Open Letter To The Nigerian Legislator By Tomiwa Ilori
Dear Nigerian Legislator,
I am writing you on behalf of well-meaning Nigerians with great joy and with evidence of so much work you have done in seeking to make Nigeria great again. I have followed every of your hansards, votes and proceedings and order papers with so much dispassionate interest that we must commence the process of immortalizing your legacies and have your beautiful deeds cast in stone for coming generations to benefit from. It has become pertinent to write you in the midst of several challenges that are rocking our country. Being a Nigerian legislator in the twenty-first century has come with some peculiar problems that need to be tackled. I seek to address each problem one after the other.
Nigerian citizens have continued to clamor for good governance and it has become exceedingly confusing. Part of that clamor is that the legislature, in which you are a distinguished member, should reduce its budget. The average Nigerian in the twenty-first century has become incurably delusional. In a country where trillions of naira has been lost to graft, its citizens are more concerned about a paltry allocation of 115 Billion naira. The average Nigerian does not understand the simple basics that work in political circles to understand that there is always an interchange of value that revolves around nothing other than money. Has the average Nigerian ever considered what it took to get you to office? You did not pay your supporters in sawdust to get votes, you paid good money as one of your colleagues in Ekiti rightly said when called on to attend to her constitutional responsibilities for which the tax payers’ fund are regularly expended. It has become increasingly hard for the Nigerian citizen to understand that politics is all about investments and it is only a delirious investor that expects no profit in return after making such huge investments as yours. Does the average Nigerian even understand that some of you had to take out loans to serve them? And they are more concerned with pitiful sob stories of how a certain senator and his colleagues shared just 60 Billion naira. Until the average Nigerian understands that being a Nigerian legislator involves a whole lot more than delivering on required responsibilities and making projected returns for investments made, infamous hashtags like #OpenNASS, #OpenGovernance and other baseless conversations on making the government responsible will continue to remain mere social media bants.
Recently, one of your colleagues was said to have insulted another colleague, threatening her with rape and pregnancy. Nigerians are confused. We are the ones seeking legislators that can speak for themselves and on behalf of others, now someone on the floor of the national legislature is claiming to rape and impregnate another and we have decided to throw decorum to the wind. The indefatigable senator, in his usual brilliance has come to defend himself that it was not even possible to impregnate a woman that has reached her menopause, doubling as a physician and a legislator, how else do Nigerians want their representatives to be more representative? Considering how much Nigerians are ingrates, have you discovered how the said Senator redefined proactiveness? He actually took it to the street of the husband of the threatened Senator to show that he is not only barrel-chested, he acts it. Nigerians cannot get better representatives that they already do now. These are leaders that have continued to stretch the boundaries of public leadership and ethics, we all should learn to be grateful. It is actually commendable that some Nigerians have protested on behalf of their representatives as far as this issue is concerned as constituents were seen carrying placards to show respect for their respective representatives. Do you see how we actually deserve our leaders? We all must learn to understand that we are our government.
Furthermore, Nigerians should rise against the persecution of the Nigerian senate by the Federal Government. There is the doctrine of separation of powers and the growing proscription of the Senate by the Federal government has to stop now. The Nigerian Senate since its inception has never witnessed the type of leadership it currently has. It is only necessary that elements become disgruntled as a result the glowing attributes of this leadership.
Or how do you explain the persecution by the Tribunal that alleged that the leadership did not declare its assets? Is it not the asset you can count you declare? Even the Panama Papers, coloring the same allegation as if it was more than some few billions of dollars has rested, what does the Nigerian government want? As if the Federal Government has not distracted the entire senate from its duties enough since that past year, it recently filed a suit to accuse the leadership of the Senate of forgery. It is obvious that the Federal Government does not mean the Nigerian Senate well. Assuming the tribal sentiments being stirred by the leadership is inconsequential, how do we explain the reaction of the Attorney-General of the Federation to his summon by the Senate? It is shameful that the Attorney-General of the Federation does not understand the purport of Section 88 of the Nigerian Constitution he swore to protect even though Section 174 of the same Constitution already stated that the Attorney-General in exercising his duties shall have regards to public interest and the need to prevent abuse of legal process with forgery inclusive. I guess it is difficult to grasp the rigors of the constitutional responsibilities involved with your office as a Nigerian legislator, even at that, should the Attorney-General be the one to expose such?
What the average Nigerian does not understand is that the legislature has the right to interrogate any interrogator even if it is the subject of a lawful interrogation. They will never understand that there is a Nigerian definition to every concept, including Separation of Powers and Rule of Law.
The average Nigerian has failed to understand still, such immense value you have added to their lives and how the power they have given you, is yours forever. They do not understand that they cannot query this power; you have to make them know these things. Assuming the average Nigerian understands Section 69 of the Constitution that makes provision for your recall, do they even have the tenacity to pursue such considering the kind of power you wield in making everything go away with money. No one can even dare try to recall a Nigerian legislature regardless of whether the Constitution allows it or not. You know where to plug the wads of naira with when your functions start to leak to show that you are not really performing them.
The thing is, as a Nigerian legislator, you have nothing to fear. Not even the people. They are powerless. How do they intend to have your time when fuel is now NGN145/Liter, with power supply at its lowest (you can only tweet/update Facebook when your phone or laptop is charged), food stuff prices are skyrocketing and the naira has lost its gravity against the dollar? Nigerians do not have your time and never will.
So when next you have the opportunity to increase salaries, please do yours first. Disregard all these useless rants that all you do as a legislator is wear Agbada, entertain Nigerians and chorus “aye” and “nay”, Nigerians have come to accept their fate. Also, there is no need to create any code of ethics for public officers, it is not even necessary.
Legislators are not needed to portray decorum or how else do they expect you deliver decorum in the face of being called a dog when you are not one? Again, as you have always shown solidarity in the past for your leaderships, please do not stop. When they have court cases, please follow your colleagues to court, take it to another level, and get printed Ankara and imprint letters to show support, rent drummers to Tribunals’ environments and let them know that no one can stop the moving train of progress.
Once again, I want to thank you on behalf of all well-meaning Nigerians for taking time out of your glorious life to serve us. We can never pay you enough, even with our hard-earned money that is taxed to pay you, we can only say that may God continue to help us make your life beautiful as you have made that of every Nigerian and that the Good Lord help your generations reap in bountiful folds every deed you have used your good office to perform.
The Dispassionate Nigerian