Wickedness not ignorance is the major problem of Nigerian leaders
Wickedness not ignorance is the major problem of Nigerian leaders
By Collins Mbakwe
Granted that momumental corruption, ethnicity and religious sentiments are some of the militating factors against Nigerian growth, the political leaders blatant refusal to cut the cost of governance is another major factor that has led the country to its present comatose state.
The problem with Nigerian leaders is not that they don’t know the right policy to initiate and the right thing to do to turn the fortunes of the country around, for good. They know. But in their heartlessness and unbridled quest to impoverish the masses, they tacitly refused to do the needful. Over the years, the country’s debt has continued to go through the roof and the leaders turn a blind to it.
Nigerian leaders who are ironically enemies of the state, are always submerged with financial extravagance in the name of running the government. Citizens and netizens have on several occasions registered their displeasure with how wasteful our leaders have been in the business of governance. Alas! The outcry has only fallen on deaf ears.
Senator Rochas Okorocha once agreed that the Senate must begin to make sacrifice and aid in cutting down the cost of governance by having just one Senatorial representative instead of three per state.
Mr Okorocha, the senator representing Imo West Senatorial District, argued for the cut in the cost of running the legislature during plenary in reaction to the report presented by the Committee on Finance and National Planning on the 2020-2022 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Planning Strategy Paper (FSP).
Okorocha said, “We must begin to make sacrifice and cut down our cost of governance by having just one (1) Senatorial representative instead of three (3) per state. We should fund the productive sector of our economy.
“Here, we have three senators per state. In that National Assembly (House of Representatives) over there, we have 360 eligible human beings. This country must begin to make sacrifices and cut down the cost of governance.
“I do not know what we are doing differently today in the 9th Senate from what we did in the 8th Senate and what we did in the 7th Senate, 6th Senate and so forth and so on. And if what we are doing today is similar to what we did in the 8th Senate be rest assured the product will be the same.”
He also asked that tax incentives should be given to charity organizations who are willing to take children off the streets and give them meaningful lives.
The former Imo State governor asked the Senate to look for new ways to proffer solutions that will help generate funds to support the needs of Nigerians, to create jobs and put food on the table of the masses.
The call by Rochas Okorocha became dead on arrival, as the presidency and other legislators failed to see reason with that.
In the same vain, a member representing Ovia Federal Constituency at the Federal House of Representatives, Denis Idahosa also recognized the need for government to cut cost of governance in order to provide dividends of democracy for the masses.
According to him: “If we are going to cut our expenses or spending, I think one of the houses should be scrapped, which I suggest should be senate.”
The member representing Ovia Federal Constituency, Denis Idahosa (APC-Edo), on Sunday, called for the scrapping of the senate and the introduction of a unicameral legislature to reduce costs.
Mr Idahosa said this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja.
He said the senate, one of the two chambers of the National Assembly, should give way if the country is serious about cutting the cost of governance.
He said: ‘’I strongly believe that the senate should be scrapped, not because I’m a House of Representatives member, but because most of the legislative jobs are done by the lower house, which is the House of Representatives.
“And then to reduce the spending. We have limited resources now as a nation. So having these two houses, I don’t think it’s a smart thing.
“If we are going to cut our expenses or spending, I think one of the houses should be scrapped, which I suggest should be senate.
“This is because we only sit three times in a week. We are being paid salaries to work for Nigerians; we can extend the three days to five days, while we have one house taking care of both jobs.
“So I think to reduce the unnecessary spending that we are actually involved in, the best thing to do is to reduce it to one for more accountability.”
On the performance of the 9th Assembly, Mr Idahosa, who is the chairman of the House Committee on Legislative Compliance, said the assembly had done remarkably well.
“I’m pleased with what I have experienced so far, though this is my first term in the house,’’ he said.
He noted that the first major milestone achieved by the 9th Assembly was the passing into law of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB).
“That was a significant one because the oil and gas industry was becoming a mess, and that is our major source of revenue as a country.
“The PIB, I believe will be able to address some of the loopholes ravaging our source of revenue as a country,” he said.
He said the second significant milestone achievement by the assembly was the Electoral Act amendment.
Mr Idahosa expressed hope that it would address the irregularities in the electoral process of the country.
“We have done other bills that are also significant in this country and I give kudos to the leadership of the house for providing leadership that counts,” he added.
In May, the presidential candidate of the African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, in a post on Twitter, said he would abolish the Senate and divert the public resources saved from there to the education sector of the country.
Last year, Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State, advocated the scrapping of the Senate with each zone having an equal number of four representatives at the National Assembly.
Mr Akeredolu made the call at the Akure Centre of the Southwest Zonal Public Hearing, organised by the House of Representatives Committee on Constitution Review.
He said the country should consider dropping the current bicameral structure of the National Assembly.
“The membership of the Assembly should be part-time. No member should earn allowances not known to the Revenue Mobilisation and Allocation Committee, and the people they claim to serve.
“Legislators should earn under a uniform salary structure. Allowance peculiarities must not be about obscenity. The Senate should be scrapped.
“The House of Representatives too should not be unwieldy. A maximum of four representatives should come from each zone,” he said.
However, the President of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, who had been severally dubbed a rubber-stamp speaker had warned those clamouring for the scrapping of the Senate that the country risks falling into anarchy if it happens.
He said rather than clamour for the scrapping of the upper chamber, those not comfortable with the senators in the current Ninth Senate should vote them out in 2023.
“If you don’t like the set of members in the Ninth National Assembly, change all of us in 2023. Get better people and let’s support the system to function,” Mr Lawan said.
If Lawan and his pay masters can place national interest above theirs, they will see reasons to align themselves with Okorocha and others on ways of cutting down cost of governance in Nigeria.