CONFLICTS and the resolution of conflicts either through compromise or consensus are some of the basic tenets of democracy. There is no country in the world where democracy is practiced that politicians will always be at their best behavior whenever there is conflict within the party. This is also true in the case of parliamentarians who are elected into the legislature on the platform of a political party. Sometimes these politicians cum legislators display their worst form of behavior and throw all social etiquette and civility to the wind in the quest for power or lubricants of office. It has happened in other parliaments in countries such as India, Taiwan, Turkey, Hong Kong, Ukraine including Nigeria.
In some cases, the legislators, who are supposed to be honourable become so dishonourable that they even bring dangerous weapons such as pepper spray into the parliament and are not averse to using such to cause bodily harm to opponents whenever there is a fight. For instance, in India, recently, an industrialist and suspended Congress member, L Rajagopal, from Vijayawada, sprayed pepper spray in the House during a rancorous fight in the Indian parliament causing burning sensations to several members with many coughing and sneezing. The pepper spraying politicians have not come to Nigeria yet. But physical combat is becoming second nature to Nigerian politicians.
This ugly development is certainly not good for the country’s emerging democracy. What happened on June 25, when the National Assembly indulged in a very unbecoming conduct by fighting and scrambling for the Mace, the symbol of authority of the House, is to say the least condemnable. There, the lawmakers in House of Representatives turned into boxers, pushing and shoving themselves all in the bid to get hold of the Mace. Those legislators fighting for the Mace may or may not have done so with the best of intentions. It all depends on whose side they are on in the ongoing dispute threatening to destroy the All Progressives Congress, APC, since June 9 when the leaders of the National Assembly were elected. Those who emerged in the election were not the anointed candidates of the party, hence the continuing battle in the National Assembly. The fighters in House of Representatives are all supposed to be “honourable” men, fathers and grandfathers who shamelessly fought while their mothers, wives, children and wards watched in bewilderment. If the confusion their relations felt was the only problem, it would not have mattered much. But it was a major national disgrace. It projected a horrible image about the country to the international community. In fact, it leaves a very sour taste in the mouths of those who didn’t enjoying watching live performance of their squabbling skills on television.
But more importantly, the battle in the National Assembly brought once again to the fore the level of discord in the APC. It is still too early to judge the party which brought so much hope to the country with its mantra of change during the 2015 electioneering campaigns. But so far the wrangling in the party is making Nigerians to wonder whether they made one big mistake.
On the other hand, it may even be better that the APC have all its teething problems now so it can resolve them through consensus or compromise and face the more arduous task of tackling the nation’s socio-economic and security challenges later. This is why Realnews editorial team dedicated this week’s cover story to the brouhaha in APC to remind Nigerians that there is still light in what appears today like a long dark tunnel. The story which is entitled: APC Crisis: Divided We Stand was written by Olu Ojewale, our general editor. Enjoy it.
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— June 29, 2015 @ 9.40 GMT