The All Progressives Congress (APC) finally got its wish on June 11, when it took control of both arms of the National Assembly. Unlike on June 6, 2015, when it lost its way in the Senate and House of Representatives through the election of Senators Bukola Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as Senate President and Deputy, and Hon. Yakubu Dogara as Speaker of the House, the APC, this time, got its two choices – Ahmed Lawan and Femi Gbajabiamila as Senate President and Speaker.
They were the party’s choices in 2015 but were outsmarted by the PDP-backed Saraki and Dogara. Also last week, the APC proved a point when Senator Ovie Omo-Agege defeated Ekweremadu for the Deputy Senate President seat. The Deputy Speaker, Idris Wase, was returned unopposed.
With the current set up, the APC is fully in control of the Executive, the Legislature and the Judiciary to a large extent, since the sacking of the erstwhile Chief Justice of the Federation, Walter Onnoghen and his replacement by Justice Ibrahim Tanko Muhammed, a man picked by President Muhammadu Buhari. For the first time since it ousted the PDP in 2015, the APC now has its destinies fully in its hands.
Now, the APC would not be facing internal hostilities against its programmes and policies. National Chairman of the ruling party, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, put it more succinctly last week, when he stated that the APC has no reason not to deliver on its electoral promises.
According to him, “Now, we can’t say we are being blocked by the parliament. Nigerians with their eyes open gave APC the executive. They also gave us overwhelming majority in the two arms of the National Assembly.
“And I think in doing that, they also expect that this time around, APC would have no excuse not to deliver. “We can’t say we are being blocked by the parliament; parliament is ours.” There is no gainsaying that the relationship between the Executive and the Legislature at the national level from the beginning in 2015 till the end of the 8th Assembly on June 8, this year, was at best shameful, irresponsible and without the interest of Nigerians at heart from both the executive and the leaders of the 8th assembly. Nigerians witnessed both parties fighting over trivial issues that included the budget, the security of the nation and other programmes of the government.
Perhaps, nothing illustrated the shameful relationship than the invasion of the National Assembly by security agents, the carting away of the mace of the Senate and the trial of Saraki and Ekweremadu by both the police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) while they presided over the Red Chamber. President Buhari had severally lamented how the frosty relationship with the National Assembly had robbed him of proper implementation of his policies. We remember the issue of budget padding, the allegations and counter-allegations between the two parties. All that are in the past now! The APC came into power in 2015 on three cardinal principle – security, economy and anti-corruption. The party spent a greater part of the first four years lamenting and lampooning past PDP governments and the National Assembly for the poor performance of its government. We note that when democracy returned in 1999, politicians elected then spent a lot of time blaming the military for the rot in the system.
The PDP was in power for 16 years before the APC came and spent its first four years. The next four years of the APC is now its redemption tenure. We believe very strongly that for the next four years that President Buhari and APC would be running the affairs of the country, Nigerians expect a much improved performance from the government.
We say so because the APC has inherited power from itself in 2019, has full control of the National Assembly and control many states of the federation. The party also has overwhelming majority in both chambers of the National Assembly. We do not believe that it would be right for the party to keep blaming anybody for any low delivery in governance. The ball is now left fully on the court of the APC. Wherever it decides to take Nigeria to in the next four years will only be at its own volition.
But we need to state unequivocally that the expectations of Nigerians from the government have not changed, irrespective of the exit of the Sarakis, Dogaras or PDP from interference with the APC’s policies. There is the issue of insecurity, mass unemployment, low confidence of investors, poor infrastructure, dwindling unity in the country, among other pressing issues. We also state that we do not expect a rubber stamp legislature from the Lawan and Gbajabiamila-led National Assembly. We do not expect a smooth ride for the executive in unpopular policies. But one clear thing is that the APC now has its destiny and direction in its hands