SARAKI, DSS, Police And The Rule Of Law
By: Ademola Orunbon
The besiege, invasion and deployment of masked DSS and police officers to the National Assembly in targeting of the leadership of the legislators in the country of ours had been seen as to be promoting the kind of political intolerance associated with countries such as Zimbabwe, Burundi and Democratic Republic of Congo, for example, where opposition to government is always met with a serious crackdown. These countries, including Nigeria, would have experienced a far higher level of development if they had inculcated the policies of tolerance and inclusiveness. It is only a government that has become a level of desperation to hold on to power – at all costs. President Buhari should halt this dictatorial tendency, while we will be the first to assert the bedrock principle that no one is above the law, the recent events have crossed the line from law enforcement into a brazen intolerance for dissent.
Noah Feldman, a constitutional law professor at Harvard Law School, says. “The people with the guns listen to the president. So if the president marched in and had a Supreme Court justice removed, you’d need some way to respond to that. That’s a high crime.” The people in power should realized that our constitution and state institution should be seen to be respected, conscientious and accountable. Nowhere in the world today that disrespected the rule of the law than Nigeria, our men and women in position of authority do not have respect for the rule of law as they seen it as they were above the law being institutionalized by the gentle men of the people who made the laws and even our lawmakers too, I see no reason why the Supreme Court would be given a judgment and our rulers doesn’t abide by the rulings.
There are 109 seats in the Senate with only two seats declared vacant following the death of two Senators. The deceased Senators are Ali Wakili (APC, Bauchi-South) and Mustapha Bukar (APC Katsina-North). Though, according to the Senator Ahmed Lawan-led APC caucus had after the defection of 14 APC Senators claimed that his party still maintained its majority status with 52 members, while PDP had 50; the ADC, three and APGA, two. But the attention of APC legislators ought to be drawn to section 50 sub-section 2 ((a),( b),( c)) of the constitution which provides that the President and Deputy Senate President can only be removed by the votes of not less two-thirds majority of the entirety of the members of the Senate.
According to the section, The President or Deputy President of the Senate or Speaker or Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives shall vacate his office- (a) if he ceases to be a member of the Senate or of the House of Representative, as the case may be, otherwise than by reason of a dissolution of the Senate or the House of Representative; or (b) when the House of which he was a member first sits after any dissolution of that House; or (c) if he is removed from office by a resolution of the Senate or of the House of Representative, as the case may be, by the votes of not less that two-thirds majority of the members of that House.
The move by the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki being defected to Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from All Progressives Congress (APC) should not be a surprised to the APC’s members in the country and been causing rifts in seemingly unbreakable All Progressive Congresses with many members loyalty being questioned, Saraki was born in 19th December, 1962, and is originally a medical doctor, his father is Dr. Abubakar Olusola Saraki, a onetime Senate President too (1979 – 1983) in Nigeria. So, Saraki was born into politics and knows what politics is all about in the country, a rare genius, brilliant politician, mentor and a philanthropist, he knows the game of Nigeria politics, all it takes in successful when it talks of politics and the rules that bind the game.
His political carrier kick started when he was appointed by the former President Olusegun Obasanjo as his Special Assistant on Budget issues in 2000, he was the one who initiated the Fiscal Responsibility Bill and served on the Economic Policy Coordination Committee, but on 2003 under the umbrella of the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, he ran and won the governorship of Kwara State. He was Kwara State governor for two terms, from 2003 till 2011, and had mostly positive reviews of his job. He was first Nigerian governor to be awarded the national honour, a Commander of the order of the Niger (CON). Many governors have tried to copy Saraki’s Community Health Insurance Scheme, environmental ‘Clean and Green’ Scheme and agricultural transformation Scheme, which have been praised as one of the reasons Kwara is a profitable and clean State. Before becoming a Senator, he was the former Chairman of the Nigerian Governor’s Forum.
The defection of Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki should not need to be bringing brouhaha and hullaballoo among the ruling party even calling on Saraki to resign or witch-hunting, humiliate and subjecting him into all these harassment was uncalled for, after all, what usually goes around, comes around. But, you won’t believe this – the same APC kicked against calls for Aminu Tambuwal to be removed when he left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as Speaker of House of Representative in 2014. Then majority, the PDP and its lawmakers, had presented the same argument the APC is waving at the moment. That the leader of the legislative chamber cannot come from the minority.
Lai Mohammed, the Spokesman of the APC, defended Tambuwal’s defection as being about the ‘fortunes of democracy’ and not about the party. According to him, “it is not about the fortunes of the party, it is about the fortunes of the country. Now, we are going to have more qualitative laws, and this is a man who enjoys support across board, so we have a speaker who is accepted on the right and the left.” Lai also went down memory lane to buttress his stance, citing the case of Ikem Ume-Ezeoke who did not step down as Speaker when he ended up in the minority party.
“Those who are saying that the Speaker should resign have forgotten history. In 1982 when the NPN and NPP accord broke down, Ume-Ezeoke did not step down as the Speaker neither did Wash Pam step down as the Deputy President of the Senate; he had said. Now, it is only four years down the line but the party is contradicting itself. A typical case of dancing to the tune that best suits you?. Though, it is very difficult to find fault but to do better! Now, the APC has found itself in the position of previous PDP had experienced which now very difficult for the coherent members to be perceived and tolerated. The party now aggravating more members in tackling the Senate President, Bukola Saraki and adding salt into the injury, because all their actions and reaction were been exposed to the international communities in ways and manners we play our politics, politics of bitterness and calumny.
The removal of Director General of DSS, Mr. Lawal Musa Daura by the Acting President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo was a good omen for the entire country as well as the ruling party because of the damage that would have been done to Nigeria at the International communities, removal of Senate President as well as Speaker of the House of Representatives does not need the heavy presence of Armed policemen and DSS but it just as simple as two-third majority of the both Upper and Lower chamber of the Houses of Assembly. Though, the crude removal of Saraki and Dogara by the APC apologists was to impress the PMB by presenting a ‘victory’ over Saraki and Dogara to him on his return. Believing that once the deed was done they would be calling the President who he would want as Senate President. After all, APC apologists used Daura for the purpose because he is the President’s relation and kinsman who is more or less a law unto himself in the administration.
They felt the DSS can carry out this action without any order from the Acting President who they kept out of the picture, they thought that the Acting President was not a problem. Again, whether the President knew this or not was unclear; but it’s obvious that the Acting President was not aware. But, the PDP legislators got wind of the plan and decided to get to the National Assembly to forestall any plan to crudely remove their leadership. The PDP legislators got there early while the APC legislators were holed up somewhere supposedly at a caucus meeting from where they were to move en masse to the National Assembly to sign impeach move letter of Saraki once secured by the DSS. Whether the Vice President sacked Daura after consultation with the President was not clear. But what is clear was that he did it knowing that it was the most obvious damage control measure to take considering the national and international uproar the incident had generated.
…Orunbon, a public affairs analyst, wrote in from Epe, Lagos State.
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