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THE UNFINISHED 30-MINUTE WAR FILM IN THE PARLIAMENT

PHOTO: RANCOUR INSIDE THE NIGERIAN FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON TUESDAY JUNE 22, 2010.
PHOTO: RANCOUR INSIDE THE NIGERIAN FEDERAL HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES ON TUESDAY JUNE 22, 2010.
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Before I proceed with this article which can be described as the reaction of a despised citizen, I earnestly plead with all those who participated in the war which was displayed on the floor of the House of Representatives on Tuesday 22nd June, 2010, to apologize to Nigerians and to dishonourably as dishonourable citizens vacate their seats with immediate effect until they are ascertained mature by psychology specialist.

Secondly, let the war which has surely been properly recorded by men of the press be sent to the Nollywood so that Nigerian first-class actors and actresses can learn and improve on that aspect of film management. Maybe, there are many techniques in war films they should definitely add from Tuesday’s display. At least, the Nigerian film producers can adopt this House of Reps’ film and I assure them to be one of their immediate customers. And whatever means have been employed, news outfits worldwide have gotten hot headlines.  

Then, it is pertinent to call on those who have the eyes and ears of the leadership of the House to seek for a village head who will come down to Abuja and train the House on the ethic of culture and decorum.  After that, the political thugs in the House should be handed over to army for physical drilling by recruit solders.

Again, before I delve into this mess which though is not the first of its kind in the House, one continues to wonder how honourable a man can claim to fight in the public. As far as I know, honourable men do not fight in public. They do not even abuse mankind, because they know as they are human, that man is circled with shortcomings. How then on earth can a highly placed and respected lawmaker denigrated oneself to fighting on the floor of the "hallowed chamber" as they always address the House.     

In this modern world where dialogue and parley are the best means of settling discordances, here we are with a House full of warlords. What were the reactions of these men and women when the Niger Delta militants nearly threw the economy of this country to disarray? Can anyone be charged to describe these citizens as a House of militants? It is, however, praiseworthy, that guns and weapons of mass destruction (WMD) are not allowed to be carried by citizens especially into public places. If not, there can be doubt that Nigeria would have been thrown into mourning for the loss of dishonourable citizens.

One thing that keeps assuring Nigerians that anything of this kind can happen at any time in these kinds of place is the way these people find their ways into the positions they undesirably enjoy. They claim to be representatives of the common man in the remote village. To be precise, some of these people cannot visit their hometowns without a convoy of heavily armed security men. This is a clear indication that they know they are now hallowed in their homes and even in their families. Some have taken citizenship of Abuja and only sneak to their villages, unnoticed or unrecognized, to see those that can work the second tenure magic for them.

One gets angrier and more agitated to note that the bone of contention is not on any of those legislative demands that have direct effect on the life of the common man. It was not because of the rising prices of food stuff, building materials, health care delivery or was it on the sorrowful condition of the civil servants. It was not about the insufficiency of roads in the Federal Capital Territory or the many death traps called roads scattered across the country. It was not on the ever failing educational system or the rampart killing of innocent citizens, kidnapping or prostitution in politics.

It was not even on how to ensure that the 2011 transition witnesses a real change. It was basically on money sharing. It was because contracts were allegedly inflated. And very sure, some of the aggrieved members were "not carried along". If not, the House has been on for over three years and no member raised an eyebrow. Surely, Ette’s episode was unimaginably staged.

None of the aggrieved lawbreakers can claim to have judiciously carried out constituency projects with all the money they get for it, at least leaving 10 percent for contingencies. Some collect all and eat all. No saint in that House. No saint in that corner. No saint in that environment. If the fight was for justice, Nigerians would recognize these fighters. But it is clear that they are selfish fighters. They are fighting, not really for Nigeria but for their pockets. If not, there are wiser ways of fighting corruption in a complex society like Nigeria. The Economic and Financial Crime Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Matters Commission (ICPC) are there to investigate any allegation of such. But he who wages war against corruption must not be corrupt in order to succeed. This is where our problem lies today.  The monster has an unbearable grip on most of our politicians. It runs in the veins and arties of some acclaimed powerful citizens in the polity.

A critical scrutiny of the pseudo political cluster claiming "The Progressives" reveal three things to note. First, all the members of the core north states seem to distance themselves from challenging the leadership of the House. Secondly, there is no "big" name in the list. Thirdly, all the members are of the ruling Peoples Democratic party (PDP). The list of the eleven progressive minded lawmakers were captured as Dino Melaye (PDP, Kogi), West Idahosa (PDP, Edo), Independence Ogunewe (PDP, Imo), Solomon Awhwinahwi (PDP, Delta), Austine Nwachukwu, Gbenga Oduwaiye (Ogun), Abba Anas Adamu (PDP, Jigawa), Kayode Amusan (PDP, Ogun), Gbenga Onigbogi (PDP, Osun), Bitrus Kaze (PDP, Plateau) and Doris Uboh (PDP, Delta).

This saga has embarrassed Nigerians and the world will likely look at us as unserious people. There is an adage that a leader should see what the underlyings do not see. It was, however, a very rash decision for the leadership of the House to work against eleven out of 360 members just because they were not satisfied with certain things in the House. If the members have made their case to EFCC for investigation, what then warranted their suspension? If the leadership of the House feels it has clean hands, why the move against the petitioners to the extent of gingering their suspension?

The funny part of this suspension is that it may remain till next year, implying that the suspended members will have no opportunity to campaign for a second tenure. In our setting, it is a move that will be restricted with any do-or-die means. Therefore, to prove its maturity and democratic understanding, the House must rescind any move to keep the "progressives" away from the chambers. Unless it wants Nigerians to believe otherwise or create more rooms for suspicion, it must meet and take a fast and right decision. The PDP has to intervene in this and bring its members together. The party must note that many things are at risk especially as the 2011 general elections approach. A scattered house is a defeated one. The opposition, if it was strong enough, would have rejoiced on these shortcomings.

On a serious note, the President should set up a committee to investigate this scenario. A punitive measure must be taken to prevent recurrence in future. And unless, this is done, Nigerians would await part two and more of this unwholesome, belittling and unpatriotic happenings in the chambers of our lawmakers. But there should be no religious attachment to these mean things. Every member is on his or her own.

Muhammad Ajah is a writer, author, advocate of humanity and good governance based in Abuja. E-mail- [email protected]

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