate respectively, the APGA chief observed, “The politics of NASS today is so dynamic that it created an Ekweremadu from rival PDP and Igbo extraction as Deputy Senate President.

“If you look at Nigeria’s political history, there has always been a trinity of predominant ethnic groups, namely, Hausa, Igbo and Yoruba. The Hausa flank shows the Hausa/Fulani/Birom/Kaje/Kanuri; the Yoruba axis presents the Egba/Lagos/Awori/Okun while the Igbo flank has Ibibio/Asaba/Ijaw/Efik/Kalabari. You cannot subsume these groups in the pocket of one particular person, this is not helping our democracy.”

He enjoined leaders of APC to be a little more tolerant and liberal pointing out that the problems of Boko Haram, the MASSOB, MEND, OPC, which are expressions of social and political disagreements demand national cohesion warning that “we should not continue to create enabling vacuum for these agitations from where would-be tyrants, dictators and marauders will disturb the democratic process”.

On the uproar over the election of Ekweremadu as DSP, Obasi added, “I don’t see anything wrong with Ekweremadu becoming DSP. If not for anything else, his experience on the seat would count for national progress. In the US, Senators are encouraged with return tickets to reap from their experience but in Nigeria, they look at the National Assembly as a cartel arrangement to settle political dues without looking at the national interest or Nigeria as a system.

“For the change APC and Buhari promised and the change we expect, we do not deserve the ongoing attempts to pressure Ekweremadu to step down or the argument of who should lead the legislators heating up the polity. It is a minus for Buhari presidency and APC as a political party.

“Under (former President Shehu) Shagari we saw an (Edwin) Ume-Ezeoke from NPP lead the House of Representatives controlled by NPN. Earlier in the First Republic, we saw (Akwaeke) Nwafor-Orizu as Senate President in an NPC-controlled Federal Government; all that was for national unity and progress. But the way APC is going about its desire for leadership posts; they are giving Nigerians the impression that they are anarchists. The National Assembly should not be a place for political, ethnic or religious chauvinism”.

The APGA chieftain advised members of the National Assembly when they resume plenary, to face matters of urgent national importance including the carnage in the Northeast, resurgence of abduction and armed attacks and robberies in the South as well as the declining social well-being of Nigerians.

“The amount of killings under Buhari’s presidency exceeds that during (President Goodluck) Jonathan. I am not a fan of Jonathan because he had his own weakness; but APC should stop political bickering and face serious issues of good governance for which they voted Buhari,” he stated.

He also condemned the movement of Boko Haram prisoners to Ekwuluobia prison saying it is in bad taste since “the facility is a minimum security outfit that is not suitable for keeping such high caliber terrorists and criminals.”

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