NATIONAL ASSEMBLY, SANUSI AND THE REST OF US
Last week, everywhere you turned to in the dailies, one name featured very prominently - Malam Sanusi, Lamido Sanusi, the current Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, and for the right reason. Former Lagos State Governor Asiwaju Bola Tinubu described him as “…Kano born banker whose leadership attributes Nigeria needs to move forward”
Only a few days earlier, l asked the nine wise men of the north why they refused to draft the likes of Malam Sanusi, El-Rufai or Nuhu Ribadu to the PDP and present any of them as northern consensus candidate if the caucus meant well for Nigeria. I am still waiting for the reply that will never come.
It is not necessary to repeat the publication of available statistics concerning the salary and remunerations of National Assembly members and by extension their workers also. It is there for all to see as proof that the National Assembly gluttons consume at least 25% of the nation's wealth for doing nothing.
Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi arrived the apex bank of Nigeria from obscurity. Nobody gave him any element of trust except maybe some few bankers who had worked with him. Many like this writer did not give him a chance. Though l did not believe in the Soludonomics, l thought that Sanusis' appointment was meant to satisfy another lopsided sections of the country just to throw the Naira into shreds against the US Dollar, courtesy of the mallams along broad street Lagos or elsewhere in Nigeria. But l have long been proved wrong. The man is a nationalist to the core and this is the value we need to promote and display so that we can throw the nation up as front burner again in international politics and comity of Nations as was the case in the era of General Yakubu Gowon, Muritala and Idiagbon. To say the least, Sanusi by his stance against the National Assembly members proved that integrity still reign supreme in this country. l am a proud Nigerian again.
Our National Assembly will always make news for the wrong reasons. The other day, the House of Representatives members abandoned 300 and more Bills in the house and rushed to their various constituencies and party offices to seek the never to be their portion mandates/re-election months before the INEC time table! Some are already getting the rude shock of their lives and will come lining the street like myself. It has never made sense for most of them that for nearly eight or twelve years in power, they have nothing to show the electorate other than exotic cars made in Japan, expensive Italian shoes, finest cutleries and drink mugs from China and of course bundles of over used International Passport and to cap it all, they have the best Architecturally designed homes and houses dotted all over the place within and outside Nigeria. Yet, most of them never stepped near the international wing of the Muritala Mohammed Airport before their current status, and l can bet that some knew nothing about brand new cars. Today, all these are common to them and worse still, they even use the over zealous security operatives provided them to kill the same people who voted them in, in their quest for eye service. How much work noble enough can these men and women claim to have done for the ruled to merit the jumbo pay they have been receiving since the last twelve years? Is it the bribe for budget approval alias Wabara show? Or killing of the information bill in both houses since 2003? Is it the pocketing of unspent fund by ministry of foreign Affairs - ala Ojo Maduekwe? The over paid oversight functional allowance as in the case of Iyabo Obasanjo? The list is very long. What has been the reason that these issues are regularly swept under carpet? Why has ordinary implementation of the non-smoking bill become an uphill task? It is a shame that we have these bunch of men and women who want to be seen, known and called honourables who at best are most dishonourable.
Nigerians are generally very forgetful. Otherwise how be it that we have forgotten that only in 1999 most of those we call power brokers today were so light in weight that they could not afford in any hotel accommodation in Abuja talk less of their personal cars. The story is not same today. They have forgotten their past and now move around like a colossus. It can be very hurting and when you ask, attempts are made to justify the fact that we may have been musing while they worked! It is hurting when you help someone get bye and he uses the same is opportunity to insult your sensibility. The question before all now to ask and answer weather the elective offices are the birth right of some class of people. I know it is not.
The real truth and therefore fear of our Assembly members be it national or state, is that they fear the fear to go for elections having know that most of them are there on stolen mandates. They did not get to office through free and fair election and the courts are proving same to be true daily. It is no longer business as usual.
From the early days of this democracy, l did know that we have many square pegs in round holes and l did write that generally the chicken would come to roast one day. 2011 is just days away and the ominous signs are there that our grand PDP and by extension, any bad Governor and Assembly fellows would look gloomy. PDP has taken the show of shame to greater height because as usual they come in their numbers to support all the vile enactments in the various arms of government. As Asiwaju Bola Tinubu put it this way - “if the Auditor General of a nation speaks, they attack him. If the Accountant General speaks they attack him. If the Minister of Finance speaks they attack him. This is violation of fundamental human right of the people to speak their minds. This is dangerous for our democracy. So it they (the National Assembly members) are the ones threatening our democracy”. They have attacked Sanusi but that is the worse they can do time has run full course. They are already on Christmas holiday waiting only to collect bonuses even when they denied the people cups of Rice.
But where are the Civil Right Groups through whose dogged spirit we have this democracy we call nascent? Why are they asleep now? Late Bob Marley put it this way in his song “... he who fights and run away lives to fight another day…” Where are the Femi Falanas', Keyamos', the Obes' and the rest? Why have they gone to sleep? Their voices are so faint now. Are they being dwarfed by cash, age or dry of ideas? I know that none of these can be associated with them and they certainly are not suffering from Elephantiasis. Why are their voices so dry and their pen without ink? What has happened to the regular rallies made common by them and which forced the evil genius to step aside and finally got dumped in shame by his people through the nine wise Northerners?
Only on the 5th of December 20010 did Sam Omatseye of the NATION newspaper compare Dubai with Nigeria. We have lost words to describe the lost Malaysian dream. But we are being presented here again a chance to redeem ourselves through next election. But can we? Are we ready to do battle with these sit tight unfit dishonourables? The Independent national Electoral Commission INEC has expressed its intension to conduct free, fair and credible election. Are we the electorate ready to shove aside these greedy fellows to take the center stage again in matters of our corporate destiny?
The desire of this writer is not intended to paint the Senators or members of the House of Representatives black. Most of them have proved beyond reasonable doubt that they are worse than black. It is not my desire also to remind us the ruled, that there is suffering in the land. He who feels it knows it! I am not asking you not to take their money this time around. Take it spend it. It is your money and vote them out. They have pretended enough to us while roller coasting to the banks.
By now, given the past records of all the intending contestants in the next election, we should be able to make up our minds about who our next choice should be. Now is the time to make the right choice and the choice we make, will make or mare us. But you cannot make a choice if you remain docile at home and hope that someone would go out there and do the work you ought to have done. Nobody will do what everybody left undone, and here lies the opportunists. Your right to vote starts with registration at the pooling boot nearest to your place of residence. The second step is to rise up on the days of election and perform your civic responsibility by ensuring that you vote and that it is counted and carried to the right centre in the assigned vehicles and announced as and when due.
Election 2011 is a collective responsibility and Malam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi has not only proved that we can frustrate the thieves, but that the spirit of self determination is still in us and we can cause a riot and disturb the peace if we do not get even through the ballot boxes. It is not an easy task, but it is a task that must be done.
Mike Akpati is a Public Affair Analyst based in Port Harcourt
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