By Basil Okoh
It is truly absurd when the entire nation believes that President Muhammadu Buhari has the presence of mind to understand and sign the electoral amendment bill sent to him by the National Assembly.
Truth be told, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari does not presently have the mental capacity to understand the full dimension of conflict of interests that the electoral amendment Bill rectifies, it’s prospect to democratically empower the people and its potential to resolve the internal democratic disputations within political parties in Nigeria.
He does not also understand the setback for democratic reform that his rejection portends. President Buhari did not read the electoral amendment bill himself and I wager that he does not understand the contents or their portents.
It must be understood that the president’s rejection of the Electoral Amendment Bill is the outcome of elite conspiracy and intra-elite contest for power and control. The governors on one side, the national legislature and the people of Nigeria on the other. It was not a matter of who or what was right but who was closest to an old president suffering from dementia and on whose side the influencers with unlimited access to the president are.
That influence peddler with unlimited access to President Buhari and who took sides with the governor’s to halt the march of democratic progress in Nigeria was Shehu Malami, Minister of Justice and Attorney General of the Federation.
Shehu Malami it was who stood arguments for democratic reform on its head and stopped President Buhari from signing the Electoral Act Amendment Bill into law. Shehu Malami’s antecedents will speak for him finally on this matter just as it did on the MTN bribe scandal and the saga of the reinstatement of pension thief Abdurasheed Maina who has now been convicted by court.
Shehu Malami didn’t side with the power grasping governors against the entire nation and its legislature for nothing. You can bet on that. The story will of course be told later of what transpired under the roses.
READ ALSO: THE FALSE CRY TO SAVE THE NORTH
The reasons cobbled together by Malami’s office for the president’s rejection of the amendment Bill represents the afterthoughts of a government that has conspiratorially jettisoned the same process that brought the president himself to power.
What’s left now is for the Senate and the House of Representatives of the National Assembly to put some gumption to their effort at self assertion, mobilize members to override the president’s offhand rejection of the bill and gain respect from the Nigerian people.
Let it not continue to be said by even uninformed people that the legislature will buckle under the barrage of bribery and intimidation from the governors. The history of Nigeria shows that the legislature has always been the first to capitulate in every threat to democracy. It is also the arm of Government completely left out in every military government or dictatorship.
The legislature can begin to show some relevance and muscle now by banding together for group assertion and for constitutional predominance. Posterity will always be the final judge of who worked in the nations interests. We know that the governor’s will play ethnic and party cards and will threaten and intimidate gullible legislators to bend to their will but that’s to be expected from dulled politicians who have no edifying justification for their self-serving treachery.
For the citizens of Nigeria, this is clearly a fight between true democrats and the powerful anti-democratic forces in Nigeria. The governors themselves who are championing the anti-democratic cause, are standing on sinking sand. Many governors and ex-governors have come to ruin for trying to impose successors but new ones never learn from the bad experience of previous ambitious governors. Adams Oshiomhole, Godswill Akpabio, Rotimi Amaechi, Peter Obi, Rochas Okorocha and even Tony Anenih, the list is endless.
The desire for self perpetuation is a particular weakness of African politicians and office holders. But this will be one of those epochal fights that will make or mar democracy of the fourth republic. Let everyone keep their eyes open.
So the North chooses to live with its criminals and bandits, no matter how bad it gets. Let the north stop calling others for help to “save the north”.
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