Let me sincerely tender an unreserved apology to the few decent men and women in the 8th Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria for using the above caption to describe them. I am led to use this caption because of the signals emanating from the 8th Senate since its inception last year. I am not trying to throw away the baby with the bathe water but to rebuke men and women who do not know what Nigerians need at this critical point in the nation’s history. I am trying to call to order these leaders who are yet to come to terms that Change is here to stay in Nigeria for the better. I am persuaded to call the Senators names because I have seen the Senate turning into a national broken mirror.
A glimpse of what to expect from the 8th Senate came to the fore last year when it was time to elect the leadership of the Senate. While 51 Senators out of 109 Senators were putting heads together somewhere on the way forward in a venue very close to the Senate’s Red Chambers, their remaining colleagues played a fast one on them by going ahead to conduct the so-called election of Principal Officers that produced Senator Saraki as the Senate President. The leadership of APC screamed and screamed that this is the worst form of betrayal ever recorded in Nigeria’s history of party politics. But did Saraki listen to them? No, he did not. In the appointment of heads of committees in the Senate, Senator Saraki once again ignored the directives of his party to do the needful by accepting those the Party nominated for the positions. One thing led to another and today that travesty on the floor of the hallowed Chamber of the Senate has opened a can of worms that is tending to pitch Nigerians against the 8th Senate. That singular monkey business in the Senate that produced Saraki as Senate President and Ike Ekweremadu as Deputy Senate President has succeeded in putting a question mark on APC’s Change mantra and the party’s promise to fight corruption and impunity. For the avoidance of doubt what Saraki and his co-travelers who claimed to have elected him as the Senate President did on the floor of Senate is bizarre political corruption which has led to economic and social corruption. Today Saraki is facing corruption at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) and the whole Senate is on trial.
Under our own eyes, we have seen Saraki going to CCT with 90 lawyers and more than 60 Senators though the number of Senators reduced to 30 and then 10 as the trial progresses. We have seen the day to day proceedings in the Senate being disrupted as a result of Saraki’s travails. The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria has attempted to amend the Code of Conduct Tribunal law. The Senate has tried to invite Justice Danladi Umar of CCT to the Senate in an attempt to scuttle Saraki’s trial. In the National Assembly (both Senate and House of Reps) the 2015 Budget has suffered lots and lots of mutilations and balkanization all in the bid to favour themselves, and not Nigerians and this has led to delays in giving Nigerians what APC promised. The crisis in the National Assembly especially the Senate has slowed down the business of governance; it has affected every Nigerian. It has proved to us that majority in the National Assembly are there to help themselves and not Nigerians.
If more than 60 Senators can muster the courage to follow Senator Saraki to the CCT in the name of solidarity for a purely criminal offence, what are we talking about in this country? Can President Buhari fight corruption with these Senators in the Senate building? Can our courts function with this kind of criminal conspiracy and gang up? Can we deliver our change mantra under this criminal gang up?. Few years back somebody said “Nigeria was governed by two kinds of leaders. A fool surrounded by idiots or an idiot surrounded by fools”. Today we have moved away from this. President Buhari is no fool or idiot and those around him are no idiots and neither are they fools. Those who still think it is still business as usual in Nigeria cannot get it and mark my word they will burn their fingers.
President Buhari is ready to rescue Nigeria but these agents of darkness are putting up road blocks. But when power meets power, then the weaker will bow. This useless Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria breaks my heart. About 6trillion appropriation bill was passed into law by the National Assembly of March 23 2015. This was presented to the President for his assent but the criminal gang did not attach the details of the Budget and as a consequence of this, President Buhari refused to endorse the document. It was later discovered that the shenanigans added more than 100billion naira in the budget which they criminally and illegally called funds for constituency projects. This is height of impunity and brigandage.
The Senate of the Federal Republic is fast becoming a dumping ground for Governors, some who have gang- raped their States for two terms of 8 years. While still in office they rigged themselves to the Senate to continue to plunder Nigeria. They are going to be the beneficiaries of the 36.5 million Naira latest Toyota land cruiser purchased by the Senate leadership. These are Governors that have had it all , having many cars and SUVs in their fleet. I suggest that Nigeria should go the way of Senegal by disbanding the Senate because their minds , their thinking, their desires and aspirations are not on the same page with the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians at a time like this. Let them go home. We no longer need the Senate.
But there is light at the dark end of the tunnel. Nigerians are resisting the antics and criminal tendencies of our lawmakers. With the help of social media, Nigerians are doing what they have not been doing before. With the limitless,formidable, awesome and fearsome powers of the social media led by the indefatigable Sahara Reporters, Premium Times, The Cable, Facebook, Twitter, Whatsapp, PM News etc, Nigerians have taken their battles to the Senate given the Lawmakers a run for their money. Under my own very eyes I have seen their telephone numbers released to the public. I have seen everything being questioned and the details being demanded. Nigerians are taking back their country and this is a silent revolution. Nigerians have almost chased the Senators away from CCT. Nigerians have fought the Senate to a standstill as they tried to amend CCT law. Nigerians have forced the Senate to jettison a curious invitation they extended to Justice Danladi Umar of CCT. Nigerians are forcefully asking for more. Things will never be same again in Nigeria.
Joe Igbokwe writes from Lagos.