By Emeka Uzoatu
Mr Chairman, members of the high table, impartial judges, accurate timekeepers, co-debaters, ladies and gentlemen. I’m standing perpendicularly before you here to outline a few points regarding why Mr Lawan the president of the 9th senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be bothered that he supervised a rubber stamp senate.
Mr Chairman, standing on the subsisting protocol heretofore, I must express my huge shock the other day upon straying upon the news. In fact, that Mr Lawan doesn’t feel any botheration about the tag is disheartening to say the least. In the vernacular, it outshines a vulture in ugliness, is more odorous than a shrew and is more repugnant than original sin.
According to the report, Mr Lawan was said to be of the opinion that the allegation was only prompted because they had a good rapport with the then president and commander in chief of the executive arm of government. A claim that overtly belies the claim that they worked on all decks to bequeath our nation the most decrepit record any government in the nation has ever achieved.
Invariably, this defence of his amounts to nought. Why because it appears a desperate scratch for a twig by a drowning man. According to at least two senators of northern extraction, this relationship amounted to ‘over cooperation’. To be frank, all the bills Lawan claimed they passed were nothing but garbage let in and out sans proper scrutiny.
Mr Chairman sir, permit me to refresh you that the idea behind the separation of powers doctrine has come a long way. According to the great Frenchman Baron de Montesquieu in his book The Spirit of the Laws published in 1748, ‘(t)here can be no liberty where the legislative and executive powers are united in the same person… or if the power of judging be not separated from the legislative and executive powers.’
Though Mr Lawan thinks that clinging to the apron string of the executive manifests a good working relationship, it gets worrisome only if it’s done as though they are puppets. Like the legendary reggae maestro Bob Nesta Marley implied in his number Waiting in Vain in the groundbreaking album Exodus. Dedicated to a love prospect, Bob stressed how he who knows how to do his thing, thus needs no pulling, as though he were a puppet on a string.
What am I saying? Mr Chairman, members of the high table my point is that the 9th NASS failed woefully in all aspects of their responsibility. Before our very eyes, we were blessed with a senate that never stood up to the task of checking and balancing the executive arm. You must agree with me that while their tenure lasted, they never as much as vetted any bills brought by the executive – let alone query it appropriately.
In fact, it grieves my heart that we all stood by and applauded as they aided and abetted the mostly reckless bills the said executive inundated them with. So much that not only was our currency devalued to the rock bottom, but we have also been beyoked with a debt burden never before entertained in the land.
Yes, why should the immediate-past Senate President have to bother? When he – together with his colleagues – are the most highly-paid legislators the world over. Their take-homes apart, it’s also well known that their pecks and allowances are so humongous that they could as well be accused of having made cash cows of the people they were representing.
I can go on and on in the present but the past also beckons. Yes, even in the past before civilization kicked us in the face, our forefathers also checked and balanced their kings and queens. In the old Oyo Empire, for instance, the Oyomesi who made kings also had the power to checkmate any despotic tendencies of the rulers.
Here apart, all over the world many recalcitrant presidents have been called to order by the legislative arm. Not only are bills submitted by them vetted with irreverent concern, they have occasionally impeached when they overreach their bounds. Making the fear of the legislative arm the beginning of wisdom to the executive arm.
Indeed, the situation was so grave that the 9th Senate did, or could, not raise a voice when the executive invaded the judiciary arm. We were all there when before our very eyes the privacies of otherwise venerable judges and justices were invaded in nighttime raids. Like common criminals, they were harangued on end till the break of dawn.
Also, we were all here when a former Commander in Chief wanted to join his other African peers in the termination of term limits. It’s well known that but for the senate of the time he would still have been in power. An achievement for which one of Lawnan’s predecessors at the time has gotten his name written in gold.
Mr Chairman, members of the high table, impartial judges, accurate timekeepers, co-debaters, ladies and gentlemen, I am short of words. Mr Chairman, it’s well known that when a fish wants to rot it starts from the head. Any wonder that after all the horrendous incapacity manifested by our 9th senate, its leader is unashamedly announcing his nonbotheration with it.
Like our elders say, if the witch cries in the night and a child dies in the night, going to a soothsayer for explanations amounts to a waste of time and resources. After all, the grapevine holds that the post had been reserved for him ever since their party came on board. Making some wonder where we would have found ourselves had he mounted the podium in tandem.
Anyway, like we used to conclude in our interschool debate days, it clearly shows that the age of Methuselah has nothing to do with the wisdom of Solomon. After all, a child learning to climb trees should be strong hearted. Just as the subterfuge of not knowing how to dig up the earth by a grown up human amounts to chicanery of the highest order.
I could have gone on but for time. But so far so good. So with these points of mine, Mr Chairman, I’m of the opinion that if anybody should be bothered by the rubber stamp appellation being tagged on the 9th senate, it should be its sidon-look president Mr Lawan.