The Eight National Assembly Nigerians Deserve By Ibrahim Muye Yahaya
In 2005, American Senator, Kent Conrad (Democrat) aka the Statistician, who is known for using charts and sometimes called “Mr. Chart Man” due to his budget expertise once came in handy, when the then President Bush (Jnr) was pushing a plan for partially privatizing Social Security and put the hard sell on him. Bush first tried by flying with Conrad to Fargo then, after they returned, he kept the pressure on by inviting him to the White House for dinner, where he dropped hints about election-year vulnerability for red-state Democrats. But Conrad, whose honourary Sioux name translates as “Never Turns Back,” stood firm in his opposition to the plan. “I could never support something that added dramatically to the debt,” Conrad says. “I told him, ‘Count me out.” I wonder if Nigerians will be blessed with those kind of a legislatures in the eight National Assembly who will fly in private jet and dine several times with the President but will frankly told him to his face by rejecting a policy that will not be favourable to Nigerian’s.
In America, its Capitol Hill parades men of integrity, intellectuals, policy makers, professionals, strategists, philanthropies, right activists and those who won unquestionable elections. Since 1999, majority of our legislators have their ways to the upper and lower chamber of National Assembly courtesy of ethnic, religious, pay back, ill gotten wealth, questionable elections (rigging), ballot box snatching, buying of delegates and political manipulations. While some has corrupt charges on their neck and others regards it as a veiled chamber to shell them of their bad records while in office. One will not be deterred if they choose to serve the electorates and national interest rather than their selfish motives. Nigerians will always remember and appreciate the spirited stand of those federal lawmakers that choose national interest and aborted tenure elongation plan of President Obasanjo in 2006. Notable among them today are alive and some are no more. Late Senators; Idris Ibrahim Kuta, Badamasi Maccido, Uche Chukwumerije and Mamman Ali all fell in the categories of those that fought the third term ambition. Those who told us the world will come to an end if Obasanjo didn’t continue to rule are very much alive and of recent told us the same tale about President Jonathan been the only messiah to led the Country. Kudos must be given to the young, charismatic, intelligent and vibrant Senator Sule Yari Gandi of blessed memory whose motion on ‘point of order’ created the avenue for the debate that finally nailed the coffin of the tenure elongation.
In the heat of Obasanjo’s tenure elongation debate, the then PDP national Chairman, Dr. Ahmadu Ali on a BBC Hausa anchored program poured tantrums on the federal lawmakers and call them rascals and fools for their inability to support the agenda, while majority of them choose to be silent and swallow Ali’s insult, it was the courageous, experienced and fearless Senator Idris Ibrahim Kuta (PDP) of blessed memory that calls the attention of the Senate and insisted that Dr. Ali be summoned to the red chamber and apologies to them, that been a Party Chairman doesn’t warrant him to insult them in the cause of discharging their obligation to their Country. Nigerians will be glad to see the legislators of the Eight National Assembly who will choose national interest and that of its citizens not individuals.
Now that our Eight National Assembly will be inaugurated in matter of days to come, Nigerians will want to see a blunt, wise, brave, intelligent, thorough and courageous lawmakers; those that will not spare even their party members and colleagues who try to choose a wrong path to the detriment of the citizens; national and important issues, those that will be unmovable when they reaches a conclusion about the right thing that is ought to be done, those that are details and have deep knowledge of policy; especially their role as a vigilant monitor of business and federal agencies, those that will not be the proponents of take a bow and go during the screening of nominees for appointments, those that will considers congressional and committee hearings as a critical part of their job, those that will not compromise committees and probe panels, those that won’t allow evasive witness outwit them, those that will fight for defending working class, health care, education and penalizing discriminations and those that will ignore religious, ethnic, tribal and regional cards for the betterment of our Country.
The only approach to make our Eight National Assembly more relevant is; when our legislators stop sending their complimentary cards or written notes to Ministers and Head of Parastatals asking for contracts favours, fronting, supplies, kick-back, commission, or securing Jobs for their family members, mistresses and cronies. They must also stop playing ethnicity, sycophancy, regional and religious card when discharging their responsibilities, they should stop asking head of government agencies to pay for their air ticket, accommodation and esta-codes on foreign trips, they should stop sending congratulatory letters to newly appointed head of public offices with their official letterhead, they should stop living their seats at the chamber to have a photograph with the nominees that were in the Chamber for screening, they should stop writing letter of introduction on behalf of their firms and individuals to Ministers and Head of Parastatals, they should stop receiving brown envelop from private and public sectors in other to evade questioning on the activities of their Ministries or sectors and finally learn to understand the working terms of the ministries/committees they serve as members.
As one of the highest paid legislators in the world; the committees should try to employ Professors, Ph.D holders, retire career civil servants, Analysts and Professionals as their Technical Assistant/Special/legislative Assistants who are more update with the current global challenges and trends. This will afford them the opportunity to understand the working rudiment of the committees they belongs to and the opportunity to know the kind of questions to pose and information’s require from technocrats during public hearings and oversight functions
The ‘Change’ Nigerians are yearning for will not come to be without the dedication, patriotism and scarifies from the legislative arm of government which our lawmakers has a prominent role to play.
Mr. Yahaya writes from Jagbele Quarters of Muye, Niger State. Danmuye@yahoo.com