Last week, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, gave a somewhat late reminder to his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), on the need to stick to their promises or manifesto while in governance.
Gbaja’s submission has since generated deep-seated reactions, and conversations among well-meaning Nigerians.
This, and two other stories, were at the heart of events that unfolded at the National Assembly (NASS), past week.
Gbajabiamila’s late sermon
The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, on June 21, said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), must stick to its manifesto in order to succeed in governance.
Speaking at the youth conference organised by the APC in Abuja, Gbajabiamila described manifestoes as “statement of vision and is the foundation of all achievements.”
“As is the case with all other contractual documents, the commitments contained in the party manifesto are the basis upon which the party’s record in government will be measured and its leaders will be assessed both in real-time and in the judgement of history.”
Coming less than two years before the expiration of the APC administration, it is not improper to accuse the ruling party of reneging on its promises.
Gbajabiamila’s sermon may have come late but it must be admitted as a subject of serious introspection and applauded for speaking truth to power.
Critics have argued that APC’s prevarications on its manifesto, especially the section that speaks to a restructuring of the country, are its greatest undoing.
Indeed, restructuring Nigeria appeared to be one mouth-watering detail in the party’s manifesto which persuaded most citizens to vote the party into power.
Unfortunately, President Muhammadu Buhari, on June 19, boldly waved this campaign promise off, drawing the ire of individuals, and groups.
Will APC listen to one of its own, a high-ranking official, to revisit its promises, especially in the areas of security and economy? Or, is Gbajabiamila simply playing Pontius Pilate by cleverly washing his hands off the perceived shortcomings of the Buhari-led government?
Whatever be the case, the ruling party must harken to Gbajabiamila’s free counsel and rebuild its waning reputation tainted severely by growing lack of trust in the administration.
Whether it will make the most of the remaining time they have before 2023 remains a matter of conjecture.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“For God sake, what is social media? Are we eating social media? Let us go back to the resources, and harvest them, and let’s keep this thing aside, and face the real problem in Nigeria. My colleagues have spoken the mind of their constituents. If I would speak the mind of my constituents, I would include the President (Muhammadu Buhari), because out of 360 of us, I am the only one voted by the President (Muhammadu Buhari). Look, Nigeria first, let us be honest to ourselves, let us call a spade a spade. If Twitter was not suspended after they pulled down Buhari’s tweet, the insults to the sovereignty of Nigeria would have been more?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Lawan’s loan promises
On June 24, Senate President, Dr. Ahmad Lawan, disclosed that the National Assembly will always attach due diligence in approving loan requests of the Executive arm of the government.
Speaking with State House Correspondents at the Aso Rock Villa, Abuja, he said: “What I want to assure Nigerians is that we are not going to be frivolously supporting or approving loans for the Executive arm of government. Whenever we have to approve any loan, we have to insist on the details of what projects will be funded by those loans.”
The disposition of Nigerian lawmakers, as elaborated by Lawan, is only commonsensical. Anything short on that promise would amount to acts of irresponsibility.
For instance, under their watch, Nigeria’s debt portfolio had grown from N12 trillion in 2015 to N36 trillion, making the country something of a beggar nation.
Nigeria’s 9th assembly has, indeed, become notorious for kowtowing to nearly every request of the Presidency, and earning the infamous tag of a rubber-stamp assembly.
One question that continues to agitate Nigerians is how its coterie of lawmakers dosed off only to realize, after some Chinese loans had been procured, that there were some dangerous sovereign immunity clauses inimical to the country.
It will be interesting to see how Lawan and his co-travellers will wean themselves of the apron-string mentality which has held them down because of party affiliations.
On June 23, the Senate condemned the shooting incident by a Police Inspector in Enugu which led to the death of five persons, and also the alleged killing of a Germany-based Nigerian, Oguchi Unachukwu, by personnel of the Nigeria Air Force, in Owerri, Imo State.
This was sequel to a motion on the “Need to Investigate Fatal Shootings by Security Agents in Enugu and Imo State,” moved by Senator Ike Ekweremadu.
While condemning the killings, the Upper Legislative Chamber directed the Inspector-General of Police, Service Chiefs and heads of other armed security agencies to “immediately commence regular assessment of the state of mind of their personnel as well as training them on relations with the civilian populations.”
The mental state of the average Nigerian police man has been a subject of constant debate, and remains a source of national worry.
In fact, how people who swore an oath to protect the lives and property of the citizenry become glaring dangers to their lives baffles many.
This explains why this particular case must be thoroughly investigated and its findings used to strengthen the police institution, especially in the areas of sensitization, retraining of its personnel and a regular assessment of their mental state.
It is hoped that the culprits would also be brought to book, as allowing them to go free would only amount to an endorsement of their recklessness, and a demotivation for others.
Answer: Fatahu Muhammad
Muhammad made the statement, on June 22, 2021, in defence of the suspension of the Microblogging site, Twitter by the Federal Government. The government had, on June 4, 2021, banned the social medium on the ground that it threatens Nigeria’s corporate existence. Muhammad represents Daura Federal Constituency of Katsina State in the House of Representatives.
By John Chukwu…
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