The tension was indeed palpable as speculations and rumours rent the air that the duo of the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki and his deputy, Ike Ekweremmadu, were being besieged in their residential quarters by security men. Many likened the act to a coup in the Senate but before one could say Jack Bauer, Nigerians watched the same Senate President, who was allegedly held “hostage” on social media, arrive the Senate Chambers for the day’s plenary, before going on to read a letter announcing the defection of 14 senators from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the African Democratic Congress (ADC). It was reminiscent of 2014 when a number of senators, under the platform of the N-PDP, announced their defection to the newly formed APC.
The House of Representatives was to follow suit as 32 members also announced their defection to the two earlier mentioned parties. Indeed, it was a gale of defections with the defectors boasting that more would soon join the defection train, the APC reiterated that it was not going to lose sleep over such defections, while the presidency, which is perhaps the obvious target of such defections, suggested correctly that such defections were a cyclical occurrence as the election year approached before uneasily wishing the defectors well.
The nation’s political pulse has since then been on the rise with the media and social media latching unto the drama to sell or manufacture their own soap operas for the public’s consumption. The talk of the APC becoming the minority party in both chambers of the central legislature has been rife and if this be the case, then the PDP would attempt to frustrate much of his domestic agenda and in turn, orchestrate his defeat in the coming elections. Some have even suggested that the president might be impeached, to add gloom to the entire scenario.
These defections hold a two sided good riddance coin for the two other positions. For the defectors and their supporters, this defection of theirs, suggests the beginning of the end for the APC adminstration, as it was in the days of Goodluck Jonathan.
They have a lot to believe so, as they believe that come further defections, they would be in the majority and can exploit such to achieve their bidding– toy around with the presidency, frustrate its domestic agenda and muster its defeat in the coming elections. True, such defections immediately set off the tapered conjecture that there were likely to be more defections and like I said, this is a potential assault on the APC’s leadership of the country, however, it seems impossible that Saraki and the PDP will be able to pull off such. First of all, banking on further defections from both chambers, seems to me as futile as expecting Godot, it is like counting one’s chicks when they haven’t even hatched. Even at that, the redecamping of some of the senators back to the APC, with some alleging that they never defected, puts the joke on the PDP and places the likes of Saraki and Speaker Dogara on the spot and they would have to tread carefully or risk getting impeached.
The greater assurance in this whole fiasco is that the APC, under President Buhari, cannot continue to buck to the demands of these bucaneer-like politicians, he cannot continue to dance swange to their surugede. Having winked at them, tapped legs under the table and bent his hand further to shake all for the sake of peace only to be met with disdainful rebuffs, time has come to take the war to them and yes, a group of people cannot continue to hold the nation hostage.
President Buhari must call the bluff of these ideology-less politicos to ensure he survives this storm or any other storm that may arise, he should look into his bag of political powers and begin to meet fire for fire, for what is at stake is not only the success of the Buhari Presidency but the progress of the nation from the doldrums the likes of Saraki and co kept her in the past 16 years before Buhari’s emergence.
In doing so, Buhari must also appeal to the people, who seem not to believe that the president is on their side, perhaps because of his style of governance which is largely an unflattering kind. This largely has been the undoing of a presidency, which has without pretence, done much with so little resources and goodwill. This calls for deep introspection and the deployment of new thinking that will further endear the president to the people, then it wouldn’t really matter if a thousand Sarakis decamp or control the National Assembly, come next elections, the people would be done with them.