National Assembly: Time to sit up!


The renowned Hungarian poet, Valerira Kenn, once declared that “After so many decades of watching human affairs, I have learnt not to be bemused nor outraged or cynical. Rather, I try as much as humanly possible to be tolerant and understanding.” Even then were that gentleman to be here in Nigeria these past couple of weeks, he would probably find it difficult to understand, let alone tolerate, the comedy-like melodrama on parade at the National Assembly since their inauguration last month.
Specifically, the leadership crises that have been rocking both chambers of the federal legislature has become as protracted as it has been disgraceful. So much so that even the intervention of elders and chieftains of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on the one hand, and a host of other distinguished Nigerians on the other, has failed to bridle the lawmakers’ raging feud. Take, for instance, President Muhammadu Buhari’s timely intervention in the House of Reps’ leadership showdown penultimate week.
For several hours Buhari and other well-meaning APC chieftains tried their best to broker peace between the warring factions, all to no avail. Neither the Speaker Yakubu Dogara faction nor the Rep Femi Gbajabiamila group would yield ground over the otherwise petty issue of who should occupy which post in the House. At the end of it all an obviously frustrated President Buhari had no option than to send them away with the admonition to endeavour to resolve their differences in the nation’s interest and in obedience of their party’s instructions.
The obvious implication is that after five long weeks of a barely deserved break the Reps would reconvene in an atmosphere that is not all that inspiring, to put it very mildly. To make matters worse, the situation in the Senate too is not all that encouraging, what with the senators having gone on break in a rather acrimonious way. In other words, the upper chamber is, like the House of Reps, like gunpowder waiting to explode at the drop of a hat. This, needless to say, is not the ‘change’ which long-suffering Nigerians had voted for barely few months ago. If anything, it is a hare-brained, potentially destructive indulgence of a handful of politicians who have elevated their personal interests and vaulting ambitions to the same pedestal as national interests. Is this what Nigerians deserve at such a critical juncture of our agonizing journey to the Promised Land?
DESERT HERALD believes that enough is enough! In case the warring factions of the National Assembly haven’t got the message, let it be proclaimed from Olumo Rock and Mount Everest that what the electorate desperately need is the dividends of democracy, not shameless, desperate scramble for power at the National Assembly at the expense of good governance. The federal legislators should borrow a leaf from the Executive arm. Despite the formidable mess left behind by the immediate past regime, President Buhari has, comparatively speaking, hit the ground running. Our Senators and Reps should act accordingly. Maturity and the common cause should be their primary concern, not personal interests and inordinate ambitions.


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