The Playground Called National Assembly

Posted: April 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

By Prince Charles Dickson

Watching Nigeria’s parliamentary sessions is like watching a public primary school’s classroom at break time. It’s a picture of absolute bedlam; delinquent adults jumping seats, throwing paper missiles, poking each other in the ribs, laughing, joking, singing and passing candies and biscuits around while the class teacher wakes up once in a while to shout ‘ORDER!’ Mike Asukwo

With those words above I take this week’s admonition. I want like never before that this is seen from that perspective–an ‘admonition’.

Its 13 years of our democratic adventure. I will spare us the agony and tutorial of how many arms of government make for our democracy. I will not take us to the theatre of absurd of how much legislators earn in the Nigerian National Assembly. After all its a nation where her citizens say–of fuel, “let us see it no matter the cost”. Of electricity–“we pay without seeing it”. And long ago a certain leader said–“its not about the money but how to spend it…”

So by all means let them earn a few billions according to Hon. Tambuwal of the trillions available, they get just barely 150 billin and after all the executive has trillions to play with…Precisely 4.5trillion, don’t mind bad bellies like Sanusi the emir and CBN governor.

So what really is my grouse with the Nigerian National Assembly. An assembly whose high point remains the aborting of the ‘famed’ third term, which is still a study in ‘na lie, na true’ in Nigerian democratic history.

Today we have a conglomeration of honourables, effc-wanted men, wives of that person, former and ex-this and that. It is a pot pouri of all kinds. Some that speak all the time reminding you of the village headmaster and those that are speech/contribution challenged. Others have a perpetual absence scorecard.

Tell me about that term ‘anticipatory budget’. Spending in anticipation and you know what body I am talking of. Tell me about the origins of ‘furniture allowance’ and show me that house that stolen/bribe money is displayed on its floor and after abracadabra the money disappears, we might be on the same page, it is the house of bribe for budget…

That they have fought on the floor is not peculiar. The British parliament can be clownish in its fight on the floor. And you can view boxing matches in some east European and Asian nations during parliamentary session.

It is the house that had a white wearing head of the lower chamber accused and its first female head also an accused, it produced a new dictionary called Patrick, others were know more by their clothings.

The Nigerian National Assembly is so favoured by law that it spends more time on recess than working. When they are working, they are more of the time fighting its sharing counterpart the executive over the budget and sundry matters.

It has committees on everything including possibly committee on aminal hides and skin which is why it argued ‘eating pomo (cow skin)’ on the floor. They love money so much they debated ‘gratification and termed it traditional ‘thank you’.

They are more concerned about caucuses along ethno-religious and party lines yet they represent a largely heterogeneous nation. The Nigerian National Assembly has not done better than the executive on Boko Haram or unemployment rather they have developed expertise in motions to congratulate, condemn and praise.

Along with the executive arm, boast as the only body not to have been owed or gone on industrial strike. The Nigerian National Assembly is equally and largely home to ‘abuja politicians’ clashing with those in their locales in our very faulty feeding bottle federalism.

It is a building where most governors want to go, at the last count 11 two term governors want to go there, while several legislators want to go and be governors…turn by turn, chop by chop arrangement.

What really does the National Assembly do for Nigerians, how much in terms of value do they add to the polity, is it not true that with their respective state houses of assembly, they are simply collaborators in state lootocracy.

We have not asked that government arms be at loggerheads. But the National Assembly needs to up the ante, individual legislators whether Representative or Senator, the appellage honourable and distinguished need to be earned and earned the hard way.

Like most government institutions, the National Assembly is the milk cow, an enterprise for the few. You go there to pick your part of the national cake baked by no one.

Nigerians need to be tired, and fatigued of seeing development in the hands of few–ever seen a single group of persons with several aides, all kinds of allowances, choice properties, with running water, standby power generator, with kids enjoying quality education and best of healthcare–they are members of that elite house call lower and upper chambers.

As Mike puts it, the Nigerian National Assembly ‘kids’ need to know we will not continue watching Nigeria’s parliamentary sessions, like watching a public primary school’s classroom at break time. After 13 years, the picture of absolute bedlam; delinquent adults jumping seats, throwing paper missiles, poking each other in the ribs, laughing, joking, singing and passing candies and biscuits around while the class teacher wakes up once in a while to shout ‘ORDER!’ must stop or at least reduce drastically.

The era of a principal, teacher and class monitor with soaked nose-running kids around need to end quickly. People with character, guts need to start the question and answer session regarding the issues that plague Nigeria. If one exposes one’s anus to view, people will fill it with hot water. (If one exposes one’s vulnerability to people, one will be done in.) Nigerians really don’t believe in the National Assembly, we have seen their anus–redemption is needed, it will go a long way in dealing with a recalcitrant system but does a goat eat bone and do dogs eat grass, only time will tell.


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