By Gidado Ibrahim
As Nigerians beam their searchlight on their leaders to see how they have fared so far within their 100 days in office, detractors are waiting in the wings for preys they can ravage politically. This is however not surprising, as it is archetypical of how politics is played in Nigeria. Senate President Godswill Akpabio is one of such leaders in the country that these hecklers and pistol-wielding cynics have chosen to drag to their political Golgotha to crucify, akin to what the innocence and perfidy of the biblical story of the cross stand for.
In a bid to get reasons to crucify him, these set of politicians, in cahoots with their members at the National Assembly, have been playing a series of scandals, ranging from the appointments he made on assumption of office, the constitution of committees and their chairmen to the latest report on plot in Saudi Arabia by some of his colleagues to impeach the Senate president.
According to the said media report on Saturday, some aggrieved Senators have started making moves to impeach Akpabio when the Red Chamber reconvenes on September 26, 2023. Two prominent Senators from the North West and others are said to be already meeting and mapping out plans to carry out the daring move on grounds that the Senate President is a rubber stamp for the presidency and may not be able to carry out his duty effectively.
But the said report capped it all by revealing the true intent of the impeachment plotters when it said “they are also planning to not only impeach the Senate president but to make the leadership of the Senate not favourable to the presidency, thereby creating uncomfortable situation” for President Bola Ahmed Tinubu. This is a clear indication that the criticisms that have trailed the actions of the Senate president are coming against the backdrop of Akapio’s firm position to actualise the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Tinubu administration through effective legislation.
Opposition elements from within and outside the National Assembly have continued to fire at Akpabio from all cylinders. His sins, either by omission or commission: at a stage where every other lawmaker in the All Progressives Congress may have demonstrated some level of reluctance to step into the shoe of making President Tinubu’s bid to ensure good governance in the country work, The Senate president is bloody bold and resolute to bear the burden with Mr. President to rid Nigeria of corrupt elements in the system.
Since Akpabio was elected Senate president before the watchful eyes of Nigerians at the inauguration of the 10th Assembly on June 13, it had been one form of tirade after another in the media, targeted at the vibrant and outspoken chairman of the National Assembly. But the plot by these political hawks to end his legislative career and tenure as leader of the country’s federal legislature will fall like pack of cards.
In just three months to the life of the new National Assembly leadership, Senators are talking about impeaching the Senate president. One wonders why Nigerian lawmakers would choose to meet in Saudi Arabia to perfect plans to ensure that the Senate president is impeached. It all stems from the discontent among some of the Senators who are disgruntled about the constitution of the leadership of different committees in the Red Chamber, which apparently didn’t favour them.
In other democracies of the world like the United States, Canada and even the ancient Roman Empire, the legislature symbolises the existence of democracy. The effectiveness of the legislature determines the status of democracy. The legislature of these countries are strong because their democracies are strong. They measure the effectiveness of their legislatures in order to know how strong or weak they are. The lawmakers in these countries have absolute respect and regard for the leadership of their legislature.
In these countries the parliament, as an institution, fosters democratic sustenance and ensure that it does not face the threat of being truncated. In the USA and the United Kingdom, citizens are always interested in the performance level of their legislators in advancing the interests of the constituencies on the floor of the Senate and the House and the numbers of developmental benefits the legislators are able to attract to their constituencies. The lawnakers give priority to serving the interests of their people in order to win their sympathy for re-election.
However, the reverse is the case in Nigeria where our lawmakers are only interested in what they can grab for themselves. They detest the idea of effective legislation and are most willing to frustrate any attempt by the leadership of the National Assembly to ensure good governance.
While Senate President Akpabio and Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, as well as their deputies are working towards actualising the Renewed Hope Agenda of the Tinubu administration, some of our lawmakers are busy pursuing their own interest, which is self-serving.
We all know that one of the main reasons for impeaching a Senate president border on misappropriation, embezzlement and other forms of corrupt practices. However, the Akpabio I know as our national coordinator of the Presidential Support Committee (PSC) is one who had always advocated transparency. Severally, he has always enjoined us not to be greedy and corrupt. He had insisted time without number that we should rise up and stand firm for democracy at all time.
But the character of the mental indolence of the impeachment plotters can be understood, among those sabotaging Akpabio’s effort to ensure the success of President Tinubu’s Renewed Hope Agenda are corrupt lawmakers and politicians affected by the forensic audit report on the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) under his watch as Niger Delta minister.
Those who were found culpable of squandering state funds are bent on stopping the Senate president in order to avoid being charged to court by the government in its fight against corruption. They are still not happy that he exposed their can of worms ar NDDC, and if allowed to continue as Senate president, he will expose them the more and send them to jail. But they have failed woefully.
The efforts made by the Akpabio-led National Assembly to make sure President Tinubu delivers on his campaign promises are glaring. The Senate had to suspend their recess to screen and confirm ministers. The National Assembly leadership should be commended for this rather than the talk about impeaching Akpabio.
Already, with the support of the National Assembly chaired by Senate President Akpabio, President Tinubu is beginning to recalibrate the path to Nigeria’s progress and the least anyone can do right now is distract tgem. Political power is not a do or die affair. As a politician, one way to earn respect of the citizens is by being patriotic. It should not be about selfish interest to the extent that if our lawmakers don’t get juicy committees the roof must come down and the Senate President must be impeached.
– Ibrahim is director, Communications and Strategic Planning of the Presidential Support Committee.