What Does A Nigerian Legislator Do?
The entire Nigerian state last week was treated to the movie "scaling gates"...a production of the legislative arm of government.
The incident, which saw members of the House of Representatives locked out, attempt to get in, by scaling the gates of the "hallowed" chambers.
I will spare us the details we know, and quickly share this take by a friend...Phil
When it was Chibok abducted girls, nobody climbed the gate, when it was mass killings of innocent Nigerians in Yobe, Borno, Adamawa, Gombe, Plateau, Taraba, Bauchi, Madalla and the two Abuja Bomb blasts, nobody thought it wise to climb the gate and sign in for impeachment.
Our schools were closed down by long strike action; nobody cared to climb the gate. The bring back our girls protestants have been sleeping on the streets for months in hope to get our Government free those girls from the chains of their captors, nobody still scaled the gate or care to collect impeachment signatures against the president.
Our Health care is almost in shambles, justice system trying hard to breathe, security of lives and properties zero; yet, nobody climbed the fence or gathered signatures for impeachment.
There are Displaced persons in almost eight LGAs in Adamawa state, you find them sleeping in cold on the streets of Yola, destitute in all things, yet, nobody scaled the fence or signed for impeachment.
Now, "them them" fight, "them them" were locked outside, they fought their way through the fence, survived small tear gas and moved in to protect their seats and "rights".
It is all about them after all...When will it be about the people, when will it be about our missing aged parents and children, when will it be about the ordinary common man killed, displaced and denied justice, when will it be about Nigerians?
When will they climb the fence in protest to bring back justice, quality education, good and affordable healthcare...When will they scale the fence because of Nigerians on the streets? When will they gather signatures to impeach the President because he failed in providing the primary role of Government and not because of selfish power tussle? When will they break through fence and take the tear gas because of you and I?
In February of this year I wrote an admonition in which I asked what does a Nigerian governor do, so let me in the same vein ask what does a Nigerian legislator do?
A Nigerian legislator is Nigerian, he often than not is an indigene of the area he supposedly represents.
In rare cases, we know legislators have actually hailed from another state, and in those cases we have kept the matter under the realm of gossip and conjectures.
Well, is my admonition about where legislators come from? Certainly not! But let's share this learning together in the next few paragraphs.
To the grouse then, what do these men and women do, what really is the job of a legislator...Nigeria has 469 of them, split into two chambers, from two major parties, the PDP and the APC.
What do these men and few women contribute to nation building or even senatorial zone building?
On a personal note, these men are entitled to a four wives if Muslim, and a wife if a Christian, but scores of then keep a convent/harem of concubines, girlfriends and mistresses, at least not any has been caught 'gaying'. In other words, as a legislator in Nigeria you cannot/should not be faithful at home, by extension you owe those you represent very little and owe much to your harem/party and godfathers.
It is not so much about what these legislators do, as in also what they do not do. These legislators have dozens of aides, ranging from 30-45, they are entitled to senior special assistants/special assistants/advisers (both senior and junior)/countless aides and yes consultants on various subject matters.
Empty constituency project offices...that function only when they choose to.
How many days a year do they really do the job of legislating, when many days are spent on recess? The rest is spent gallivanting, wedding, naming ceremony, birthday, and death-day, they attend meetings, left right and center, and flex in caucus meetings of how to remove Jonathan, or how to deceive him and make more money.
Off course all these happen when they are not in Kosovo, Kabul or Khazastan on one hindsight or foresight committee work.
How many of these honorables and distinguished have in the last four years spent an average of 4 hours everyday, 15 days a month and 9 months a year in the office. But trust me, these 'guys' and the 'chicks' amongst them are working so HARD, indeed very HARD.
Our Senators and Representatives tell us how difficult the art of making laws are, and you sure would agree, contending with the opposition, with political enemies from different camps, and sure spending all that billions that make them one of the most expensive Parliament must be one hell of a job.
We keep arguing and debating on how much they earn for all the hard work? And very few can say exactly. No wonder every one of them now has to learn the art and act of fence scaling.
I watch people say X, Y, Z governor or Minister is doing well, and I ask who grades the legislators, and what are the yardsticks.
Nigerian Senators with many cars, without kids in public schools, and none with less than N10M, show that senator, then I will show you a lazy lawmaker. Today in assets and cash there is no legislator who is not a billionaire, and that's 109 Senators and 360 Representatives, all hardworking billionaires.
Like I used governors as guinea pigs, so also our legislators across the states. However it is really about our leaders, what do our councilor men/women do, how about the chairmen, how has our ministers impacted our lives?
We need to start asking questions, we need to demand answers to issues of governance.
An old axiom speaks of not touching a blind man's hand while eating with him...for how long our leaders will continue to touch our hands while the eat--only time will tell.