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2019: As Lawmakers Jitter Over Death Wave In NASS



Recently, several sudden deaths have occurred in the 8th National Assembly and the lawmakers – Senators and members of the House of Representatives, are jittery especially now that the 2019 election year is approaching. SOLOMON AYADO writes

It is a reality that nobody wishes to die and everybody desires to live long and happy. However, the fact is that there is time to live and time to die. No matter how long a person lives, as soon as it is time to leave this sinful world, there is no other alternative than to transit, no matter the circumstance.

The 8th National Assembly was recently dazed with death which harvested several of its members. Although it is natural that one must die, at best, timely since it had neither been found with any option or an end to it.
Among the many fears, the lawmakers are not sure whether it is their political enemies that are at work to tactically elimate them before the 2019 election year. Also, they are unsure who next to respond to the natural call, just as their deceased colleagues.

In more specific terms, the deaths are occurring simultaneously and no one seems to have firm control as to the causes of the deaths, be it medical or otherwise. The lawmakers that died recently were said to have slumped and or had a brief illnesses.

Of course, with regard to sources of death, nature provides for different circumstances one can be gone. In a time like this, especially with the stressful political terrain now that 2019 general elections are by the corner, the harsh unstable economy, hunger and abject poverty, it would be difficult to lay blames and make assertive allegations on whose hand is involved in one death or another.

Similarly, the politicians themselves and the institutions of government seem not to be doing enough to make life better and improve the general health delivery system in the country. The money bags including government functionaries preffer medical tourism in foreign countries to savaging the decayed national health system. The indeginous medical personnel seemingly corner medical equipment to boost private hospitals.

It is not a surprise that a sizeable number of Nigerians have resorted to desperate means to leave the country in search of greener pastures. Aside the fact that Nigerians are mute to question the idea of travelling abroad for medical treatment, many more wonder whether the leaders have the interest of the generality of people at heart towards building the health institution.

Is the health delivery system in the country one that every Nigerian is guaranteed of timely and adequate services? The general opinion is things won’t change until the rulers have political will and decide to improve health.
Indeed, to National Assembly, there is no gainsaying the fact that these are not the best of times considering the currently befalling some of their members.

Senate President Bukola Saraki, who is chairman of the National Assembly is obviously saddened by the ugly development. He said the death is “one too many.”

In about three years, the death toll in the 8th National Assembly has risen to nine.
Fresh is the death of Senator Mustapha Bukar (Katsina North). He was the Chairman, Senate Committee on Capital Markets. According to sources, he died at a private Hospital in Abuja after a brief illness. He was aged 63.

Sadly, the death of Senator Bukar came exactly five days after another lawmaker, Hon. Umar Buba Jibril, who represented Lokoja/Kogi Federal Constituency in the House of Representatives, on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) died precisely on Friday, March 30, 2018.

According to media reports, another lawmaker had died two weeks earlier. Senator Ali Wakili who represented Bauchi South in the Senate, slumped and died at his Gwarimpa residence in Abuja. He was aged 58.
Waikili was the chairman of the Senate Committee on Poverty Alleviation and a member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). He was also a retired Comptroller of the Nigeria Customs Service (NCS).

Reports had it that the first death in the current National Assembly took place before it was inaugurated on June 9, 2015. That was the death of Ahmed Zanna, who was re-elected to represent Borno Central in the Senate. But that he died a month to inauguration after his re-election bid in April 2015.

Also, in February 15, 2017, Hon. Bello Sani (Mashi/Dvisi Federal Constituency) passed away.
Same year in April, Senator Isiaka Adeleke, who represented Osun West on the platform of the APC, equally died at the age of 62. Although there was controversy over his death and an investigative panel was set by government on the matter. While he was said to have died of poison, a medical personnel later declared it was excessive dose of analgesics, sedatives and alcohol.

On July 14, 2017, Abdullahi Wammako, a member of the House of Representatives who represented Kware/Wammako Federal Constituency from Sokoto State, died at an Abuja hospital, after a brief illness.
Also on March 17,2016, Hon. Musa Baba-Onwana, who represented Nasarawa/Toto Federal Constituency on the platform of the APC, passed away at the age of 50. Although the cause of his death was not ascertained.

Similarly, the member representing Ifako Ijaiye Federal Constituency, Mr. Elijah Adewale, had also slumped and died at the early hours of Thursday, July 21,2016 in his house in Abuja. He was a member of the ruling APC.

Precisely on April, 11,2018, the Senate held valedictory session to pay last respect to late Senator Mustapha Bukar, who represented Katsina North Senatorial District under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Because of the several deaths, the Upper chamber resolved to set up an endowment fund to cater for families of all deceased members of the National Assembly.

The Senators took turns to extol the virtues of their departed lawmakers.
Leader of the Senate, Senator Ahmad Lawan (APC, Yobe North), who read the biography of the late legislator, urged the Chamber to expeditiously pass all the bills being sponsored by deceased Senators, before they died, as one of the ways to appreciate their contributions to the Senate and the country in general.

The Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, while making contribution, described the deaths as a heavy blow to the Senate and the entire nation.

Also, the Senate minority Leader, Senator Godswill Akpabio (PDP, Akwa Ibom), in his contribution, lamented that the death was very painful.

The President of the Senate Bukola Saraki has lauded the quality of contributions of the deceased lawmaker, pragmatism and their work towards strengthening the institution of the legislature.

At the moment, the death in NASS is one too many. Now that the 2019 is fast approaching, the lawmakers are jittery over who next will die and in what manner. The public wishes that the death should not come again but it is left to be seen as events unfold.



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