There is no better time to remember the thoughts of the 19th-century American author, James Freeman Clarke who said “A politician thinks of the next election; a statement of the next generation. A politician looks for the success of his party; a statesman for that of his country. The statesman wishes to steer, while the politician is satisfied to drift.”
The ugly events that shaped the narratives in the House last week clearly showed that the presiding officers are mere greedy politicians who have benefited so much from the country’s imbalanced political system and are hell bent on maintaining the status quo.
Although in very few cases, Nigerian leaders who manage to grab power through crooked means strife to sanitise the system when they realise the danger a rotten political system portends for the nation they have benefitted from. This, however, is not the case for Speaker Femi Gbajabimila and his deputy, Idris Ahmed Wase. The “Nation Building, a Joint Task” mantra of Gbajabimila and his team is an action statement in ironical efficacy.
I may not be so worried if the shenanigans orchestrated by the APC and their elements among the PDP in the House only affected the power structure of a regime, after all, it is the crux of politicians to outsmart each other and no one can even be sure of the better ones among them, irrespective of the political party they belong to.
But very sadly, I am worried that the National Assembly, particularly the House of Representatives, owing to dirty politics which they are used to, have missed another opportunity, if not the last opportunity to keep Nigeria truly united, instill confidence in governance, and protect the sanctity of the country’s electoral system.
Certainly, how the House passed the electoral act amendment bill and adopted the report of the National Assembly conference committee on the Petroleum Industry Bill will hunt the country till the end of time and Gbajabimila and his “Nation Building” team will live to regret their roles. May God grant every one of them long years to witness the effects of the disservice and damage they have done to the nation they claim to love.
It is quite disheartening, hurting, and disturbing that these misguided politicians do not think beyond politics, perhaps the politics of 2023, which some may not even live to see.
Just when the few wise men among them attempted to achieve the same result with tact, the unsettled majority of the unwise applied forceful desperation and by so doing conducted a beautiful funeral for what would have remained as a semblance of integrity for leaders of the 9th House of Representatives.
I will not dissipate efforts here to narrate the dirty proceedings of the House last Thursday and Friday, rather, I will advise that the government should go directly to leaders and youths of the Niger-Delta region and assure them through whatever means that what was wrongly done would be hurriedly corrected so that Nigeria will not in the next few months begin to suffer insecurity and economic sabotage which may not end soon.
On the electoral act amendment bill, it behooves President Muhammadu Buhari to single out this issue, assume the position of a true Nigerian leader and not just leader of his political party desperate of perpetuating itself in power.
I am certain about this, no matter how lawmakers are hoodwinked to vote against the wish of Nigerians, or how the opposition is suppressed, the APC will not remain in power for too long, the implosion that awaits the party will not allow so it. Therefore, I’ll advise our politicians to choose wisely how and where they invest their political goodwill, with the party or with the people?