Last week, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party,PDP held one of the best national conventions in the history of its existence where new officials of its National Working Committee, NWC were peacefully elected. Before now, many pundits, especially of the Apc stock had predicted doom for the party, praying that the party disintegrate so that there will be no alternative to its woeful performance come 2023.
But the PDP disappointed them by doing otherwise. In fact shortly before the national convention, the PDP sorted out all its outstanding ward, LGA, state and zonal congresses to pave way for a smooth and hitch free national convention. And it was free, fair and without any hitch.
The new leadership of the PDP is headed by the former President of the Senate, founding father of the party and member of the G-34, Dr Iyiochia Ayu, who refused entreaties by the IBB military regime to sacrifice democracy and save his office. He was forcefully impeached by the military and replaced with Ebutte Metta.
The party did not make any mistake in the choice of Dr Ayu, who is known for principles and a team player. The level of enthusiasm among party folks was unprecedented as many of those who left for the Apc returned to the party. It was glorious and inspiring. Part of the captivating happenings at the convention was the overwhelming election of a 25 year Suleiman Kadede as the party’s national Youth Leader amidst excitements and jubilations.
The new NWC will be sworn in on the 9th of December, 2021 when the tenure of the present outgoing members will come to an end. It is rare to do that especially to avoid unnecessary and frivolous litigations and sometimes, sponsored legal crisis, but the transparent conduct of the convention under the able and strategic leadership of the trio of Governors Ahmadu Fintiri( Adamawa), Douye Diri( Bayelsa) and Seyi Makinde( Oyo),created no room for such. They were supported very well by all other Governors of the PDP and stakeholders.
All is therefore now set, for the party to wrestle power from the outgoing Apc administration at both the Presidency and States of the federation.
Of 8 Legislators Removing A Speaker
The Plateau State House of assembly crisis is more than a week now and the state government seems confused on what to do. Many interest groups have been pouring out their hearts on the matter ranging from the Forum of State Assembly Speakers to the Nigerian Governor’s forum, clergies and individual political actors.
A group of 8 legislators, in a gestapo style, led by a desperately induced one and a half year old Hon Yakubu Sanda decided to snatch legislative power from an incumbent, Rt Hon Ayuba Abok. Because the drama was not well rehearsed, the 8 legislators went ahead, damning any perceived democratic consequences to stage the aberration. How can 8 out of a 24 man house of assembly impeach a Speaker when the law clearly spelt out the requirements for such a legislative action? 2/3 of house members are constitutionally required for that. But because the Pengana legislator and his co-travellers are in a hurry to occupy the office and make a name, they forgot or kept aside the rules guiding legislative proceedings because, ‘His excellency is with us and therefore nothing will happen’.
And true, His Excellency was with them because HE received them without delay and congratulated the impostor. Sanda should help Lalong mobilise 16 members to enable him succeed Abok, simple.Such impunities have taken place in the past when our democracy was trying to find its feat, but not now when our level of awareness, civilization and enlightenment is high. In fact our Governor, RT Hon Simon Bako Lalong, the longest serving Speaker in the state was removed in similar ugly circumstances . As a result, the then Governor, Joshua Dariye was removed by 4 legislators. The whole nation, irrespective of political affiliations, shouted and condemned the saga. It generated a lot of sympathy for both Dariye and Lalong, a goodwill that accumulated to contribute to the latter’s election as governor in 2015. But you keep hearing the Apc members accusing PDP members of making comments on the matter as if the assembly belong to the ruling Apc. With the Apc ‘change’ government in place now, Nigerians expect that things will truly change. If we have done such mistakes in the past because of inexperience, now that we are more experienced, we must do better.
So what went wrong Gov Lalong? When former Peter Azi was removed there was no such brouhaha. Could it be that the Hon Members want to change the position from the Jarawa ethnic group which has so far produced three Speakers under 6 years of the outgoing administration so that another tribe can have a taste?(Peter Azi, Joshua Madaki and Ayuba Abok).
On the other hand, could Lalong have accepted it if 8 of these legislators were against him and have signed to illegally impeached him as was done to Dariye? Obviously, he would not have accepted it.The truth is that Rt Hon Abok is not immune to impeachment if he has committed a breach in office or if his colleagues don’t want him anymore. Speakers or their deputies, as presiding officers don’t need to necessarily commit any offence before being impeached. It’s a purely legis-politico decision if majority of the members want to change leadership for any reason. In the past, some innocent presiding officers have been removed not because they committed any breach but because of some political calculations or miscalculations.
So those who want Abok out should do the needful. Get 2/3 of the members against him and he is out. That comes with legislative respect on both sides. The basic princples of separation of powers and checks and balances must be upheld in a democracy.