Tuesday, June 23, 2015


23rd June, 2015

The Nigerian National Assembly (NASS) has been engulfed in leadership crisis for the past two weeks. The elections of Senators Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara as Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives respectively have been enveloped in controversy. Consequently, the NASS has not been able to make any progress as inauguration has since been postponed indefinitely.

Like all other Nigerians who have strong faith in the ‘change’ ideology, the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) is deeply disturbed by this ugly development.

Nigerians threw their weight fully behind the ruling party during the last general election and the least APC can do now is to drop buck-passing, find a middle course and move the nation forward. Only thus can our votes be made to count.   

Intra-party feuds are not strange in democracies all over the world but what marks a political culture as sophisticated is the ease and the speed with which solutions are found each time there is a threat of implosion. This is why APC leaders must quickly bury the hatched before political shenanigans and enemies of democracy capitalize on the in-fighting to cause greater damage.

Above all, APC leaders must demonstrate their political sagacity in handling the crisis without allowing it to escalate further in order to keep the military at bay. We should not give the military the impression that Nigerian politicians cannot handle democracy. An early resolution of the crisis in a friendly way will also assure Nigerians that our democracy has matured.

Why should the APC give leaders of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) cause to mock them? Nigerians know the PDP for its cluelessness, its waste of scarce resources, its unbridled promotion of corruption and its love for impunity, abuse of decorum, recklessness and lawlessness. That explains why the Nigerian ship drifted aimlessly at sea for sixteen years.

Have APC leaders forgotten so soon how former President Jonathan wielded the tyrant’s big stick against them? Security agents were illegally employed by Jonathan to silence you in the opposition camp. Hundreds were clamped in detention in the days preceding elections. Your movements and speeches were censored. Your aircrafts were denied landing right while you were midair. Those planning to take off were not allowed to do so, all in an effort to destabilize and frustrate you. Buhari’s certificate could not be found. But you weathered the storm and came out victorious. Will any sacrifice be too big in order to sustain this victory?

A verse of the Glorious Qur’an which teaches unity is very pertinent here. It says, “And hold fast the rope which Allah stretches out to you. Do not be divided. Remember Allah’s favour on you when you were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, such that, by His Grace, you became brothers (you formed the coalition that enabled you to win the election). You were on the brink of the pit of fire (Jonathan’s torments) and He saved you from it. Thus Allah makes His signs clear to you so that you may be guided (Qur’an 3:103).

MURIC therefore reminds APC leaders that this is not the time to allow experts in divide et impera to have their way. This is not the time to win and take all. It is the time to share with partners in the trench, time to extend the dividends of democracy to all Nigerians.

The contributions and sacrifices of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu cannot be overemphasized. His common sense revolution galvanized the control of a single state to six and later metamorphosed into what we have today.

Neither should anyone underestimate the gargantuan input of President Muhammadu Buhari’s party, the Congress For Progressive Change (CPC) which all alone gave Jonathan the run for his money in 2011 and garnered a large chunk of the day’s votes.

Yet the coalition of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and the CPC could still have had little effect on the 2015 general elections without the defection of the five governors.

The historical walkout at the PDP convention led by former Vice President Abubakar Atiku paved the way for the governors’ defection and spelled doom for the PDP administration. Stakeholders in the party must therefore acknowledge the fact that it was the partnership which worked.  

While we admit that intra-party conflict is good for democracy because it promotes transparency and free speech, we must know the limits. We must know when the party is pushed to the edge of the precipice. That is the time to allow the spirit of give-and-take.

Finally, MURIC strongly appeals to the top echelon of the party to make more sacrifices now in order to strengthen the party. Those who stoop early conquer convincingly. Giving so much and taking so little is the hallmark of altruism. Nay, it is the height of leadership quality. To the authors of the conspiracy which has engulfed the NASS, we remind them that posterity will only honour them if they think more of Nigeria and less of themselves.

Professor Ishaq Akintola,
Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC)

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