Our distinguished senators are really distinguishing themselves

The news that closed last week from our
hallowed chambers was not very cheering.

It had nothing to do with any of the things
we pay them such exorbitant sums to
debate. It was not about the economy that
needs all hands on deck. It was not about
youth restiveness and rising crime. It was
not about the malnutrition in IDP camps
and children dying of hunger on a daily
basis. It was not about the avengers in the
South or Boko Haram in the North or
herdsmen in between.
It was not about any of the national issues
crying for attention. It was about the Senate
looking inwards. But it was not a critical
self-introspection like the amount of money
it guzzles from our depleted purse. Or the
number of times it goes on recess in a
year. Or its poor attendance record not to
talk about its low attention span. Or the
rightness of a select group of people
collecting pensions and salaries from the
Senate.
No. The news that closed the week was
about two senators who threw decorum to
the winds and allegedly used words that
should never have left decent lips.
The issue that led to this was not, like I
said, about national interest. It was about
self-interest and the need to protect certain
high ranking officials from facing the
consequences of their actions. It was about
caucuses and the Nigerian penchant for
turning everything into politics including
crime. This is not what we pay them for but
this is what they do.
This time, neither of the two main caucuses
allowed itself to be browbeaten or
intimidated. The result was a shouting
match that led to a gutter language. One
allegedly called the other a thug and a
dog. The other in response, allegedly
threatened to beat her up and 'impregnate
her' on the floor of the Senate and 'nothing
will happen'. He was alleged to have
further said that she was too skinny for
him anyway and would prefer a fleshier
senator like…. .(name of the 'fleshy'
senator is withheld for decency).
These comments if true, show that this
person has no regard whatsoever for
womanhood. It shows him to be an uncouth
chauvinist who is utterly contemptuous of
the feminine gender. His defence, a press
statement a couple of days later was even
worse. How could he impregnate a
menopausal woman he asked in his
statement. He forgot that he was speaking
about somebody's wife, somebody's
mother and a fellow senator. This is from
an honourable member, a distinguished
senator, a two-time Member of Congress.
This week opened with the news that this
distinguished senator flew to Lagos, and
videoed himself walking down Bourdillon
Street, the home of the female senator to
show that nothing could happen to him. I
do not expect this kind of antic from even
a student activist. I felt sorry for him, his
family, his constituency and the country.
This guy has no idea of the import and the
weight of his office. This is a man whose
long time ambition is to one day rule this
country. You've got to feel sorry for
Nigeria. How is it that this is one of the
people that are supposed to make laws
that will govern Nigeria?
I have been expecting some reactions from
the leadership and public condemnation
from same that these two people brought
the hallowed chamber into disrepute. I have
been expecting other senators to re-
emphasise the need for comportment and
decorum in the conduct of senators.
Nobody has the right to call another person
a dog, least of all a fellow senator. And
nobody has the right to drag a body,
especially a body of the status of the
Senate to the low that it was dragged to by
the other gladiator. But all we have heard
from the hallowed chamber is a deafening
silence. And all we have heard from APC,
the party of change to which the two
belong, is also a deafening silence.
This is the Senate that wants immunity for
its principal officers in the first instance.
This Senate of anything goes including
possibly murder, wants immunity. This
Senate that has not shown any regard for
corruption and crime wants immunity. This
Senate that does not recognise talk less of
protecting those who put them there wants
immunity. Immunity from who? The
government or the people? You can imagine
giving this our man in question immunity.
There is no doubt in my mind that we need
a body that will check the excesses of the
executive. Especially an executive like this
one that tends towards being autocratic.
But it cannot be the Nigerian Senate that
allowed the scale of corruption that took
place under Jonathan. Or this present one
that is so self-absorbed. We need a robust
senate that is ever so conscious of the long
term needs of its constituency and the long
term needs of the country. A senate that
will earn its respect by the quality of hard
work of its members and the quality of
debate on the floor of the House. The
people have a role to play in making sure
that we clean up the Senate and have an
upper chamber that we desire. We should
stop accepting whatever it dishes out to us.
We should insist on getting value for
money. Nobody is paying a senator to
follow his principal to court. If there is
anything to be learnt from the Turkey
experience, it is that we the people have
more than a say. We have power to effect
a true change. We have the power to resist
individual ambitions that are not in the
collective interest. And we should never
have allowed the past Senate President and
all his fellow returnees who supervised the
malfeasance that characterised the last
administration to still be in the Senate.
An article credited to Rtd General Alani
Akinrinade made the rounds last week.
Whether it was written by him or not, it is
an article that all senators and House of
Representative members should read
because it encapsulated how people really
feel about our Congress. Titled: 'A joke too
far', it talked about the carrying on in the
present Senate; its achievement or lack of
it and lambasted it for daring to talk of
impeaching a democratically elected
President. He called its members prodigal
sons and suggested to concerned Nigerians
that turning out en-mass to
'OCCUPPYNASS' would not be a bad idea.
Now, would it? Especially if it would make
our 'distinguished senators' to shape up or
ship out.

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