The Chairman, Senate Committee on Cooperation and Integration in Africa, Senator Chimaroke Nnamani, recently bared his mind on the Mondays sit-at-home order imposed by the proscribed secessionist group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), in the South-East region.
His comments have stirred further conversations around the enraging issue of injustice, and how best to evolve a sustainable approach to dealing with it.
We tracked two other stories from the National Assembly (NASS) for your reading pleasure.
‘IPOB’s enslaving order’
On September 12, Senator Nnamani, while speaking with journalists in Abuja, called for an end to the sit-at-home order by the proscribed IPOB in the South-East.
He argued, among others: “How does enslaving our people, denial of means of livelihood, add value to our quest for equity and justice? If others reject us, should we also reject ourselves.
“It stands to reason that this sit-at-home cannot be a way forward. We cannot abandon ourselves. In our struggle for equity and justice in the Nigerian federation, we cannot inadvertently inflict more injuries on ourselves by this sit-at-home order.”
Nnamani’s submission serves as an amplification of the thoughts, and concerns of most South-Easterners who have been badly affected by the IPOB’s order. It also adds flesh to the argument that the secessionist group may not have carefully thought through its strategy, having shown shallow capacity for a democratization of ideas.
No doubt, the group’s knee jerk response has had the unintended consequence of dislocating the South-East economy and disrupting the education sector in the region.
All said, Nnamani, and his fellow South-East legislators must continue to hammer on the emptiness of the sit-at-home order even as they have recently shown interest in working out a political solution to the Kanu ordeal.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“In the South of Nigeria, East and West, miscreants and criminals masquerading as separationist activists have emerged to wreak havoc, take lives and commit economic sabotage against fellow Nigerians and against the State. These people, in their inclination for devastating violence against fellow citizens, their appetite for the destruction of private property, their disruption of academic activities, commerce, and industry, their propensity for defiling institutions of the State, society and community, their refusal to engage in debate, or to consider the possibility of dissenting opinions and alternative viewpoints, are no different from Boko Haram and ISWAP. Given space and time, they will take our nation down the same path of destruction?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Ekweremadu on VAT war
Former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, on September 12, urged the National Assembly to avoid any legislation relating to the contentious collection of Value Added Tax (VAT), and Stamp Duty, which are currently items of litigations between some States, and the Federal Government.
In a statement by his media adviser, Uche Anichukwu, he said: “So, I think we should allow the Constitution and the laws of our land to be tested in the courts of law. It is untidy for the Presidency or its agency to come through the backdoor to seek legislative intervention in its favour on the same matter that is prejudice.”
Ekweremadu’s position raises the bar on the restructuring debate, and generates more questions on the perceived skewed fiscal federalism Nigeria still practices.
It is not out-of-place, however, to argue that the failure of the Federal Government to restructure the country has piled up frustrations in various States who feel short-changed in the existent national revenue sharing formula.
Apparently, Ekweremadu does suspect that the legislature could be manipulated into influencing the outcomes of debate and tilt the rights over VAT in favour of the executive.
Therefore, as persuasive as his counsel appears, he would have to do the extra work of convincing his fellow legislators to embrace the rule of law and insist that it prevails.
Adamu’s zoning rationale
On September 13, Senator Abdullahi Adamu asserted that it is unconstitutional to zone the presidency to any ethnic group.
At a media briefing, in Abuja, he said: “Nowhere in the Nigerian Constitution does it say we should zone any public office. There is Federal character, but not that parties must zone positions for presidency during election. Yes, somebody is saying the East has not had a President. I agree and I sympathise. But the Constitution says you can only become President through the ballot box. We have been saying it during elections that every vote must count. So, why do you want to zone?”
Adamu’s position is a sad reminder of the intrigues and flaws that attend the country’s leadership recruitment process.
Indeed, his argument further queries the commitment of the political class to harnessing the country’s diversity for the purpose of building a more inclusive society.
Needless to add that the widening fault lines will persist unless the political gladiators are driven by the higher ideals of patriotism and national interest, spiced with justice, fairness and equity.
Answer: Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila
Gbajabiamila made the statement, on September 15, 2021, in his welcome address to the members of House of Representatives from their nine-week recess. Gbajabiamila is the current Speaker of the House of Representatives.
By John Chukwu
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