AS things stand, one is free to quote the great Shakespeare: “Doubtful it stood like two spent swimmers…”. That is what the nation state has come to.
The social contract between the governors and the governed is on tenterhooks. Is it not scandalous that barely over two years into the administration of President Goodluck Ebelewane Jonathan that the nation has come to a near grinding halt! Workers have been threatening (and are still threatening) to go on strike; mainly as a result of the governors reneging on their agreement of the N18,000 minimum wage.
The workers threat was a wake-up call and out of the blues the governors decided to swim to the safety of “strike avoidance” by agreeing to pay the minimum wage. Translation= the minimum wage for a Nigerian worker equates to just over a $100 a month and shamelessly this was a topic for discussion and disagreement by state governors who receive billions of naira per month in security votes alone.
To add insult upon injury most of them brazenly proceed to loot the treasury. The emphasis is on “most”, because we must exonerate the few good ones that have the fear of God as their mantra.
Having made that point, you are obviously still assiduously wondering how on Earth Senator David Mark will unseat President Jonathan: Easy!
Firstly, the Legislature is in the firm grip of the Senate President, David Mark. Due to his inability to test the political temperature, it is on record that not one of President Jonathan’s candidates for any legislative position scaled through. A school of thought posits that this is a political embarrassment for the executive arm of government.
For instance, the day the Speaker of the House of Representatives was being elected, President Jonathan was away in America! (Whatever the official assignment, couldn’t the choice have been between a rock and a hard place? Perhaps a slight delay of the Presidential jet for a few more hours would have changed the course of Nigeria’s political history.
After all, it is not as if His Excellency had to take the route of lesser mortals; buy his tickets, queue up, take off his shoes, get thoroughly searched, suffer flight delays and then miss his flight! ) No.President Jonathan has his own fleet of presidential jets. It would, therefore, not have amounted to rocket science for the advisers to have garnered the wisdom in his waiting a few more hours to have an inkling as to the sort of legislature that would emerge.
That, however, was not the case. Unfortunately, his candidates were left directionless like foot soldiers without a General. Or more aptly, like soldiers without shoes.
As it turned out, President Jonathan lost grip of the House of Representatives. Was this a conspiracy? The senatorial scenario had earlier played out in such a manner that the self-made candidates were elected “unopposed”. The question is, Who’s in control?
As a political scientist, I know about the doctrine of separation of powers and all its appurtances; however, it resonates as a political fiction. Ask Harold Laswell. Indeed, it is a Freudian fragmentation.
As democratic as America seemingly is, President Barack Obama still has his preferred candidates and deploys all available democratic ploys, including moral persuasion, to ensure that his candidates scale through. This inspires confidence and loyalty in those who are for you and inspires fear in those who are against you.
Did not Niccolo Machiavelli state that for every great leader, “it is better to be feared than to be loved…?”
Secondly, the selection of Ministers and Special Advisers was influenced and determined mainly by one man- Senate President David Mark. Even his campaign Director-General was asked to “take a bow and go immediately” to become a Minister (of Interior). Nigerians were thereby denied the opportunity of listening to the eloquence and incredible political sagacity of the man who led the Senate President to victory.
Before our very eyes, he, like so many others, was asked to “take a bow and go” because come to think of it Nigerians are wallowing in an unfathomable mesmerisation by senatorial pronouncements and senatorial debacles, but that is one of the concentric circles surrounding the subject matter of this topic. The only ministerial nominee that President Jonathan stood by was stood down by the Senate. Nigerians will not be in a hurry to forget “those in favour say aye…against say nay”.
In the case of President Jonathan’s Nominee, the “nays” were so resounding that it was crystal clear who was in control. Gentleman Jonathan, he knew when to put the sword back in the scabbard and scamper. To put it mildly, it was a slap on the face of the executive by the legislature.
The Senate in Rome does not err and when it errs does not want to be seen as having erred. After all vox populi Supreme lei and vox populi vox Dei.
Lets leave the Judiciary out, for the simple reason that we have to believe in the independence of the Judiciary even if jurisprudence must be as long as the “Chancellor’s foot”! The Judiciary itself may become overwhelmed by the manifest belief of the entire National Assembly in the leadership of one man – their beloved Senate President David Mark.
Prof. I.DUKE , an expert in international conflict resolution, wrote from The Vatican.
Continues on Monday viewpoints