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Executive Bill Blocking: The Senate Made A Mark!


Yesterday, the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria made yet another landmark decision that have caused me to consider that category of Federal legislators as more serious than their contemporaries in the House of Representatives. The effectiveness of the Nigerian Senate played out during the tail end of the life of Late President Umaru Musa Ya’adua. The role that institution played was remarkable. The Senate at that time reflected the wish of most Nigerians who were tired of the tricks and antics of a “non existent” cabal (according to Mallam Nasir El-Rufai) led by Hajiya Tura’i Yar’Adua who at that time was doing everything possible to ensure that then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan did not emerge Acting President.

It was a moment full of suspense and intrigues; no one was sure of what would happen next. Suddenly, our Senate unleashed a surprise. By the time the dictates and contents of that surprise were implemented, Nigerians knew who her enemies were and normalcy returned to our polity; the famous Doctrine of Necessity was born.

Earlier this week, as a fallout of the refusal of the Nigeria Police Force, NPF to provide security for the Save Rivers Movement to hold a rally in Rivers state, South South Nigeria, the opposition All Progressive Congress, APC after its emergency NEC meeting earlier in the week instructed it’s members in the National Assembly to oppose any executive bill called up for debate till further notice. The instruction, draconic as it were was viewed in different ways by Nigerians. While some Nigerians applauded it, some saw it as not in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. I belong to the second group. My views were hinged on the fact that the fallout of a battle of wits between two bands of political gladiators should not be borne by I and my country men who in this case are innocent.

My friends in the APC did not consider the implications of their directives to their members in the NASS on security. They didn’t consider the implications of their directive on the fight against the Boko Haram Terrorist sect, they did not consider the implications of their directive on the near comatose education sector, they did not think of the implications such a directive will have on the various development projects being undertaken simultaneously across Nigeria by the current administration etc. They wanted to get back at their political enemies (real and imaginary) at all cost. Perhaps, they had even reckoned that with the internally generated revenue of Lagos about to kiss the N20B target per month, they are good to go.

The ruffles not withstanding, I accepted the directive in good faith. I had told a friend over a joke that I was expectant of another Doctrine of Necessity that will see crucial executive bills being ratified by parliament with or without the support of APC legislators. Alas! I was wrong; our senate had gone beyond the Doctrine of Necessity. The simply acted in good faith, rising above party and tribal affiliation to ensure that their legislative duties did not suffer because of the latest directive of the APC. I specially commend Senators Babafemi Ojudu (Ekiti Central APC), Akin Odunsi (Ogun West APC), Kabir Marafa (Zamfara Central APC), Sani Saleh (Kaduna Central APC), Ataai Ali (Kogi East APC), Ajayi Borrofice (Ekiti Central APC) and Bindowo Jubrilla (Adamawa North APC) for being patriotic and true to their constituents. For taking part in the screening of newly appointed military service chiefs, they have set the pace for their comrade-at-arms in the APC to follow. These men are models on the strength of their latest action. They should be applauded by Nigerians’ and encouraged to continue to be the face of a new senate.

Senate President, David Bonadventure Mark and his leadership team have nurtured a senate that have emerged a stronger institution than it was in the past. They should be commended for level of decorum and commitment they have exhibited.

I wish to request that my countrymen in the House of Representatives borrow a leaf from the Senate and be alive to their legislative functions. Nigerians have had enough of their lectures in the game of self interest preservation and political survival. They should as a matter of urgency and national interests get back to the job which they were elected to do for which they are the highest paid on planet earth. The members of the green chamber should be reminded that power is in the hands of the people as a result of which they should parade themselves in a more dignified manner. Hurling abuses and throwing punches at random interval is fast being the only thing the House of Representatives will be remembered for in the nearest future.

In the face of so much work to be done in Nigeria, I see no reason why the only news that is produced from the house of representatives is tied to who defected from point A to point B, who referred to who in an unacceptable manner and who will chair which committee when power eventually changes hands in the leadership of the house. Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Waziri Tambuwal did noble to have put to rest speculations that he is set to defect to the APC. Declaring in Akamkpa, Cross River State, he stated categorically that he remains a staunch member of the PDP with a preference to remain in the party. I can only hope that his colleagues learn from his matured disposition and act right. 

I am even aware that today, a coalition – National Unity Group was formed by Members of the House of Representatives elected on the platforms of the PDP, APGA, ACCORD and LP. Their aim; frustrate every scheme and strategy of their APC colleagues. We do die for una? In my opinion, these matters are trivial and should not be magnified as it portrays members of that house as very lazy, unproductive, insensitive and ignorant of the enormity of the duties and responsibilities placed on them by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Ezeani, Chukwunonso Elvis is the Convener, Friends of Nigeria; the green group. He writes in from Victoria Island, Lagos.

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