The Nigerian Senate, dumping all forms of affiliations and sentiments, is unyielding in its call on President Muhammadu Buhari to sack his underperforming security chiefs.
The waves of pressure by the National Assembly (NASS) continued last week, and Nigerians are becoming increasingly agitated over Buhari’s stubbornness.
Would the President ever heed the call and do the needful? While the answer blows in the wind, here’s how NASS impacted the political space last week.
‘Phasing’ out service chiefs
On December 1, members of the Red Chambers of the NASS unanimously asked President Buhari to initiate a way to phase out the country’s security chiefs.
The Senate came to the resolution after deliberation on a motion – Beheading of 67 Farmers in Borno by Boko Haram insurgents – sponsored by the Senator representing Borno Central and former Governor of Borno State, Senator Kashim Shettima.
The key resolution read:
The Senate “urges the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to immediately initiate a transitionary process of phasing out the currently overstayed Security Chiefs and replacing them with new ones with new ideas and solutions.”
It added, “The President should take immediate steps to restructure, remodel and remove the entire security architecture and provide enough state-of-the-art weapons and equipment to adequately combat the belligerent power of the (Boko Haram) insurgents.”
The Senate’s call, no doubt, resonates with most Nigerians. On several occasions, NASS members, including the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, had urged Buhari to fire his underperforming service chiefs but met a brick wall.
The November 28 massacre of rice farmers in Zabarmari community, Borno State had provided the basis for a renewed lobby to kick out Army chief, Tukur Buratai, and others.
But bereft of the constitutional powers to exercise executive powers, members of NASS can only resort to mounting pressures on the President to do the needful.
Except they resolve to play the ultimate joker of removing the President, if sufficiently convinced that his conduct amounts to a breach of national interest, Nigerians may well continue to tolerate a man who does not appear to have a sense of urgency in pushing the frontiers of governance.
For now, the Nigerian Senate can cry themselves hoarse until they are willing to take the bull by the horns.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“I was aware of the video clips before they were released to the public and I pleaded that they should not be released, but they didn’t listen to me. I am not happy that the video clips were made public because it is an embarrassment to the (Kano) State and its people, including myself?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Benue’s strange deaths
The Senate, on December 2, urged the Federal Ministry of Health, the National Arbovirus and the Vector Research Centre, to probe the cause of strange deaths in Benue State.
The resolution was sequel to a motion moved by Senator Patrick Abba on the urgent need to deal with the outbreak of a strange disease suspected to be Yellow Fever, ravaging Epeilo-Otukpa and Itahono-Owukpa communities in Ogbadibo Local Government Area of the State.
The Senate had noted that the “affected people in the rural localities are dying on a daily basis in their numbers with Epeilo and Itabono communities recording 20 and 25 deaths respectively.”
The Benue health challenge calls for a rapid response and it is hoped that the Federal Government will rise to the occasion and combat the menace.
At a time Nigeria is already burdened with the likes of the Coronavirus pandemic and Lassa Fever epidemic, it will be trite to say that the National Centre for Disease Control (NCDC) has its job cut out.
Given the country’s well known culture of allowing issues to fester before dealing with them, it is also hoped that the health emergency in Benue will not be made to drag.
Call for new Constitution
The Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, on December 2, asked Nigerians who were clamouring for a new Constitution to forget the idea. According to him, NASS members lack the powers to do so.
Omo-Agege stated this when he hosted members of the Alliance of Nigerian Patriots, led by Ambassador Umunna Orjiako, in Abuja.
In a statement by his media aide, Yomi Odunuga, the Deputy Senate President said: “I am not sure that we as a Parliament have the power to replace the Constitution. We can only make amendments. And it is explicit in Sections 8 and 9 of the Constitution on how we can do that and the requisite number of votes required.”
As brilliant as Omo-Agege’s explanation sounds, it heightens public concerns that there may never be genuine efforts made at renegotiating the relationship between and among Nigeria’s various federating units. Some have referred to these as calls for restructuring.
The waning confidence in the shaky contraption called Nigeria is palpable. While it seems comfortable to hide under the constitution and frustrate national conversations, and or agitations, Nigerians see through the hypocrisy and will stop at nothing to force a debate.
To tactically absolve the National Assembly of direct responsibility for a new constitution is to speak tongue-in-cheek.
What cannot be denied at the moment is that there is a huge conspiracy by the Nigerian state not to steer the country towards any radical tampering of the constitution as the present arrangements arguably favour a section of the country.
Signs are that the resentments will grow, and Omo-Agege and his peers would do well to brace up for a deafening roar.
Answer: Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso
Kwankwaso made the statement on November 27 while featuring on a live Radio Programme on Aminchi FM, in Kano, Kano State. It was in reaction to the video which showed the Governor of Kano State, Abdullahi Ganduje pocketing US dollars in what was said to be bribe payments from some public works contractors
By John Chukwu…
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