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    Saraki: The hypocrisy of political aggressors

    ~ Debo Ikuesewo-Akinbami

    Opening was an offering by the quintessential word vendor and professor of politics, Femi Mimiko, on the Saraki- must- go- at-all-cost campaign being spearheaded by the chairman of the All Progressives Party, Mr. Adams Oshiomole. The commentary mirrors not a few of Nigerians' minds. As he puts it, "The ongoing gale of impeachment in Nigeria does not portend goodness. The wanton abuse of the constitution by those who swore to protect it is regrettable. Why so disdainful of our ground norm? Why showing strength in undermining the laws of the land? Democracy travailing under this torture. Gasping!"

    And so we dare ask: why the onslaught? Why remove Saraki? Nigerians should be told what constitutional error he has committed to warrant sacking. Apart from the cliché given Nigerians by the leadership of the All Progressives Party, APC that Saraki's turncoat from the ruling to the opposition party is an unpardonable political iniquity, or the flip side that his new party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, is in the minority. What anomaly in the eyes of the law? How true is Oshiomole's claim that the Senate presidency is a crown of the ruling party that Saraki must drop as he dropped the party?

    Of the queries raised in the foregoing paragraphs, one of especial consequence is asking why showing strength in undermining the laws of the land? And this question should worry patriots, for the attempt by a political party to emplace an unlawful agenda on the county is an act indeed capable of undermining the laws, and suggesting inching towards autocracy. What is known to many in this part is the fact that political actors leave one party for another with cheap convenient. Perhaps for reasons traceable to lack of sturdy political ideology or something close. And even as Nigeria prepares for another presidential election, politicians align or realign, moving from party A to Party B, and vise versa.

    The same Bukola Saraki left the Peoples Democratic Party in the build up to the 2015 general elections for the All Progressives Party, an action which was a huge political minus for the PDP but which was not protested, knowing full well that it was Saraki's right, as a citizen, to do so under the laws. The APC, who benefited from the defection then celebrated the move with a loud applause. If he - Saraki has, upon said political disappointments within APC fold, decided to return to the PDP, which the laws allow him to do, why crucify him? If APC is now demonising the same man it deified when the same action favoured its own cause, that, for the discerning, is hypocrisy.

    Political actors should learn to respect individual rights whatever personal issues. Political fray should be so treated without the carelessness of hurting a nation's sensibility and credibility. And in doing political fighting, actors must be properly guided so that we do not always portray a country as uncivilised either by the actions or inactions of her constituents.

    How the national assembly conducts her affairs - within the ambit of the laws - should not be the business of the executive or any other arm of government, same way the making of its leadership should be its sole business, hence, affirming or rejecting its leadership by whatever means should not be the funeral of a political association. Yes, certain legislative decisions may rest on political undercurrents, however, the position of the law is very clear on the conditions that must be met for the selection or impeachment of the Senate President to be valid. After all, the position of the Senate President is a constitutional creation which requires a majority to either emplace or displace.

    On the argument that Saraki's new party is in minority, it is not true that this is a sin. While the rules say the party with the highest number of members will produce the majority leader while a party in minority will produce the minority leader, any Senator can be elected as Senate President so long as it is the decision of the members of the Senate. Evidently, the question of party majority or minority does not arise with the leadership of the Senate. And even so, precedence shows that Senator John Wash Pam of the Nigerian People's Party (NPP) became Deputy Senate President in the Second Republic even when the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) had the majority. Same thing happened in the House of Representatives when NPP's Rt. Hon. Edwin Umeh Ezeoke was elected Speaker in an NPN majority House. Even the Rt. Hon. Aminu Tambuwal retained his position after he defected from the PDP, even when his new party was in the minority.

    However, to effect change of leadership for whatever reason, the laws require 73 Senators to lawfully take out Dr. Bukola Saraki as Senate President. The laws require 2/3 of members of the senate to effect lawful removal. Section 50 (1) (a) of the constitution is unambiguous to the effect. If that be the positions of the law, it therefore becomes wrong and unacceptable for any political party or its mercenaries, for whatever reason, to attempt to remove the leadership of the Senate under any condition short of the constitutional prescription.

    It is in this situation that threatens the health of a nation that President Buhari, Nigeria's leader who swore to defend the laws, should muster the courage to discourage his party adherents from taking actions not supported by the constitution. Having contested for the presidency three times before the 2015 alliance which helped him to victory, the president should look at the figures of votes secured in the previous elections- 2003, 2007 and 2011 particularly from Kwara state, to at least appreciate the political efforts contributed to this eventual winning by a Saraki who has suddenly become a foe.

    The President needs to be vocal enough in condemning unlawful practices under his watch, irrespective of a law breaker's ethnic, religious or political association. He needs to ensure also that political actions that are against the constitution cease to happen in his tenure. He should, by way of reassurance, ensure that those behind the siege on the national assembly are duly punished, and to dissociate himself from those yet aiming to commit constitutional infraction by removing Senate President Bukola Saraki who has not erred under the law.

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