Just when it appeared that the dust had settled on claims that former President Goodluck Jonathan left an empty treasury in 2015, top lawmaker in the National Assembly (NASS), Ahmed Lawan, raised it again recently.
While the controversial talk has received national attention, NASS continues to be a centre of focus for some other issues troubling the nation.
Empty treasury talk
The President of the Senate, Ahmed Lawan, on November 26, said that the Goodluck Jonathan administration left an empty treasury for President Muhammadu Buhari when he came into office in 2015.
He made the controversial statement while speaking at the All Progressives Congress (APC) national secretariat in Abuja.
Lawan had said: “We came in 2015, we inherited everything but poor governance. But thank God the President came with a determination and focus to ensure that this country works for the citizens of this country that government resources are prudent, efficiently and economically applied for the benefit of the people.
“Though we inherited an empty treasury, the price of crude went down so badly, yet, the little resources we started with provided a lot more of infrastructure, of services to the people of this country.”
Politicking is an integral part of any democracy, and Lawan’s jabs at Jonathan must be seen as one of such. Clearly a distraction and diversionary, the ruling party has maintained a sing-song of the supposed failings of the previous administration, even after taking control five years after.
The blame game had kicked off in June 2015. Buhari, while speaking to journalists at the Aso Rock Villa, had said: This culture of 100 days (in office) is bringing so much pressure with treasury virtually empty, with debts in millions of dollars, with state workers and even federal workers not paid their salaries.”
But Jonathan had responded on June 6, 2016 saying: “It is not true, there is no way that he (Buhari) would have inherited an empty treasury and at the same time give bailout to the States. It’s not possible.”
Many years down the road, it would seem that Nigerians are no longer enthused by the excuses bandied by the ruling party as signs of mis-governance envelope the country.
Perhaps, it’s time to confront the realities and quit trading blames as the same Jonathan is being elevated to near ‘sainthood’ following several clandestine moves to have him switch to the ruling party.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“If Maina remains, then, the Senate will react appropriately and I don’t think we are short of ideas nor are we short of what we want to do. We know the step to take. Let me assure you that the Senate has the teeth to bite and it will bite when it is time to bite. Nobody can stop it?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Rebuilding damaged infrastructure
On November 24, the upper arm of NASS called on the Federal Government to dedicate one per cent of proceeds from the Value Added Tax to assist in rebuilding the infrastructure destroyed by hoodlums across the country during the #EndSARS protests.
The call was sequel to two separate motions by Senators Abiodun Olujimi and Gershom Bassey.
“The alleged shooting of protesters further infuriated protesters and tension flared with consequent violent protests and the beginning of wanton looting and destroying of public and private assets across the country and particularly Lagos, the epicenter of the protests,” Olujimi argued.
“It is worrisome that private and public assets destroyed by hoodlums in Lagos was estimated by the Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo-Olu, to be in the region of over N1 trillion,” he added.
It is certain that the task of rebuilding Lagos and other cities that paid the price of the EndSARS mayhem would be daunting. The proposition by Olujimi and Bassey’s motion are well timed.
What, perhaps, would remain a challenge is winning over the rest of NASS and securing the sincerity of the executive arm of government to act most appropriately.
The country, no doubt, needs to heal from the monumental pain caused by the violent fall out of the #EndSARS protests.
But more importantly, the most rational response by the administration would be to initiate sustainable policies and programmes to forestall a reoccurrence of such mass uprising against government misrule.
It is not yet late to walk this path.
Ending banditry on campuses
The House of Representatives, on November 25, showed deep concern over the abduction of staff and students of Ahmadu Bello University, (ABU), Zaria, Kaduna State and other tertiary institutions across the country.
The Federal Lawmakers expressed their concern during the debate on a motion of urgent need to address the security threats posed by bandits on the campuses of ABU and other tertiary institutions. It was sponsored by Hon. Mohammed Garba Datti.
“The House is distressed that on the 17th November 2020, nine (9) students of the university were kidnapped along Kaduna-Abuja Road while the bandits sent a ransom demand of N270 million for the release of the students,” Datti said.
“The House is further distressed that only on Monday 23rd November 2020 at about 12:50 am, armed bandits, invaded the house of another staff, Professor Bakari Girei and abducted him, his wife and daughter and, only after an exchange of fire with the Police Intelligence Response Team did the bandits release the wife and daughter while they escaped with the Professor.”
The feeling of distress expressed by lawmakers come no where close to the daily trauma suffered by a growing population of Nigerians over wanton killings by terrorists and bandits.
Given the dangerous descent into near anarchy, the many critics who claim that Nigeria may be ripe to be described as a failed state might just be nearer the truth.
The Buhari-led government may do well to restore some semblance of sanity or risk being remembered for surrendering the nation’s sovereignty to bandits and terrorists.
Above all, the deplorable state of security should not be allowed to add more damage to the already poor educational standard in the country.
Answer: David Mark
Former Senate President, Mark, made the statement on February 13, 2013. He said so when the Senate set aside partisan and ethnic divide to call on the then President Jonathan to fire and prosecute the former Police pension task team head, Abdulrasheed Maina, who was accused of a N195 billion pension fraud.
By John Chukwu…
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