Tuesday, 18 June 2013
Legislative Thieves At Work By Bayo Oluwasanmi
Albert Camus yearned for a country that an honorable man could love and love justice too. Majority of Nigerians are convinced that Nigeria is not such a country.
There is a widespread disillusionment among Nigerians about Nigeria. These are times of dramatic conflict between the forces of good and evil.
All who are not lunatics are agreed about certain things: That it is better to be alive than dead. Better to be adequately fed than starved. Better to be free than a slave.
Selfish people desire those things only for themselves, their families, and their friends. They’re greedily content that others should suffer.
Fact is, we as a people have become so connected and intertwined that we cannot insure our own prosperity except by insuring that everyone else achieves the same.
If you wish to be happy yourself, you must work to see others are also happy.
There aren’t many issues in Nigeria today that incite and excite public outcry with untamed anger as the looting of our treasury by both the Senate and House of Representatives – the National Assembly.
The ravenous hunger for stealing on the part of the assembly members is demonic. The competition to out thieve the thief in a theater-cruelty style is unmatched.
Our common sense is outraged and our decency violated by the spiritually harmful influence of their chronic stealing syndrome (CSS).
It is unduly fastidious and punitively grinding to attempt to abbreviate the extent of their misappropriation and malfeasance. No one is sure how much has been stolen from the nation’s coffers.
Many if not all of the brazen –faced thieves of the looting spree in a coordinated exodus escaped the dragnet of the impotent EFCC, the government anti-graft watch dog.
The National Assembly members have made us smug and content with stealing because people do what people see. They’ve made stealing fragrant and sweet.
Vanguard’s sarcastic editorial of May 12, 2011 titled “It is our Turn to Eat” aptly summarized the objective of the Abuja law makers.
Our politicians believe stealing is an additional perk to their unjustified outrageous pay. Their jumbo pay and allowances are scandalous as well as criminal.
They’re paid for everything from the absurd to the ridiculous: Allowance for wardrobe, for furniture, for car, for sitting on committees, for sneezing, for absenteeism, for eating, for personal hygiene, for having sex with their spouse and concubines, for fighting same set of lovers, for talking on the phone, for lying, for bribery, and for corruption!
The governor of my state of Maryland in the US makes $150,000 per year while the police chief of Washington, District of Columbia is paid $250,000 per annum. The highest paid governor in the US is the California governor who is on $173, 987 per year.
As of 2010 US Senators and members of US House of Representatives make $174,000 per year.
Nigerian senators and reps make millions. No one is sure how much they’re paid. Their salaries and other illegal fringe benefits are monstrously humongous. They’re scared as hell to disclose it hence it is shrouded in diabolical secrecy!
Time and time again, the assembly members beat the broken drums of tantalizing, teasing, and mocking sounds of promise and hope. Their meaningless and ineffective drum beatings have isolated and discredited them from those they feign to represent.
Their political pendulums oscillate between romantic illusions to blindness and cruelty. The attitudes of these intellectually and culturally sterile law makers will light the fire next time.
Their representation is often secured by fraud, bribery, and even murder. It’s no wonder they employ and deploy the powers of their office for selfish and mercenary ends.
Agreed the president is known for his crass incompetence, criminal negligence, and astonished cluelessness. What about the assembly members who are supposed to represent the interest of their various constituencies?
Of course, they too are handicapped. The majority of assembly members are loosely controlled criminals and ex-convicts. They have been neutered by greed, fraud, and corruption. They’re partners in crime.
Their insensitivity to the needs of the people that sent them to Abuja makes the people’s faith grow dim, and hope ceases to illuminate the future.
Sometime ago, some fools among the legislative thieves with a couple of Aso Rock idiots went overseas to lure as it were, investors to Nigeria.
These brainless Abuja thieves forgot basic economic requirements of factors of production and factors of location of industry.
Who wants to invest in a country ruled by armed robbers, rapists, kidnappers? Who wants to invest in a country that boasts of 24/7 black out?
Who wants to invest in a country without road networks? Who wants to invest in a country without treated water to drink? Where there is no safety and security? Where you have to bribe the high and the low?
Of what use are the legislative thieves who claim to represent the people? The Lagos-Ibadan road was build over 34 years ago. No road in the world that I know of has eaten so many human lives like Lagos-Ibadan road.
Yet, the callous legislator-thieves are proud to represent the constituencies under which the road falls. The same goes for Benin-Ore road, Aba-Port Harcourt road, Maidiguri-Minna road. The list goes on.
With their incurable disease of CSS, the welfare of their constituencies takes a back burner. Their primary assignment in Abuja is to chop and steal till they drop!
In order to curry corruption from the president, they have completely ceded their constitutional powers to the president. The president is the chief legislator; he’s the chair tender’s board for contracts.
The president is the oil and gas minister, the agric commissioner, the aviation minister, the health minister, the voice of Nigeria, the funeral director, the telephone minster. In short, he’s the executive, legislature, and the judiciary.
Then one wonders, what the hell are the zombies in the national assembly doing? Where is the separation of powers? Where is the check and balances? The assembly voted additional N63 billion the president doesn’t need or ask for in the 2013 budget.
The passage of the budget was done pronto without scrutiny or pruning.
By now, with the killing feast perpetuated by the Boko Haramists, one would have expected the legislative thieves to summon the president to intimate them what his plans are to liquidate the blood thirsty villains.
In the assembly of real humans, the toothless and gum-less EFCC the anti-graft government watchdog would have been scraped and replaced with an independent body free from any interference from Aso Rock.
They have no solution to the greed and violence, distrust and spiritual apathy that are eating the very heart of our nation because as evil characters they are held captive by their sins.
All good store managers periodically take stock of their inventory. They carefully examine their goods to see what they have on hand and what they don’t.
What they need to buy for their shelves and what they need to throw away. And they do this at regular intervals.
When was the last time the legislative thieves took inventory of services to their constituencies?
When was the last time they felt the pulse and pain of their home base?
What bills or proposals have they initiated to restocking the shelves for the people’s needs?
What job creation programs for the army of the unemployed in their respective constituencies have they suggested, debated, discussed on the floor of the house?
What has been their reaction to the moribund health care system of the country?
What’s their answer to the sagging education standard that is falling faster than the power outage of PHCN?
The only bills initiated and passed into laws are appropriation bills, gas and oil bills, jumbo allowances, hyper inflated budgets, and other dubious statutory allocations.
The people’s business has never been given the priority and importance it deserves. Most of their time is spent junketing the globe for weddings, funerals, birthdays, awards, lectures, seminars, retreats, and other frivolous and stupid engagements.
How much really do they need to construct good roads? Provide treated water? Build hospitals for humans? Construct 21st century schools and equip them with internet? Create jobs? Provide safety and security? Construct decent public housing? How much money for God’s sake?
Look at what they’re doing to our people:
They steal their land by moving the boundary markers.
They steal their livestock and put them in their own pastures.
They take the orphan’s donkey and demand the widow’s ox as security for a loan.
They pushed the poor off the cliff. The needy must hide together for safety.
Like wild monkeys in the wilderness, the poor must spend their time looking for food, searching even in the desert for food for their children.
All night our people lie naked in the cold without clothing or covering. The poor are soaked by showers and they huddle against the rocks for want of home.
They snatched a widow’s child from her breast taking the baby as security for a loan. The poor harvest food for them while they themselves are starving.
The poor press out olive oil without being allowed to taste it.
The groans of the dying rise from the city and the wounded cry for help yet, they ignore their moaning.
There are three flavors of foolish: simpletons, fools, and mockers.
Simpletons are naïve, usually because of their youth; fools are morally numb and mindless, and mockers are aggressively defiant and cynical.
But they’re all alike in one way: they pay no attention to wisdom and suffer consequences.
For once, can the legislative thieves apply some wisdom and just do something right for the people who elected them? In the words of Rodney King “Can we just get along?”
Now is the opportunity for them to right historical wrongs and leave a legacy of service, justice and fairness.
What is to be done?
The answer lies with Richard John Neuhaus:
“Truth spoke to power and power was deaf. Love appealed to power and power was heartless. Humility petitioned power and power was cruel. Reason argued with power and power was stupid. Now violent power must address violent power.”
No other choice!
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters