Last week, the leaders of the National Assembly (NASS), Ahmed Lawan, and Femi Gbajabiamila, were left with no choice but admit Nigeria’s failing state.
It has been a bitter pill to swallow, especially for both leaders who are rightly perceived as
President Muhammadu Buhari’s loyalists.
The not-so-shocking admittance of Nigeria’s progressive descent into political and economic abyss has continued to dominate national discourse. Last week was no exception even at the National Assembly (NASS).
On May 26, Senate President, Lawan and House of Representatives Speaker, Gbajabiamila, warned that the survival of the country was under threat owing to rising insecurity.
Both leaders bared their minds during a summit organised by the House’ Special Committee on Security, chaired by the Speaker.
Gbajabiamila had said: “…we must confront the realisation that our previous and current approaches to addressing the challenges of insecurity have not yielded the desired results.”
Lawan, on his part, averred: “I want to say here that Nigeria is at a crossroads today. The very essence of the existence of this country is under serious threat.”
The open admittance of the sorry state of the country by leaders of Nigeria’s legislature reinforces the outpouring of frustrations by the larger Nigerian society of the failings of the Buhari-led administration.
For both Lawan and Gbajabiamila, it would seem that the hens have come home to roost as their blind support for the Presidency had earned them the toga of a rubber-stamp legislature for always willing to pander to the whims and caprices of the executive.
It is, however, not enough for them to cry like commoners. The expectations of Nigerians is that they would put their offices to good use and help pull the country from the brinks.
And, there is no other way to do this but bring sufficient legislative pressure on the presidency to act decisively against rising insecurity while at the same time rallying their constituents to support government initiatives at containing terrorism and banditry.
Since the scales appear to have fallen off their eyes, Lawan and Gbaja must know that Nigerians have their eyes fixed on them. And, it is hoped that they would act right by leading selflessly across party divides to salvage the country.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“I’m not trying to make allegations against the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management, and Social Development (Sadiya Farouq), what I’m saying are facts. If they will continue with the way they are doing now, they had better not distribute the palliative at all because it’s fraud. My concern now is the manner and ways the palliative measures taken by the President (Muhammadu Buhari) are being executed. We have received numerous complaints and it’s very unfortunate. Left to me, I’m calling for the so-called Humanitarian Committee headed by the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs to be disbanded immediately and the President should set up a task force to handle issues of palliatives?”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
Open grazing ‘wahala’
Senator Christopher Ekpenyong, on May 24, stressed that the implementation of the open grazing ban by Southern Governors would tackle incessant clashes between farmers and herdsmen in the country.
Speaking in Uyo, the Senator said, among other, “Nigerians should disregard those opposed to the open grazing ban. Anyone opposed to such steps to ensure peace among Nigerians does not have the interest of this country at heart.”
Ekpenyong’s voice deepens the growing list of anti-open grazing community across Nigeria.
Unfortunately, despite the ban, there have been reports of continued open grazing by herders in some States, and this may not be unconnected with the absence of appropriate legislation.
This explains why Southern Governors are being dragged and advised to ensure that relevant laws are enacted to back their ban.
With farmers-herders’ crisis continuing unabated and massive killings still going on in States such as Benue and Ebonyi, the need to do more than just mere pronouncements should be considered an urgent task.
Open to criticism
On May 26, Senate President, Ahmed Lawan, said the National Assembly was open to informed criticisms as long as they would add value to the law making process.
He spoke in Abuja at the unveiling of a publication titled: ‘A Political Economy of Pandemics and Consequences of COVID-19 for Nigeria,’ which was produced by the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
“We want to have valuable contributions that will make the National Assembly legislate better for the governance of this country. We also want to open up the opportunity for Nigerians and all stakeholders really, to have the opportunity and the basis for informed criticisms on what we do because that benefits us,” Lawan noted.
In every democratic setting, criticism of public officials is a normal ritual. Needless to say, Lawan’s call for informed and/or constructive criticism is honourable.
However, what becomes a thing of concern is whether the Nigerian legislature is ready and willing to welcome sincere and honest engagements, rather than what appears like a dialogue of the deaf between lawmakers and citizens.
This is the onerous task before Lawan and his ilk who, daily, have come to be perceived as a bunch of selfish folks determined to push very narrow agenda instead of a pursuit for larger common good.
Answer: Senator Ali Ndume
Ndume made the statement on April 15, 2020, while speaking to journalists at a press conference in Maiduguri, the Borno State capital. He represents Borno South Senatorial District, and he is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Army at the Red Chamber of the National Assembly.
By John Chukwu…
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