By MOSHOOD ISAH
FINALLY, seven senators on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) may have ignored the order by their party asking them to block the screening of service chiefs recently appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan by fully participating in the screening exercise. The opposition party had initially issued a directive to its members in the house to frustrate the passage of the 2014 budget and the screening of ministerial nominees, alongside the confirmation of the new service chiefs. Questions that kept ringing through the mind of people are why on earth the opposition will politicize some sensitive issues that have direct bearing on safety and welfare of the people.
The opposition claimed that their action borne on the perceived persecution of its member, Governor Rotimi Amaechi of Rivers state alongside other security issues in the state which have element of partisan ideology.
First and foremost, Rivers state is just a state out of the thirty-six states of the federation. Thus political issues within a state should not serve as yardstick in truncating major national issues. Just within the period of waiting for the confirmation of the new service chiefs many lives had been lost through insurgent attacks in the volatile North-east region of the country.
So, why on earth will a political party fighting for national interest try to frustrate the confirmation of the new service chiefs just because of an issue affecting a state governed by their member. This action will not only jeopardize our ailing democracy but will also compromise national security. The lawmakers should always remember that they were elected to speak for the interest of the people and country and not to protect parochial and myopic interest.
Furthermore, the frustration and blackmailing of the passage of national bill like the 2014 budget is not only ill-timed and counterproductive when the budget would determine the economic activities in the year. By their actions, many things have to wait, for only God know when. Such actions by oppositions send the wrong message that, the opposition is only concerned about its own interest rather than national interest.
The Lawmakers have the power to summon and interrogate the commissioner of police alongside his boss, the inspector general of police for the misdemeanor in Rivers State rather than holding the nation and its citizens to ransom. The commissioner can be questioned about incessant disruption of opposition gatherings and other partisan security activities. In this case, the party can use its numerical advantage and I also believe that well-meaning lawmakers will support their decision either to seek for the redeployment or the sack of the commissioner.
The first month of the year has come to an end; there is no better time to pass the year’s budget than now. But it is so unfortunate that the major opposition who is supposed to put the ruling party on its feet is trying to frustrate a sensitive issue like the national budget. There is no gainsaying that this year is a defining year for the present administration to finalize its transformation agenda and the budget is the only way to achieve that mission. In this vein, derailing the passage of the national budget and hence its implementation is an act of sabotage which will not only affect the economy but dehumanize the Nigerian populace.
According to the ACP’s spokesperson, the Governor of Rivers has faced a lot of serial unprovoked and unwarranted assaults on his person, his constitutional rights and those of the Government and People of Rivers State. They added that “Any cursory observer of events in Rivers State since February, 2013 will be left in no doubt as to the culture of lawlessness and impunity being promoted and supported by the Presidency, and executed by the State Commissioner of Police, Joseph Mbu, who has become the defacto military Governor of Rivers State and sole administrator of the PDP in the State.”
While every right thinking Nigerian is aware of the impunity going on in some states, especially Rivers State, there is need to use our discretion to ensure stability in the polity rather than selfish ideas of promoting selfish party politics.
Meanwhile on a final note, I want to use this medium to correct an impression which may be gnawing through your mind right now. I am not in any way against the opposition party or its leadership. As a matter of fact, a strong opposition is very good for this polity as it will make the ruling party stand on its toes and deliver good governance. My aim is to instigate the fact that, frustrating national issues because of party interest is not a good trademark for any political setting.
Mr Isah, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Abuja.