There is a popular saying in Yoruba land that the eyes that have seen the ocean in Lagos cannot now see rivers in other towns and become jittery. It is a taboo; they will say. I am using this expression to cap a beautiful editorial by the Leadership Newspaper in its Monday, August 3, 2015 edition, titled: “As National Assembly Rides the Storm”. It was a succinct overview of the leadership tussle in the National Assembly that logically settled every attempt by fifth columnists to smear the Clerk to the National Assembly, Alhaji Salisu Maikasuwa. The only addition to that editorial is a question, to wit: of what benefit is even the Senate Presidency of Bukola Saraki to Maikasuwa?
It is, therefore, instructive that the eyes that have seen bigger rivers and even River NASS as a whole for years, cannot now betray years of meritorious service to the Legislative arm and Nigeria, just for seeing River Saraki in a few hours. It doesn’t add up. What can this river even offer? If it was about price to do the bidding of Saraki, those sponsoring blackmails against Maikasuwa, should have some senses that the PDP could have offered the Clerk a bigger price to sabotage Aminu Tambuwal in 2011, since they believe he has the power to make and unmake during the inauguration of the National Assembly.
Going forward, it is not impossible that the people who have chosen to excoriate the clerk in a “syndicated payback scheme for conducting the election of the presiding officers of the Federal Legislature,” as captured by Leadership, have also tried every other treacherous means to link Maikasuwa to any of the actors, but to no avail. The political scrabbles are simply not adding up for any score. If I am in a position to advise the Clerk, I will continually urge him to put on what the Yorubas will call “the head-gear of not-looking-at-their-side”.
No matter how further provoked, he should never dignify them with a single official reply – directly or indirectly. They are getting more frustrated because he has chosen to face his task, working assiduously with President Muhammadu Buhari to effectively network his agenda with the National Assembly. Of course, no serious government can toy with such a rare asset like Maikasuwa. He has the experience, the expertise, the wherewithal, the respect, the charisma and all that the Executive needs to have its way with the legislature.
For God sake, the sleeping dog also deserves to snore – let those behind this fruitless agitation against the Clerk back-off. Let me reproduce a paragraph in the Leadership editorial for emphasis: “Our checks reveal that the linkage of the CNA to the forgery remains most uninformed as such is far removed from reality. For the purpose of clarification, the CNA’s conduct of the Inauguration of the 8th National Assembly was in strict compliance with the letters of a Presidential proclamation (and the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria) which specified time, location and procedures, which he had no capacity to breach”. This is a point of law that transcends any other interest.
If anybody has been wallowing in political conjectures, the editorial went further to clear the air: “Besides, not being a legislator himself, the rules of any of the chambers were not relevant for him in the straightforward process of electing presiding officers.” What the CNA did which all Nigerians watched on television and should applaud, was that he used the 1999 Constitution (as amended) to perform his own function in line with the proclamation of Mr. President. Nothing more!
To settle this matter once and for all, we must equally remember that Maikasuwa did not defer to the Senate Standing Order after no further nomination followed that of Bukola Saraki for the post of the Senate President. He also never envisaged the absence of any lawmaker in the Senate chamber on the day of inauguration to warrant any assumption, ab initio, of conspiracy in the alleged doctoring of the Senate rules. It is even wicked to attempt to confer on Maikasuwa the power to see ahead. It was the Senate President that even made use of the rule book to perform other tasks. The matter is already in the court.
For me, this is not a storm the CNA should worry about. I am sure, whenever his biography is published, there are possibilities he has faced real storms of life which he has, through the grace of God, surmounted to attain this height. If I get it right, from what I have read about him in the past, he should by now be serving out the last lap of his career and looking forward to the crown of glory. At such an enviable level, you don’t expect such a man of wisdom to disobey or circumvent a constitutionally-issued proclamation from the President because of politics. Those who reached out to him to compromise the proclamation cannot fully understand the weight of the years of service he has put in for the nation. They are used to impunity. But Maikasuwa, judging by his public disposition and how he applied himself to his function of inaugurating the National Assembly without pandering to any political interest, does not suffer fools gladly and he did not suffer them.
Mr Ayelabowo contributed this piece from Ibadan, Oyo State and can be reached via [email protected]