Members of the House of Representatives, last week, bared their minds on the many issues hampering Nigeria’s power sector.
In their expression of concerns, the Federal lawmakers shot themselves in the foot somewhat.
This development has since engaged Nigerians, even as two other stories around the activities of the National Assembly (NASS) generated lively conversations.
Clever by half!
On August 12, the House of Representatives, declared that the problem of the power sector lies in lack of policies that would make it function better, while emphasising that Nigerians were paying for electricity they do not consume.
The Chairman, House Committee on Power, Magaji Aliyu, while speaking at an event in Abuja said: “I believe that there are political machinations not to allow power grow in this country.”
“In this country, we still do what they call ‘take or pay’. Nigerians are paying for the electricity they did not take. We are paying for it. This is a very serious issue,” he emphasised.
The Aliyu-led Committee did well to amplify issues with the power sector that most ordinary Nigerians had been pointing at for years.
However, in asserting that there are political machinations not to allow the power sector grow, the legislators turned out clever by half because as members of the political class, and part of the policy making system, the conclusion to draw is that they, indeed, wittingly shirked in their duty to Nigerians.
The principal question many would be tempted to ask, therefore, is where were they when unwholesome laws were being enacted to drive the country’s power sector.
As has been seen in the past, and even now, it is easy to discern a culture of greed that has defined the operational mode of the legislators, both high and low.
When they are not caught padding budgets, they are found on the wrong side opposing laws that could enhance the integrity of election conducted in Nigeria.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“I have seen a lot of people claiming credit for the failure of Obasanjo’s third term bid. If there is any credit for it, it has to go to Senator Ibrahim Mantu. He is the true hero of the third term war. The hero of what we did should be Mantu and nobody else, because he was the one who brought the strategy of how we will do it. He was the one who told me not to tell Ken Nnamani, the Senate President. He told me that the Senate President was on both sides of the Atlantic. He said nothing we discussed should get to Nnamani because he was with them, while he would appear to be with us. I insisted that we carried the Senate President along, but Mantu assured me that Obasanjo will get everything we discussed with the Senate President within seconds?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
More funds for military
On August 11, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, disclosed that the National Assembly had approved an extra-budgetary funding for the acquisition of modern equipment to enhance fire power and operational needs of the armed forces.
Represented by Senator Aliyu Wamako in Abuja, Lawan was quoted as saying:
“We are promoting a sustainable approach to developing military capabilities, which encourages people to be proactive and not reactive which anticipates threats before they emerge.”
The Nigerian military, no doubt, deserves every support it can get in the war against terrorism and banditry. However, the following questions remain relevant:
1. Will there be accountability and transparency in the use of the extra funds?
2. Is NASS determined to conduct a thorough probe devoid of any sentiments on how the billions of Naira pumped into the security sector have been expended?
The Wamako Defence Committee must, therefore, play its oversight function well or face the wrath of Nigeria who have become serially disappointed with poor adherence to transparency and accountability by the country’s leadership.
No state creation yet
The Senate, on August 8, debunked report that they had proposed the creation of additional 20 States, stressing that their resolution was “grossly misrepresented” by sections of the media.
The disclaimer was issued, in a statement, by the Senate spokesman, Ajibola Basiru, who stated that the report was a misunderstanding of the decision reached by the Senate Committee on the Review of the 1999 constitution.
Basiru noted: “Far from recommending the creation of any state, the Senate Committee, while acknowledging receipts of several Bills proposing the creation of new States, decided that it is not in a position to recommend or propose the creation of any state unless there is compliance with the provisions of Section 8 of the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic as amended.”
The clarifications, though timely, bring to fore the unending agitations for equity and fairness. The lawmakers may do well to keep transparency and integrity high as they sort all receipts of bills sent to them from all sections of the country in the quest for a constitution amendment.
Answer: Orji Uzor Kalu
Kalu made the statement in his autobiography, My Life, released in October 2020. Kalu is the Chief Whip of the Senate. He represents Abia North Senatorial District. He served as the governor of Abia State from 1999-2007.
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