The Senate Of Dino’s Face and Saraki’s Hand, By Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú
Truly educated leaders will know and understand the limits of their powers and they will help us move beyond the tyranny of the ruling elite and witch hunt based on a few bruised egos. Perhaps we will learn to elect to the legislature, people with political integrity, men and women who value knowledge and higher education, not those who debase it.
The eighth Senate under Bukola Saraki is cockamamie in intent, politics and action. They act in über contempt for their oath of office, which is to preserve, protect and defend the Constitution. Since their inauguration, instead of serving the country, they have embarked on legislative overreach and constitutional vandalism by creating a detailed, complex, ego driven scheme to further political ends while the country groans at snail speed. Both the Senate and the House of Representatives have acted with notable specificity at achieving nothing but self-aggrandisement. With the enormous challenges facing Nigeria, the country certainly does not deserve this cockamamie Senate.
In the last six months, all we have been treated to is one drama after the other, instead of ground breaking legislation and such proactive and innovative ideas that can improve the lives of people in their constituency. We are witnesses to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) chairman confirmation saga, the Comptroller General of the Nigerian Customs and Excise uniform circus, the Professor Itse Sagay summon. Finally, Nigerians are convinced that they elected rogues to make laws for them. After so many years in the wilderness, it is a shame that the parties in opposition which formed the All Progressives Congress (APC) and won the presidential elections and majority of seats in both legislative houses are still mirred in theatricals and orchestrated inaction. Nigerians deserve a Senate that works. A Senate they can trust without the taint of fake certificates, false declarations of asset, outright stealing, alleged diversion of the Paris Club refunds, tariffs and duty evasion, among other high crimes and misdemeanours. We deserve senators with commitment to high ethical standards, whose ambitions do not seek to further political power at the detriment of the state but those who put the nation first and serve the best interests of the country.
Nearly two years on, the euphoria of change has given way to despair. What can we do? Hopefully, the Comptroller General of Customs uniform saga and the unfortunate summon of Prof. Sagay will help us learn whether the judiciary will wake up to its duty, protect the constitution from legislative overreach and vandalism and affirm the boundaries of the separation of powers.
I’m too inconsequential to be summoned for disparaging the Senate but nothing is beyond this do-nothing, clandestine Senate. Some of us exist to speak the truth to power. To call out evil. I am not afraid of stupid lawsuits and summons by insufferable, arrogant jerks. The truth must be told that it is so hard to weed through the craze going on in the Senate, where the obstreperous Dino Melaye is the face. He wanders the Senate and the courts like a mental patient off his meds. He has achieved nothing for his constituency other than spouting off and inflaming vile thuggish passions as a promoter of violence and harassment chief. Dino has earned his coveted place in the embarrassing pantheon of politicians who act with disturbing regularity as if they own the office to which they were elected and are above the law. I am not alone in my dim view of Dino Melaye. His reputation precedes him. He is an aggressively abrasive personality who has been allowed to be bad for too long. His unfortunate behaviour fills volumes; from floor fights he engaged in when he was elected to the House of Representatives, to his academic gown charade of last week. The list is long!
The Senate president, the boss and dispenser, Bukola Saraki makes no real pretensions to integrity. He is a political rascal you may even admire a bit; a slippery character and wiley operator who does not pretend to take anyone’s instruction or dictations. He is the worst kind of reprobate you will find in hell, in Abuja and in Nigeria. This prissy man is never who he says he is. Saraki delights in his grotesque mask of righteousness and inhabits a blurred moral universe where control is supreme. Can you blame him? He grew up treacherous and President Buhari’s congenital inability to assert himself and current incapacitation makes him look more powerful than he is.
Nearly two years on, the euphoria of change has given way to despair. What can we do? Hopefully, the Comptroller General of Customs uniform saga and the unfortunate summon of Prof. Sagay will help us learn whether the judiciary will wake up to its duty, protect the constitution from legislative overreach and vandalism and affirm the boundaries of the separation of powers. It is about time we hold our political leaders to high behavioural and ethical standards. We need to seek genuinely informed and educated leaders not certificated madcaps to lead us. Truly educated leaders will know and understand the limits of their powers and they will help us move beyond the tyranny of the ruling elite and witch hunt based on a few bruised egos. Perhaps we will learn to elect to the legislature, people with political integrity, men and women who value knowledge and higher education, not those who debase it. This crop of constitutional vandals will not change unless we wake up, ask questions and hold them to account.
Bámidélé Adémólá-Olátéjú a farmer, youth advocate and political analyst writes this weekly column, “Bamidele Upfront” for the PREMIUM TIMES. Follow me on Twitter @olufunmilayo