The orchestrated delay by the Senate to confirm the ministerial nomination of Rotimi Amaechi is a brazen display of what happens when open and honest process is brushed aside so that the wiles of backroom and vengeful politics may take control of a vital constitutional function of the Senate. The rule of law has been transformed into the rule of muddled evil.
This is but a slice of the bitter meal Senator Saraki hopes to serve Nigeria if he is allowed to continue to be the Chief Cook of the National Assembly. This ugly strategy against Amaechi shows the disregard the PDP and its allies have for constitutional and legal processes.
Ironic that Senate President Saraki would allow this to happen. Amaechi and Saraki were close allies as governors. That he would sell Amaechi down the river for so cheap a blandishment should give all other Saraki allies pause. The man is so loyal and concerned about self that he has no loyalty and concern to beatow to others, to advance his cause one inch, he will slice the political neck of a friend. To be his ally is to begin to count the moments when his self-interest will make him turn against you. If his late father is alive today, this story would have been properly told by him.
Yet, in all of this, there is an even greater irony. Saraki has climbed the summit of hypocrisy. Amaechi has not been indicted much less convicted of any crime. One cannot be barred from high office merely by the shadow of rumour and the craft of those who monger them. In a chamber where the presiding officer is undergoing court trial for corruption and where scores of other senators are under investigations by various graft agencies, they have no moral standing to side track Amaechi’s nomination. Like the Senators, Amaechi is yet to be tried and found guity by any court of law. Thus, he stands innocent until proven guity. He should not be denied his rights and we, the people, should not be denied our right to the fair and honest operation of the National Assembly in the exercise of its constitutional duties.
If the Senate insists in not confirming Amaechi because of the allegations against him, then the Senate should begin to purge itself of members in like circumtances. The extraction should start at the very top. If the senators cannot treat Amaechi’s nomination due to the extra-judicial allegations against him, then the Senate should suspend Senate President Saraki, who actually has a formal corruption case against him. Also, the other senators who are subjects of official investigations should be relieved of their duties until their matters are resolved. Put another way, if the law protects Saraki and others by regarding them innocent until proven guilty, that same rule must also apply to Rotimi.
Therefore, we must demand that the Amaechi nomination is moved forward. We do this not for Amaechi. Whether he comes or goes is in some ways irrelevant. It just so happens that, once again, he finds himself in the midst of a constitutional and political maelstorm. Eight years ago, the Supreme Court had to save his governorship seat. They did so, not out of personal favour to him, but to insert the rule of law in place of the rule of naked power.
We fight those who still believe they can purchase our institutions because Nigerian governance and democracy remain for sale. We must say that they are wrong and that if they persist in this misconduct, they will be facing more than all allegations. They shall face the rebuke of the people and the close scrunity of our judicial system.
Before they decry the speck on Amaechi’s shoes, they better clear the mud from their own.
Sikiru Salawudeen is an analyst,wrote from Abuja