Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Loans, Senator Shehu Sani, has said sycophancy under President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has been elevated to historic levels.
Sani, who represents Kaduna Central senatorial district in the National Assembly, stated this while airing his thought over the undue emphasis of pro- and anti-Buhari cliques within the federal legislature.
Buttressing his point with the recent issue of re-ordering election sequence, Senator Shehu Sani told NewTelegraph newspaper: “The mood in the National Assembly is that the majority of lawmakers are not happy with the President vetoing the election sequence bill, and when the majority is not happy, you can predict what the outcome is going to be.
“The idea that the Senate is trampling upon the duties and rights of INEC is not true. Nobody is stopping INEC from fixing dates; all that we are saying is for it to rearrange the order of elections. And unfortunately, in Nigeria today, everything is now interpreted on the basis of whether you are for Buhari or against Buhari.
“You can imagine senators who have won elections on the platform of APC and have worked for Buhari to succeed as a President, simply because we have a different view with regard to others, and then they will be tagged as being ‘anti-Buhari’.
“We have reached a point whereby in the National Assembly today, if you are supposed to eat rice and then you go ahead to eat beans, if Buhari loves to eat rice, they will say that you are anti-Buhari. So, the pro and anti-Buhari formula is now applying to people who are simply exercising their constitutional rights as legislators.
“The only time you are not going to be considered anti-Buhari is when you agree with everything the Presidency says, and even go ahead to be sycophantic about it. Then that is when you will be termed as pro-Buhari or else, any view, any position or anything you do, you are most likely going to be anti-Buhari.
“In fact, even if you wear clothes nowadays that doesn’t look like that of Buhari; they will say that you are anti-Buhari. So, I don’t know how our President from our party will now be our enemy simply because we say that we don’t agree with him on one issue, we become anti-Buhari. Now, Buhari that vetoed the position of the Senate, is he going to be addressed as “anti-Senate or is he anti-National Assembly? The people who are currently in detention contrary to court orders, is Buhari going to be called anti-democracy for that? No.
“We have just elevated sycophancy in our system, up to the position of even undermining the duties of people to defend democratic institutions. As far as I am concerned, that is my position on that.
“The only way is that you will be altruistic in Nigeria for people to understand this re-ordering of elections is for the National Assembly to come up with a law and say nobody in the National Assembly should contest election; only people who love Buhari should contest. Then they will say that National Assembly is altruistic. Otherwise, any action you take is certainly going to be suspicious.
“Nigerians have been raising issues of its elections, and this re-ordering is an opportunity for them to elect legislators they like and also de-elect those they don’t like; and the only way to go about it is to reorder the sequence of our elections and see how we can do the elections in peace. If president Buhari is popular with the people, even if you make his election the last, he is certainly going to win.
“But all that the members of the National Assembly are saying is elect us or elect us out. This new order will prevent mass conviction or what they call the bandwagon effect, whereby people will be elected because Buhari has been elected, and not those they are the right candidates.”