It is heart-rending to realise that Nigerians have succeeded in assembling a terrible group of people who are clothed in the respected garment of 'lawmakers'. But to utter a cry of lamentation at this time is to confirm our persistent stupidity. These so-called lawmakers are the product of our collective ignorance and stupendous greed which we exhibit every four years at the polls without a moment of retrospection. They may indeed pay to buy our votes and to massively rig our electoral voices, but they do not supervise the entire process. We do it for them, unmindful of the catastrophic results that await the destiny of our nation and its people. The implication is that we produce political 'leaders' who prove that they are morally deficient even before they are ushered to oversee the affairs of the state.
It is stale news at this time that President of the Senate, Mr Bukola Saraki is currently being tried by the Code of Conduct for corruption and for unlawfully providing false information in his assets declaration forms. What is quite nauseating is the proclaimed 'solidarity' from his cohorts at the Senate, so much so that they troop out en masse to show support to a colleague who is being tried for being corrupt and deceptive to the people and the state. Such is the admiration that the Nigerian lawmakers has for corruption. One of them, Senator Dino Melaiye (representing Kogi West), even became a bodyguard to the wife of the Senate President on the day she was invited for interrogations by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). One must admit that he looked quite suitable for the top job: a hefty chest facing the firmament and a thick frown to intimidate any advancing adversary. One wonders why the Sarakis decided against keeping him on a permanent basis after such a spectacular performance on his first day at work.
With a Senate that troops behind its corrupt colleague in a desperate bid to intimidate the trial judge, the fight against corruption naturally becomes an arduous task for President Buhari whose pre-electoral campaigns were built around the eradication of this endemic virus.
It is herculean to point at any meaningful impact of the Nigerian Senate since 1999, except for the series of lawlessness and endless looting for which its members are famed. In fact, the Senate's recent criminal attempt to amend the Code of Conduct Act and Administration of Criminal Justice Act (2015) to protect themselves whilst looting the people's resources with boundless impunity was an insult of gargantuan proportion against the Nigerian people. If indeed a good percentage of Nigerians were up and doing, and in any way committed to this liberation struggle, that certainly would have been the ideal moment to press for the immediate overhauling of those at the National Assembly for the offence of paying a carpenter to design a high-class throne on which Mr Corruption should sit and cross his legs in the most comfortable fashion. But the docility among Nigerians is first-class, and majority of us are always on the side of the political elite, the class enemy of the people, so that any attempt to question their integrity attracts a litany of invectives.
The skyhigh allowances for sitting, for drinking, defecating, sneezing, sleeping, etc which are far more than the budget of some African countries could be reserved for other meaningful things to aid Nigeria's development. The Nigerian Senate is a charade and should consequently be scrapped if its door against probity remains firmly barred. The Senate, in its present state, is only an avenue to enrich a section of our oppressors. Flowing from the above facts, therefore, it is not out of point to assert that Nigeria will fare better without a selfish and heavily corrupt Senate.
Elias Ozikpu is a human rights activist, playwright, novelist, autobiographer, social commentator and an advocate of justice.