NASS Leadership: Party Supremacy Under Trial
The Fourth NASS (1999-’03) came on board with the country’s last return to civil rule in the era of former military Head of State, President Olusegun Obasanjo, and was smarting from the harsh lessons from its preceding Third NASS, as its ranks were dominated by a mixed multitude of traditional, full time politicians and retired military top brass.
Needless to state that it operated in a situation that did not facilitate party supremacy in the affairs of governance. President Olusegun Obasanjo of the PDP, adopted an authoritarian style of swinging the affairs of the ruling party, especially with respect to producing and controlling the leadership of the NASS according to his personal predilection.
When the Fifth NASS (2003-’07) came also during the Obasanjo second term, his earlier style of overriding party supremacy and interfering in the leadership politics of the NASS continued.
The emergence of the Sixth NASS (2007-’11) was a classic manifestation of Obasanjo’s larger than life status as its leadership was orchestrated by a PDP Legislative Agenda Committee of which he, even then officially out of office as President, was Chairman and then incoming Vice President Dr Goodluck Jonathan was Secretary.
That Committee planted the entire leadership of the PDP controlled legislatures from the NASS to the states across the country. It was that politics that produced David Mark as Senate President and Patricia Etteh as Speaker House of Representatives.
The Seventh NASS (2011-‘15) came during the Goodluck Jonathan era with more drama in the House than in the Senate which had a rather stabilized David Mark in his second term as Senate President. It was then that the PDP was taken to task in trying to impose party supremacy only to fail in the attempt to stop Aminu Tambuwal and Emeka Ihedioha from becoming Speaker as well as Deputy Speaker respectively.
The topical lessons for the APC during the 2015 leadership politics of the current Eighth NASS (2015-’19), when the party lost the critical office of the Deputy Senate President to its rival PDP over intractable issues bordering on party are still fresh in mind. With the early skirmishes so far executed over the Ninth National Assembly leadership, the last has not been heard of the politics of its emergence.
How the APC will address the twists and turns of the ongoing drama remains the next episode in this long-drawn process of producing the leaders for the country’s Nineth NASS (2019-’23).
Courtesy Daily Trust Newspaper.