BY SAHID UMAR – The Nigerian Senate is on the prowl. It is waging proxy wars to get at President Muhammadu Buhari through his appointees. Ever since it was inaugurated on June 9, 2015, discerning citizens have expressed dissatisfaction and dismay with its activities, especially its unwarranted antagonism and proxy wars against Mr. President which have been denting its image and seem to be its major preoccupation rather than making laws for the good governance of the country.
The first contentious issue that was expected to cause commotion and ignite tumultuous rift between President Buhari and the Senate was the election of leaders in the Red Chamber on June 9, 2015. The leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) were reported to have zoned leadership positions in the Senate and earmarked those that were to occupy such positions. But the leaders that emerged when the chips were down were unexpected; it was a total departure from, and negation of, the guidelines given by the ruling party whose electoral rules were blatantly flouted and the designated leaders disappointed when they failed to get the necessary support and cooperation of their colleagues who massively voted for opposite candidates. Thus, President of the Senate, Bukola Saraki and his team emerged as leaders of the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria against the expectations, wishes and desires of the APC national leadership.
All this while, President Buhari made it abundantly clear to both Nigerians and the international community that he was ready to work harmoniously with whoever emerged as President of the Senate. He has remained faithful and kept his word ever since as he never interfered with the electoral process that brought the present Senate leadership on board contrary to what some of his predecessors did under similar circumstances. He has neither manipulated or compromised the Senators to oust their leaders nor antagonized the leaders in order to oust them. Yet, he incurred the wrath of the distinguished Senators for whatever reasons.
The Senators may have their grudges against the President but have they ever articulated their problems and for once confronted him with them and he failed to address them? Have they ever taken a cursory glance at the myriad of problems confronting Nigerians and done the needful to either give relief or assuage their untold hardships and massive suffering? With their humongous remunerations under the current poor economic conditions, what have they done to curb inflation with its dire consequences for the over 75% of the Nigerian population? Why did they embark on proxy wars to fight the Comptroller General of Customs (CGC) and the Inspector General of Police (IGP)?
Colonel Hammed Ali (Rtd.), the CGC, was invited to the Senate for thorough dressing down over issues bothering on his duties. Thankfully, he refused to submit to the damning demands of the Senators; he maintained his stance and emerged a great man of principles and integrity. How could he succumb to the demands of Senators, who double as smugglers or import luxurious cars and refuse to pay appropriate duties on them? Why should bad eggs in the Senate import contrabands and expect to be congratulated and allowed to go scot free? Ali stood his ground and ensured that rules were not bent to favour the high and mighty in society. Upholding the rule of law was his sin for which he was to be crucified by the Senate!!! Today, the CGC is a hero.
After failing to cage the CGC, the Senate thought it would have an easy prey elsewhere so it now shifted its proxy war to the IGP. A distinguished Senator used the Hallowed Chambers of the Senate to make wild and unfounded allegations against him in order to tarnish his image, bring him to disrepute and, finally, see his back from the Nigeria Police Force that he spent his entire life serving diligently.
IGP Ibrahim Idris rose to his present exalted position by dint of hard work. His ability and capacity to lead and produce concrete results saw him at the helm of affairs at Louis Edem House, Abuja. His exemplary records of service brought him to limelight and ensured he reached the peak of his profession. God willing, he’ll remain in office despite the wicked machinations of some political renegades, opportunists and horse-traders who double as his detractors and traducers.
Meanwhile, the Senate is in the dock. The only way out is returning to its constitutional duty and jettisoning proxy wars that will compound issues and only promote antagonism with neither victors nor vanquished.
Sahid Umar is the Forefront Regional Editor, North East