OPINION |  Who will Save the Senate?





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By John Madu 
Since the commencement of democratic experience in Nigeria in 1999, the National Assembly being the legislative arms of government, has somewhat attempted to constitute its self as a parallel government in Nigeria. Right from the time of former president Olusegun Obasanjo, the National Assembly has been enmeshed in various controversies to the chagrin of Nigerians.
I recall that at some point, issues were raised as regards the usefulness and contributions of the legislative arm of government towards National development. This is aside from the fact that a large chunk of the resources is used in funding the activities of the National Assembly with little or nothing to show in return, and with calls for the scrapping of the National Assembly to conserve funds for infrastructural development.
There is no time as now that Nigerians indeed appear to agree that the country’s democracy isn’t working as it ought to. And at the root of it is the caliber of persons seating in the hallowed chambers of the National Assembly, and the high running costs, which they say unless it is drastically reduced, the developmental dreams of the country would remain a mirage. I concur.
The crux of the issue at hand is how the members of the National Assembly have reduced the act of legislation to a child’s play in the sense that thier actions in recent times are nothing but against the interest of the country in general. This is quite unfortunate and calls for sober reflection from discerning Nigerians who are indeed concerned about the development and continued unity of the country.
They have carried on like kindergartens with little or no regard for the sensibilities of those that elected them into office. As it stands, a ticket to be legislator is simply an avenue for wealth accumulation and personal aggrandizement. I would take the call for the sack of Service Chiefs by some legislators in the Senate and the House of Representatives as an example.
It is quite an unfortunate experience in the sense that it was apparent that the call wasn’t in the interest of the generality of Nigerians but that of a few whose pockets have been greased in the usual manner. However, there has been a curious twist in the whole episode as it seems there has been some rethinking by the House of Representatives that revolves around engaging in a more practical and pragmatic approach to the issue of insecurity facing the country.
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, seems to be spearheading this rebirth. I say this for the fact that after a meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, the speaker told Nigerians that there was a need to ascertain if the security situation falls within the purview of the armed forces or the police and sacking the service Chiefs will not do the magic.
He was somewhat right in the sense that the classification of the security challenges is already yielding the desired results. Secondly, after another meeting with the Service Chiefs, the speaker told the Service Chiefs that they are doing well but need to do more. I think that is rational and a subtle way to pass the message. If you would agree with me, I do not believe there is any employee that would not appreciate this from its employers
It is called morale boasting, which over time, goes a long in bringing the best out of every perceived bad situation. This fact has been proven in the fabric of human psychology, and history is replete with how things have indeed turned around for good. I stand to be corrected. I must not fail to commend the speaker for this line of thought.
But there is an irony. And it is the fact that the Senate of the National Assembly is still in dreamland and acting like a group of drunken sailors whose ship is sailing without direction. This is the perfect description of the position of the Senate on the insecurity situation in the country. The unfortunate thing is that whereas the House of Representatives seems to have gotten its house together, the Senate is playing an expensive Coronavirus prank on the citizens by inaugurating an Ad hoc Committee on Security Challenges to review and reorganize the Current Security Architecture in the country. Yes, you heard me right.
If this is not a child’s play, I don’t know what else to call it. It portrays a situation where a patient is inside a laboratory with a case of highly infectious disease, and the doctors are inside the laboratory, examining the patient to find a cure for the contagious disease. What will then be the fate of those inside the laboratory with the patient? Your guess is as good as mine.
Without mincing words, the inclusion of Senator Eyinaya Abaribe in the committee is a clear indication that the Senate is pursuing a personal agenda against the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari with the curious inclusion of the “sack President Muhammadu Buhari, sack service chiefs” advocates who are all hibernating in the Senate.
There is everything wrong with the inclusion of Senator Eyinaya Abaribe in such a sensitive committee when it is a known fact that his allegiance lies somewhere else. In my opinion, this is an anomaly and quite an assault on our sensibilities as a people. This much the leadership of the Senate should know. But they have so decided to carry on in their usual despicable manner.
In essence, what the Senate is telling Nigerians is the job can never be done, and as such, they must constitute themselves as a clog in the wheels of progress in the country. If this is not the case, how could one then justify the presence of a man of questionable antecedents and character who stood in as surety for Nnamdi Kanu in 2017 in his futile attempt to destabilize the country and only recently called on President Muhammadu Buhari to resign over security concerns.
This indeed defeats common sense if you ask me, but again common sense they say is not common. According to Faze, a member of defunct Plantashun Boys musical group, in his song, Common Sense, stated that “all we need to do is brings to our consciousness the fact that all we need to use sometimes is ‘common sense’ and drift from blaming the government for everything.”
I entirely agree with him because it is indeed common sense for the Senate to know that the security challenges in the country are indeed politically orchestrated by those who have lost out of the political equation and have vowed to sponsor violence in the country in a bid to discredit the present administration. My prayer thus is that may God deliver us from the mendacity of the Senate and also for God to deliver the Senate from the Senate before it gets too late.
*Madu is a public affairs commentator and wrote this piece from Lagos.
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