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NASS REPUBLIC: When Senators boil in anger. Two other stories, and a quote to remember



2020 budget to be passed on November 28

There was rage in the National Assembly (NASS) past week as Senators boiled in anger over perceived disregard, by President Muhammadu Buhari, of their resolutions on issues that concern his administration.

The seething anger over the President’s attitude, combined with a few others, shaped how activities at NASS unfolded.

Furious lawmakers

On December 15, Senators could not hide their annoyance over President Buhari’s refusals to implement their resolutions on critical national issues, especially as it concerns the country’s nagging security challenges.

The Federal lawmakers bared their fangs during a debate on a motion by Senator Bello Mandiya from Katsina South Senatorial District on the abduction of about 300 students of Government Science Secondary School, Kankara, Katsina.

Among those that spoke was the Chairman of the Senate on Public Accounts Committee, Matthew Urhoghide.

“We stood up here to say that the Service Chiefs should be changed. The more you say, the more annoying it is to the President and he will never change. Therefore, Mr. President (Ahmed Lawan) please, the President must be compelled to act on Senate resolutions, I am not saying that the President should be impeached; no, it would be premature, but let us compel him to sit up and obey our resolutions,” he said.

“The President has no respect for the National Assembly, our resolutions are not being respected,” he concluded.

For ardent followers of events in NASS, Urhoghide’s conclusions should not come as a surprise. The Senators on several occasions had made resolutions and recommendations only for them to be ignored or get attacked by Buhari’s media handlers.

On July 21, after the Senate adopted a resolution calling for the sack or resignation of Service Chiefs, Buhari’s Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Femi Adesina, lashed out at them.

“The Presidency notes the resolution, and reiterates that appointment or sack of Service Chiefs is a presidential prerogative, and President Muhammadu Buhari, in his capacity as Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, will do what is in the best interest of the country at all times,” he stated.

Only recently, the President snubbed the invitation of the House of Representatives to appear before them over the gruesome murder of no fewer than 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari community, Borno State. This he did without any official explanation while the Deputy President of the Senate, Ovie Omo-Agege, came in his defence, faulting the invitation as unconstitutional.

It remains to be seen if Nigerian Senators are genuinely perturbed or merely grandstanding about the growing disregard for their offices. So long as they remain willing tools in the hands of the executive, so will they serve as sitting ducks to be shabbily treated.

For now, it would seem that the so called anger is only but for the optics, designed to make Nigerians believe that the lawmakers truly want to act as checks on the presidency.


Who said;

“Mr. Speaker where are we going? Mr. Speaker I cannot go to my village and sleep. I cannot go to my village and spend a night as I’m speaking to you. For the last one year, walahi, I can’t go to my village and sleep. I feel very insecure. And, this is where I find myself. It is terrible. We have to do something about it?”

Answer: See end of post

Two other stories

Controversial 774,000 jobs

The House of Representatives at plenary, on December 15, urged the Federal Government to halt the take-off of the 774,000 Special Works Programme scheduled to commence January 5, 2021.

The resolution followed the adoption of Hon. Olajide Olatubosun’s sponsored motion. The House asked the Ministry of Finance not to release the funds meant for the programme until some issues that affect the integrity of the programme are sorted out.

Olatubosun had said, “The Minister of State for Labour inaugurated a state selection committee for each state of the federation, while the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), as part of its statutory mandate, was responsible for the registration of the beneficiaries,” adding that the house was “Concerned that the state selection committees in most states of the federation bypassed and ignored the list of beneficiaries compiled by the National Directorate of Employment (NDE), and forwarded a separate list of purported beneficiaries to the office of the Minister of State of Labour.”

President Muhammadu Buhari had approved on April 6 for the programme to run from October to December 2020 but the Minister of State for Labour, Festus Keyamo, on June 30, had engaged a NASS Joint Committee on Labour and Employment in a shouting match over the same issue.

Read also: NASS REPUBLIC: As Buhari gives lawmakers the cold shoulder. Two other stories, and a quote to remember

It is disappointing, as it is disgraceful, that both parties cannot reach a compromise on a job scheme that is slated to last for only three months, with a N20,000 monthly salary. It is hoped that the Federal Lawmakers and the Minister of State for Labour would sort out their differences for the benefit of unemployed Nigerians.

The show of power is absolutely unnecessary and President Buhari must call the feuding officials to order or better still seek accelerated interpretation of the law governing the proposed scheme.

Kalu’s investment talk

Alleged N7.6bn fraud: Court revokes Orji Kalu's bail

On December 18, the Chief Whip of the Senate, Orji Uzor Kalu, called on Nigerians in the diaspora to invest in Nigeria in order to stimulate the local economy and ultimately drive sustainable development.

Kalu made the call while extolling Nnamdi Imo, a Nigerian who resides in Canada, for investing in the hospitality industry in Nigeria.

“Imo I want to thank you for remembering to invest in Nigeria. Most people in Canada, America, Britain, Milan and what have you, do not even want to come back home,” Orji said.

Perhaps, there is nothing more to add to Kalu’s private admonitions to citizen Imo but to urge him and fellow lawmakers to pursue and establish conditions that would encourage would-be investors to think Nigeria.

Needless to say that at a time when Nigeria is embattled with heightened security challenges, the possibility of having many people come back home to invest would always be low.

Besides, the incidence of policy somersaults remain a very big disincentive to aspiring investors. These, and a few other challenges, Kalu and his folks must seek to resolve for foreign direct investments to flow.

Answer: Hon. Abubakar Chika Adamu

Chika made the statement during the House of Representatives’ plenary, on May 2, 2019. The then honourable member spoke to register his discomfort over the high level of insecurity in his Shiroro/Rafi/Munya constituency of Niger State.

By John Chukwu…

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