Adebimpe Onifade, MBA, Ph.D.Tuesday, June 23, 2015
[email protected]
New Jersey, USA




Continued from Part I

art II of this article interchangeably discusses eleven implications of the Senate elections and provides forethoughts, without any particular order, on the nature of things to come. Each of the implication discussed, may deserve further in-depth analysis, but for the sake of economy of space and time.

First, President Buhari needs to regain the control of the amalgam called APC. Since three weeks after official inauguration, key Ministers are yet to be appointed and a diversionary crisis have struck the party in a supposedly in-house matters in the legislative arm of the government. This indiscipline may be too early to be illuminative, but it is not too intangible to be instructive. Whereas action is being taking on the Boko Haram's insurgency, no active resolution on the payment of salaries of workers in more than half of the federating States in the country is yet to take place while silent majority might be dying in more numbers than from Boko Haram's menace (this is not to underrate the threat and its impact). This inertia and indecision that the entire party is suffering is fully at the door step of the President. Too many advisers spoil. The President should be decisive and deliberate, and the nation awaits the results.

Second, the senate election was to curtail ABAT's influence from extending into the legislative arm lest his powerful influence be unassailable on both executive and legislative arms. ABAT's monarchical selection and emergence of President, Vice President as candidates for the APC prior to the successful election was undeniable victory. To achieve the curtailment, the ex-PDP group collaborated to dilute ABAT influence, while the PDP from South East ostensibly reechoed the fight against monarchical "enthronement" their kinsmen were complaining about in Lagos State. The PDP Senators with their powerful backers from outside the Senate orchestrated the outcome of the election to frustrate ABAT. There were even fingers being pointed at Governor Mimiko who openly has been operating as counterweight to the dominant influence of ABAT in the Southwest.

Third, the long hand of former President Obasanjo could be interestedly or remotely involved in a payback time for ABAT's due to his uncompromising stand against the former president's takeover of Southwest in 2003. Considering that time reveals, the thought about this possibility was stimulated from the reported visits of Senator Saraki, Speaker Dogari, Governor Olagunsoye, Andy Uba and other former or current PDP to President Obasanjo home. The visit raises some issues. Politically speaking, the public raison d'etre might not to be same with the private reason for the visit. President Obasanjo might have reconciled with ABAT for preventing him from taking over the whole of Southwest in 2003 elections, he might have watched him orchestrating the emergence and election of President Buhari, but ABAT should anticipate revenge for his "disobedience" and lack of cooperation. ABAT should anticipate the curtailment of his interest to be the most coveted politician in the land. ABAT should expect to be attacked from known and seemingly remote "frenemies". ABAT needs not be reminded of the fate of outgone President Goodluck, VP Atiku's political torpedo, shutdown of IBB political interest through the brief stint of his son with the EFCC, and other instances.

Fourth, indiscipline in the APC would be the weakest point for disintegration. This shouldn't be misconstrued as doom-gloom prophecy, but APC should learn from PDP. The execution and outcome of the Senate elections were predicated on the indiscipline of the some leaders of the party. It could be seen that the PDP-wing of APC are more prominent in the successful scheme. It could be prognosticated that political tensions between these groups are likely to intensify in the short-term. Sanctioning the indiscipline would be difficult, and the elderly non-derogatory approach of Chairman Oyegun as well as the cooperation that was shown by a good number of elected Senators could help assuage any possible serious setback. However, seed of discord and intense competition has been sown. Thanks goodness that President Buhari is not inordinately interested in controlling the leadership, it could have set-off another destabilizing turnover of Senate leadership as we saw in the PDP of 1999-2005. Nonetheless, it would be useful for the party bigwigs to sit, ruminate and recommit themselves to sustaining and growing APC.

Fifth, the successful outcome of the Senate elections incontrovertibly indicated the effectiveness of ex-PDP powerful individuals operating as fifth columnist within APC. As mentioned earlier within the article, it no surprises that VP Atiku and Governor Tambuwal were the earliest party leaders to approve the outcome. It is only in Nigeria where a party not in majority would "elect" a member of the opposition party as its deputy Senate President. Whereas this could be interpreted as being inclusive, however, if the pedigree of both elected principal officers are considered being from PDP; therefore, it goes without saying that PDP remains in power at the Senate. Former VP Atiku reportedly had commented that he couldn't undermine President Buhari and that he's been on errand on the President's behalf. For ethnic solidarity, this could be expected since both are Fulanis; nonetheless, the presidential ambition of VP Atiku as well as the urge to contend with the preponderant influence of ABAT could potentially make him act differently. For all intents and purposes, both VP Atiku and ABAT are politically savvy and sophisticated to know that they both need each other and their interests are better to be mutually inclusive.

Sixth, there may be possibility of turnover in the leadership except an amicable settlement is done. The turnover contagion may go beyond the Senate. Some aggrieved Senate members are posturing to take legal actions, and there could be constitutional grounds to order re-election. Suppose this happens, and the table turns, what will Senator Saraki do? He had already debunked the rumors of returning to PDP so also VP Atiku. However, the pertinent characteristic of these power-seeking politicians is there capacity and capability to opt in and out of alliances with their large followership. On this note, Senator Saraki remains a viable candidate even if another election is called for, and for stability of the APC, this article is of the opinion that APC should keep the post within Saraki's column. At issue is the Deputy Senate President, which is a grossly negative attribution and or acquisition by the PDP. It is could be described as a "stolen post". This stolen post is democratically deficient in decency.

Seventh possible implication of the Senate elections unambiguously shows that compensation for the five ex-PDP Governors would be required. Considering that Senator Saraki has gotten President of the Senate, it could be expected that the remaining four PDP Governors especially Gov. Kwankanso must be compensated to avoid further cracks within and to strengthen the party. The political importance of Gov. Kwankanso and his interest in Presidency cannot be underrated. President Buhari and APC largely owed their majority votes to Gov. Kawankanso. In a related note, Governor Amechi's interest as SGF could be agreed upon except for the consideration being given to Dr. Ogbonaya Onu for his leadership and loyalty and to include the Southeast.

Eight, legitimization of the election of the Deputy Senate President might be required. In spite of the election of the Deputy Senate President using the same quorum as the President, the fact remains he is from the minority party, this would continue to generate legitimate issue. It would continue to be seen as "stolen". For legitimization, Senator Ekweremadu might likely decamp to APC to consolidate his post or step down as some are calling for. He reasonably stands to gain politically if he avoids the stolen post. Long standing members of elected APC senators would continue to find it difficult that someone from the minority party in the Senate could snatch their post. It left to be seen how long the agitation for Deputy Senate President (DSP) to step down would continue, and more importantly, to see, if the DSP would take the path of honor of resigning from "democratically" abetting, stealing and accepting the post of DSP.

Ninth, there is likelihood that the President will be challenged for his post in 2019 singly or jointly by VP Atiku, Senator Saraki and Gov. Tambuwal. This may likely be one of the options for VP Atiku to achieve his lifelong ambition of becoming President. In the alternative, VP Atiku may maintain a balance on the fence to either be within APC or return to PDP. We should also expect Senator Saraki to quest for fulfilment of his Dad's uncompleted goal, which is to be Nigeria's President. So, we should expect that VP Atiku and Saraki may not be ready to step down for each other and Gov. Tambuwal may or not be a consensus candidate.

Tenth, inclusivity was the unintended consequence of the election of the Deputy Senate President since it gave the Southeast one of the national principal posts. This sort of outlandish efforts at achieving inclusivity is Nigerian. It is laughable and makes mockery of democracy. It also makes procedural rules in democracy a scapegoat. Nonetheless, we have to give PDP Senators some credits for their brilliant strategy to beat the ruling party despite their large numbers. The opinion of this article is that the election should be reversed for sake of integrity and legitimacy of the Senate, and the Southeastern Senator, if his conscience and party allow, may decamp to APC.

Eleventh, the hegemonic influence of ABAT in Southwest and Senator Saraki in Kogi-Kwara-plus would become their strongest negotiation power, and this would be put to serious use ahead of 2019 presidential contest. Both ABAT and Senator Saraki have significant political influence in two different regions out of the six regions in the country. Thus both leaders would require alliances in the four remaining regions to support and grow their influence in APC. Somehow, there is no other leader out of the multiple leaders within APC that have similar status; as such, both of these individuals are going to have serious impacts on the party moving forward. ABAT with his clear national leadership and surrogates or prot�g�s across the country may garner wider support. Nonetheless, the Hausa-Fulani dynastic connections of Saraki cannot be underrated. For APC to emerge stronger and virile, both ABAT and Senator Saraki have to be reconciled. Both leaders have to recognize some powerful external constituencies that will work against them.

Conclusion: Part I of this article discusses some eight issues bordering on questions and possible answers that seek to explain the untoward and procedurally questionable emergence of Senate President and Deputy Senate President. Some of the questions were: who called for the meeting prior to the inauguration of the Senate; was quorum formation prior to inauguration of Senate constitutional; was the role of the Senate Clerk suspicious; were there fifth column within APC; why were VP Atiku and Gov. Tambuwal so quick in commending the outcome? Furthermore, Part II of the article discusses eleven possible implications of the Senate election. The major implications were: the indiscipline; the intended and unintended consequences, and some scenarios of the prepositioning for Presidential contest in 2019. In conclusion, this article is of the opinion that Senator Saraki should remain the President, the Deputy Senate President has to be legitimized while taking care of inclusivity, the indiscipline as it may be, have to be carefully and politically managed, and the President should be aware ahead of time that the likelihood is very high that other party members will challenge him for the post in 2019.

May God bless Nigeria, and guide our Leaders right

Continued from Part I