A search for Adam Oshiomhole’s replacement as chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) after his unceremonious removal by President Buhari is said to be in earnest.
Heading the search team are “some governors, leaders of the party including close political associates of President Buhari”.
They are seeking a man with “a strong character with a sense of fairness, equity and justice and a true democrat in spirit and action”.
But many will ask if those character traits were not what landed Oshiomhole in trouble with some of the party leaders and the president’s confidants including Ibikunle Amosun, Rotimi Amaechi, Rochas Okorocha and Governor Nasir El Rufai.
More worrisome is that none of those set to determine the fate of APC including the president are known for favorable disposition towards democratic values or have by their example demonstrated their “sense of fairness, equity and justice”.
Otherwise Godwin Obaseki would long have been expelled after his midnight coup without the luxury of playing the victim before decamping triumphantly to PDP.
Of course, compromise is the greatest badge of honour in political party as in democracy. But compromise must not be at the expense of justice and equity.
Again, President Buhari’s failure to provide leadership is at the core of APC intra-party crisis. The vacuum created is often seized by his political associates and confidants to implement their own agenda.
Oshiomhole worked tirelessly to get the president re-elected. And because the president failed Oshiomhole, Governor El-Rufai in pursuit of his own agenda was at the head of anti-Oshiomhole governors that have now seen to his exit.
In 2015, some people carried Buhari on their back around the country to change candidate Buhari’s unelectable status to a president-elect with a pan-Nigerian mandate.
No sooner had he won the election than the president went into isolation for six months while El Rufai started demonising those responsible for Buhari’s victory.
The president was not around to provide the party with needed leadership to expel Saraki for his perfidy. His men in pursuit of their own agenda said ‘the cure for an eye sore was not eye removal.’
Saraki consolidated his position and held the nation and the government hostage for four years. Saraki’s 8th Senate ignored the recommendation of the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC to fix for themselves outrageous monthly salaries.
In 2016, the budget for Ministry of Agriculture according to Audu Ogbe was returned after five months with 386 “strange” projects worth N12.6billion.
In 2017, Saraki’s 8th Senate introduced 6,403 constituency projects amounting to N578 billion. In 2018, 6,403 projects of their own amounting to N578 billion were inserted into the budget. (Minister Rotimi Amaechi of Transport complained about the senate cancelation of Lagos-Calabar rail project to secure N3 billion constituency projects.
Obasanjo was to later conclude that “the National Assembly is a den of corruption by a gang of unarmed robbers.”
The president’s intervention after one year of indecision defies logic. It is not possible to build justice on injustice.
If the president cannot guarantee justice and equity in the handing of his party intra-party feuds, it explains why many of the nation’s federating units have become dis-illusioned over his response to their struggle for social justice.
The chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee on Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay (SAN) said the Malami’s legal advice relied upon by the president to attend the meeting called by Victor Giadom was mischievous because, as a deputy national secretary, he is not in line to succeed the national chairman, and therefore had no right to summon the meeting.
Besides, he cannot turn up in June to claim an interim order he got in March with a life span of 14 days has been extended. But the president went.
And that was not the first act of mischief by Abubakar Malami. He admitted to the Senate ad hoc committee probing his illegal reinstatement of Abdulrasheed Maina, former chairman of the Presidential Task Force on Pension Reform Team (PTPT), into the civil service that he met with him in Dubai, in 2016.
Although Buhari ordered Maina’s dismissal from the civil service following widespread criticism, all Malami got as recrimination for his mischief was a reappointment as a minister of justice.
Buhari’s action therefore to many was an assault on justice just as it was on democracy. Dismantling the legally constituted NWC to please anti-democratic forces who swear loyalty to the president while pursuing their own different agenda explains why the president continues to oppose just resolution of divisive issues such as revenue allocation, fiscal federalism and local policing.
The Niger Delta region wants to control their resources and pay tax to the centre as it was under the abrogated independence constitution instead of the centre using their resources to build bridges over land in Abuja.
Local governments in all known federations are the responsibilities of federating states. Funding by the centre they are not accountable to is also unique to Nigeria.
It is the height of injustice to have Kano with same population with Lagos now carved into two states with about 72 LGAs and Sokoto which once enjoyed the same status with Lagos but now carved into four states with about 87 LGAs as against Lagos 20, all drawing revenue from the federation account.
Local policing by local people has been recommended as the answer to insecurity, banditry, kidnapping and armed robbery in Minna, Zamfara, Sokoto and Katsina among many other areas under siege.
The logic is unassailable. Some of those unemployed local people engaged in criminal activities are those who will be engaged to protect their communities. But President Buhari’s inclination is towards community policing funded from Abuja.
Insecurity and social dislocations in the trouble spots in the north have been linked to power and economic struggle by the marginalized majority denied of access to political power and land since the conquest of the Hausa states by Uthman Dan Fodio Jihadists in early 19th century.
Local policing, it is argued, will give those now engaged in revolt some measure of freedom over their lives.
Buhari is the man elected by Nigerians. He is the one who will be judged by history. This why he must liberate himself from ‘loyal gatekeepers’ and those who falsely swear by his name.
Asking aggrieved groups demanding social justice to channel their grievances through the National Assembly where since 1999, those benefiting from structure put in place not through negotiation but through the military have resisted changes of the status quo, unfortunately only strengthen the argument of those who claim the president is out to consolidate Fulani’s disproportionate control of power and resources in the north and in Nigeria.
And insisting on Abuja funded community policing as against local policing by the poor majority who have to pay the local chiefs to access land for subsistence farming will only strengthen the argument of the president’s political enemies that see it is part of the strategy to consolidate the position of the hegemonic power in the north which already has the Hishbah police and Sharia courts to keep the poor in check.