IMMEDIATE Past Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has described the crisis that has kept the Plateau State House of Assembly under lock as an embarrassment to Nigeria after practicing democracy for 21 uninterrupted years. Saraki in a statement signed by Yusuph Olaniyonu, head of his Media Office, stated that if the issues that led to the Plateau State legislative crisis had happened in the first few years following the return of democracy in 1999, it would be excusable as part of the learning curve.
He added that for the drama of unconstitutionality and simple lack of respect for due process that is the subject of the crisis to happen in 2021 is only exposing Nigeria to ridicule in the comity of nations. “The Plateau crisis should be viewed in a larger context. It is not about Governor Simon Lalong with whom I have personal relationship and enjoy mutual respect. Neither is it about the two claimants to the office of Speaker of the State House of Assembly or their supporters in the legislature. It is even bigger than Plateau State or any individual. The issue is about how the world sees us as a serious democratic country.
“It is about whether the rest of the world will see us as a people who lack respect for due process and therefore incapable of putting the provisions of our constitution to work on simple matters. How can we after 21 years of democracy be talking of the impeachment of a Speaker by six or eight members (whatever is the correct figure here) in a 24-member legislature and a picture of a parliamentary proceeding to impeach the speaker holding at 7 am? These are developments that will surely make this country a laughing stock in the International community,” Saraki stated.
He described the closure of the State Assembly Complex as mere escapism and using a wrong response to correct a wrong development because it is a measure that would deny the people representation and prevent the legislature from performing the duty for which the members are elected. “I hereby urge all political leaders to speak out on the need to respect due process and protect the integrity of our political system. We should all make interventions that will help the country’s democracy to grow,” Saraki stated.