Editor’s Note: In this opinion piece, the writer Buchi Obichie, likens the current brouhaha between the Presidency and Senate to the antics of ‘Tom and Jerry’ in the classic cartoon series. According to the writer, while this may be entertaining to watch, it is of no benefit to the process of governance in Nigeria.
Did you ever watch Tom and Jerry as a kid? I didn’t particularly enjoy cartoons while growing up- i still don't- but I did manage to watch some with my brothers.
Tom the Cat and Jerry the Mouse were always at each other’s throats. Tom was big, bad and ugly, and he tried to squash little Jerry many times.
Jerry was little- I mean, he was a Mouse- but he was quicker and cleverer. No matter how many times Tom tried to make a meal out of Jerry, the little Mouse always got away…and usually hurt the Cat in the process.
Regardless though, their never-ending squabbles provided lots of entertainment for millions of kids around the world.
And it’s the same way, that the Nigerian Senate and Presidency are going at each other.
In fact this national saga would be entertaining, if not for the fact that these people are saddled with the responsibility of actually running the nation!
The Bukola Sraraki-led Senate and the Muhammadu Buhari-led presidency have been locked in a game of 'covert and overt' jab-throwing for a while now.
It seems the battle-line was drawn with the ‘dubious’ emergence of Saraki as President of the Senate. Then there was the false assets declaration suit brought against the former Kwara governor- which he eventually won.
In any case, it has been an unending ‘Cat and Mouse’ race between the two sides.
Lately though, the battle has just turned ‘down-right ridiculous’!
The Senate refused to confirm a nominee forwarded by Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, because of a comment he made concerning the confirmation of EFCC boss Ibrahim Magu.
Now, to look at matters squarely, the President reserves the right to appoint a chairman for a federal agency such as the EFCC. I am no lawyer, but I do concur with Osinbajo’s position that the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria would always supersede the Act of a national agency.
I mean its common sense…right?
And besides, the man is a Senior Advocate of Nigeria and a renowned Professor of Law; I like to think he knows what he is talking about.
The Senate’s actions have gone beyond the normal call of duty. It has become petty, vindictive and outrightly childish.
With actions like this, the upper legislative house is simply giving more credence to rumors of plans to install Saraki into Aso Rock.
I mean, Nigerians are not stupid. We might be seemingly docile when it comes to holding our elected officials accountable, but we are certainly not ignorant!
There is a more ‘sinister’ reason why the Senate, led by Bukola Saraki, is going after the Executive arm of government in such a menacing manner.
Obviously, they ‘hate’ Magu. But I guess when people are used to having their way; it is not an easy pill to swallow when someone refuses to dance to their tune.
Then there is the Federal Government’s ‘stubborn’ appeal of the CCT judgement which cleared Saraki of 18 counts of false assets declaration.
May I just say this: if Bukola Saraki was tried by the Court of Public Opinion- which I think renders more quick and reliable judgement than most of the nation’s courts- the ruling would have been drastically different!
And then, there’s the drama of the recall process for Dino Melaye; which for some reason, the Senate allegedly believes has the backing of the Presidency. Ehm, anybody who follows Nigerian politics knows that there are certain people who by their own actions, have placed targets on their backs. I think Oga Melaye is one of such people!
He makes me laugh though; but if Nigerians wanted to be ruled by comedians, Basketmouth would surely be in the Senate. I mean, he’s ‘actually funny’, and also more intelligent than most of our current lawmakers.
In any case, since our President is currently out-of-reach, the Senate has directed its anger towards the meek, calm and somewhat timid-looking Osinbajo. But if there is anything I have learned in life, it is not to judge a book by its cover.
In his book about the 1967 Civil War, Why We Struck, Adewale Ademoyega described then Captain Olusegun Obasanjo as “a quiet, colorless and easy-going officer who did not attract any personal recognition and would not be reckoned as a revolutionary”.
But look at ‘Baba Iyabo’ now! You get my point right?
At the end of the day, while Nigerians are being ‘entertained’ by this ‘adult version’ of Tom and Jerry, the nation is suffering. When two of the three arms of government go at each other’s throats constantly, the important work of governance grinds to a halt…or at best, proceeds at a Snail’s pace.
Take for example, the 2017 budget. Seven months into the year and it still has not been finalized even though it has been signed by Osinbajo; because the Executive and Legislature are locking horns over what was ‘added’ and what should be ‘removed’!
Not only is this not healthy for the process of governance, but it also ‘belittles the offices’ of the erring politicians.
I would just conclude by going back to Tom and Jerry.
Like the cartoon series showed, the more ‘big Tom’ tried to put down ‘little Jerry’, the more viewers were ‘endeared’ to the little Mouse. And they grew to dislike the ‘troublesome Cat’.
It is no different here! And what 'Jerry' lacks in physical size, we are trusting that he would make up for, in cleverness, skill and tact; because right now, he seems to be our only hope!
God help Jerry!
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