AS THE SENATE RESUMES: EXPECTATIONS AND FEARS
After the long wait, the resumption of the National Assembly – after the lawmaker's annual vacation – has finally arrived. As plenary is about to begin, Chima Chime, writes to examine some of the issues that Nigerians can expect to see coming from the upper legislative chamber.
E-PARLIAMENT: Before the 8th Senate went on recess the Senate President, Abubakar Bukola Saraki challenged the Senate Committee on Rules and Business to evolve an e-parliament system, which is set to foster transparency in the affairs of the Senate. It is expected that the implementation of this new system will commence immediately plenary begins, as Nigerians are patiently waiting to witness this new effort at promoting transparency in the affairs of the Senate for the first time in Nigeria's legislative history.
#OPENNASS: An ad hoc committee has been set up to look into #OpenNASS and is expected to present their result and conclusion before the Senate.
MINISTERIAL SCREENINGS: Our expectations of the 8th Senate cannot be whole if we do not include the upcoming ministerial screening and the promise of the Senate President to eradicate the era of 'bow and go.' The Senate should do well to ensure that the chances of confirmation of any of the nominees as eventual-ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria are based solely on performance, not political affiliation.
The above mentioned expectations are clear indications that it is going to be an eventful last quarter of the year for the Nigerian Senate; it shows that Nigeria is already set on a fast train that will take her to a desired destination. But will this really be the case with so much questionable distractions around the Senate President?
We all are aware of the fact that every coin has two sides, and so our expectations of the 8th Senate cannot be put to bed without stating the fears that has gathered in the hearts of Nigerians throughout this period the Senate has been on respite.
DISUNITY IN THE RULING PARTY: The APC Senators in the 8th Senate have successfully allowed some of their party leaders to tear apart the unity of the APC Senate caucus. This has led to an alleged 'gang-up' against the Senate President, as news reports state that there are underground moves to attempt to unseat him and his PDP deputy, Ike Ekweremadu. Now Nigerians are asking; is this the 'Change' that we voted for? Will the ruling party spend the next four years fighting each other? Senator Bukola Saraki has started enacting positive changes that is affecting the lives of every Nigerian irrespective of class or status, and has promised more; is it possible that these forces behind the Senate's rancor are the same forces behind the trial of the Senate President?
DISTRACTIONS: Needless to say, the upcoming trial of the Senate President at the Code of Conduct Tribunal will also serve as an unwelcome distraction. This is because certain judicial processes were not followed in the case, and the trial has been faulty from the get-go – pointing many to believe that APC leaders that are opposed to Saraki's emergence as Senate President are also behind his trial. If the APC does not call its leaders to order and also call off the kangaroo-nature of the trial against the Senate President, it will end up getting the Senate distracted from its agenda to reform Nigeria. Worst of all, given its fractured ranks, the APC could also likely lose the Senate President seat to a PDP Senator – if Saraki resigns or is removed from office.
Moving forward, the Senate will achieve little or nothing if some factions of the APC have decided their selfish/personal interests are more important than the interest and wellbeing of Nigeria as a whole.
A word they say is enough for the wise.
Written by Chima Chime.