APC Crisis: Beyond @Delemomodu Sanctimonious Sermon By Tunji Adeniran
As an active citizen, I have been following the NASS APC crisis with keen and rapt attention. The crisis which was hitherto perceived as a flash In the pan has since taken a different and dangerous dimension. The crisis has engulfed the entire ruling party and by extension the business of governance is being adversely affected – or what do we call one month recession of the NASS ? Therefore, the earlier the crisis is resolved the better for all the dramatis personae.
Since the beginning of this crisis, Mr Dele Momodu through his weekly article-Pendulum- has been offering his personal insights into the issue. Through the article, Bob Dee as he is popularly called has not hidden his total support for the current Senate President who was perceived as underdog, and facing unjust persecution from the”party cabal”. Mr Dele Momodu believed it is morally deficient to deny Bukola Saraki the slot of Senate Presidency despite his huge contribution to the success of the party at the poll, and as a compensation to the group of defected PDP governors for their efforts. Bob Dee’s support, through the law of association, has been extended to the Speaker of House of Assembly- Yakubu Dogara.
After several weeks of reading the Pendulum where the author has chastised the party and it’s leaders for not supporting Bukola Saraki as the Senate President, and for their inability to create a level playing ground for both contestants in the race of the Senate Presidency. It was noted that Mr Dele Momodu frowned at the way the party leaders openly showed preference for the candidacy of Senator Lawan against the candidacy of Senator Saraki for the coveted number three position in our nation political hierachy. Despite, Bob Dee weekly probono political advice, the APC NASS crisis failed to halt. The crisis reached it’s crescendo during the botched APC mock election which snowballed into a coup/fiasco that left APC senators at the ICC waiting for the president while election is ongoing at red chamber. At this time, Mr Dele Momodu was speaking the mind of the majority of Nigerians who detest political godfatherism and prefer a charismatic and brilliant Senator as the Senate President. The qualities which Bukola Saraki has brilliantly demonstrated over several years of his political career. However, it is worthy of note to state that Mr Dele Momodu never mentioned that Bukola Saraki is a symbol of godfatherism in Kwara politics. The same offence Bob Dee has frenetically advocated against and on the basis which he hinged his support for Bukola Saraki as the undedog.
It is a household knowledge how the whole APC political apparatus in Kwara state was handed over to Saraki at the expense of Dele Begore which eventually led to the exit of the latter. In the same vein, the emergence of current governor could best be described as a product of godfatherism. Does this make the party rejection of Bukola Saraki’s candidacy justified? Of course NO! However, Mr Dele Momodu as a veteran journalist cum politician needs to demonstrate he is fair, unbiased, and independent in his criticism and adulation. He needs to demonstrate that he is capable to speak truth to the power at all time without concern for whose ox is gored. The foregoing are required from Bob Dee because his article is widely regarded as one of the means through which public purse is measured. Bob Dee needs to understand that his article has adopted the life of it’s own and should be regarded as such. Mr Dele Momodu is known to be largely patriotic, sincere, diligent, intelligent, courageous and honest. However, it is imperative to note that no human is without faults ( and we all have ours).
I observe how Mr Dele Momodu struggles every weekend to defend his position in his article as numerous readers accuse him of biased opinion amongst others. However, the most pertinent question should be : is Bob Dee guilty as charged? I would leave the question to be answered by the readers at the end of this article. In the mean time, in order to find answer to the chief question, there are other questions that need to be answered truthfully. Was the party wrong to show interest in who becomes Senate President and Speaker? No! However, the party erred in the process through which the consensus is achieved as it is charactised with godfatherism and preferentialism. Why would APC wanted to compensate Femi Gbajabiamila for his role as a Minority Leader at the 7th Assembly, his commitment and contribution in the lower chamber but did not want to compensate Saraki for the same efforts at upper chamber? On Femi Gbajabiamila, the party is right but were wrong on Saraki. The best the party could have done is to give every member equal chance of being elected.
However, after the fierce political permutations which saw the emergence of both Saraki and Dogara as Senate President and Speaker respectively, it is high time the gladiators sheath the swords and moved the nation forward. There can not be any genuine reconciliations without concessions from both parties. This is very pertinent if they want this government and APC to succeed in delivering on their promises. Despite the success of Saraki and Dogara at the polls against the wish of their party, the duo has apparently stuck to their guns by continuously moving against the party. The individuals are as important as the party on the platform of which they were voted into power. APC as a party made the first concession by accepting the elections of both Saraki and Dogara and refrained from punishing the duo, is it not better in the interest of the nation to reciprocate the gesture by Saraki and Dogara by making concessions to the party? Would it have made significant difference if Saraki have conceded two positions to the party candidates?it is interesting to note that Bob Dee ‘s article failed to rebuke the Senate President as his failure to make this concession is partially responsible for the continuous imbroglio within the party. The same scenario is currently playing out at lower chamber as they borrowed leave from what transpired at Upper Chamber. Bod Dee in his several article failed to tell Bukola Saraki that two wrongs never make a right.
Most Nigerians that supported Saraki for the position the Senate President did so due to their love for Saraki as a charismatic leader or due to their hatred for Bola Tinubu who is perceived to be too domineering. I belong to the former group, because it would be uncharitable to dismiss the efforts of Bola Tinubu in making the change dream a reality. I could remember how vociferous Bob Dee was in his articles in campaigning against the candidacy of Bola Tinubu as the APC VP candidate. Tinubu candidacy was perceived to be detrimental to APC success at the poll due to his religion and his alleged financial impropriety record. At the time, we all asked clamoured and prayed that Tinubu should make the sacrifice and jettison his ambition in the interest of the party and the nation which he graciously obliged. However, when the party asked Saraki to sacrifice his own ambition, Bob Dee position was : Why is it wrong for someone to be ambitious? If Tinubu vehemently refused to back off and nominated himself as the VP, would APC be able to defeat PDP at the poll considering how sensitive the nation is to the issue of religion? The recent charade being thrown at our face by Saraki’s and Dogara’s group to defend their action not to make any concession to the party is the issue of NASS caucus and Federal Character. This position is reiterated by Bob Dee stating that party should not arm twist the NASS and allow the NASS caucus to elect principal officers. This position has no historical bearing as the practice of caucus nominating principal officers could be traced to the US, Australia, UK and Canada. However, what they have in these nations are not zonal caucuses being promoted by Saraki’s and Dogara’s group but rather party caucus within the national assembly.
As we can see from the foregoing, there is enough blame to share among the politicians. With each group supporting it’s own position not out of altruism but out of selfishness and personal interest. In this game of deceit, underhand, scheming and duplicitous, one must thread carefully. As a writer, journalist who is largely regarded as a role model one must avoid not to fall into the trap of being perceived as biased. While it may be difficult to prevent people from making judgement about your position, your fiduciary responsibility is toward the public and never be afraid to always side with them and not individuals. one of the columnists who has passed this thorny issue with flying colours is Segun Adeniyi as he always offer a balanced opinion.
Lest I forget, can we now answer the chief question: Is Bod Dee guilty of being biased in this APC NASS crisis? I will leave the readers to answer the question.
Tunji Adeniran, CFA a Chartered ACcountant and Chartered Financial Analyst writes from Ontario Canada.