It has never been this bad. While the insecurity challenges in the country are increasing on a daily basis, the lawmakers, especially Senators that are supposed to talk and contribute from motions raised by their colleagues on insecurity have now been caged.
Lawmakers can no longer express themselves from the point of orders raised by their colleagues because such discussions have now been limited.
At the beginning of this 9th Assembly in 2019, lawmakers whose constituencies faced attacks whether from Boko Haram, Bandits, Herdsmen and other forms of killings were always raising point of order 42 and on few occasions, they came under order 42 and 43.
The order 42 of the Nigerian Senate allowed a lawmaker to express himself by reading his or her written speech which also provided a window for contribution from other colleagues before the prayer of the Senator was taken.
But order 43 of the Senate rule only allowed a Senator to give his personal explanation about an issue without contributions taken from other lawmakers. The prayers are taken afterwards. Sometimes the prayers are amended, depending on how the lawmaker arranged them.
Most times, Senators confer with the Senate president on issues they want to raise during plenary and are directed on what to do or what not to do.
But something unusual happened last week. The lawmakers sat twice: Tuesday and Wednesday. In these sittings, nine points of order 43 were raised by the lawmakers. They were issues concerning killings of Nigerians.
No Senator contributed to the issues raised because they all came under order 43, which shuts the doors of other lawmakers from contributing in the deliberation of security challenges in the country.
When Senators were allowed to come under order 42, discussions were always robust with lawmakers proffering solutions, even though their resolutions on security are hardly implemented by the executive.
On Tuesday, the leader of the Senate, Yahaya Abdullahi raised a point of order 43 concerning the board mishap that occurred in Kebbi state, leading to the killing of several people.
Also, the deputy Senate whip, Sabi Abdullahi, raised another point of order 43 concerning consistent killings by bandits in his home state of Niger.
The Chairman, Senate Committee on Army, Ali Ndume raised a point of order 43 concerning the death of the former chief of army staff Lt Gen Ibrahim Attahiru, who died alongside 10 other military officers near Kaduna airport on 21 May, 2021.
The Senator representing Ogun Central, Ibikunle Amosun, raised a point of order 43 concerning the killing of his constituents in a gas explosion.
Also, the Senator representing Adamawa Central Aisha Dahiru (Binani) also stood up on order 43 to announced the death of Alhaji Abdullahi Danburam Jada.
The deputy Senate president who was the first to rise under order 43 on Tuesday, announced that former president Goodluck Jonathan’s political Adviser, Ahmed Gulak was killed while on national assignment in Imo State.
On Wednesday, Sen Istifanus Gyang (Plateau North) also raised an order 43 concerning the killings taking place in Plateau State. Sen Binos Dauda Yaroe representing Adamawa South Senatorial District also raised a point of order 43 concerning killings. Sen Abba Moro (Benue South) also raised a point of order 43 concerning the killings of over 100 people last Sunday in Benue and part of Ebonyi states. All their issues were not deliberated by Senators because they came under point of order 43 which is a Personal explanation.
The last issue raised on killings which Senators would have deliberated upon came inform of a motion, sponsored by Sam Egwu over killings in Ebonyi State. No discussion was allowed by the Senate president Ahmed Lawan.
“Leader you can second to the motion and if you have a few things to say because we are out of time,” Lawan said when Egwu read his motion.
As the Senate leader was still trying to make a point, Lawan interjected: “Are you suggesting we go to the prayers? Thank you leader, we can go to the prayers.
If Nigerian Senators cannot contribute or proffer solution to the lingering insecurity in the country, then something is wrong. Even if the executive branch is not interested in implementing the resolutions of the National Assembly when it comes to the security challenges, the Senate must maintain the politics of inclusion.
Constituents expect their representatives to speak their mind on issues concerning insecurity, no matter how bitter it may sound. It was during deliberations of the invasion of Niger State by Boko Haram and Bandits that propelled Sen Smart Adeyemi to cry. Being a lawmaker from the ruling party, he was attacked by Sen Oluremi Tinubu (Lagos Central) for attacking a government he is part of. The killers are not selecting those they killed.
The Senate should be seen to practice politics of inclusion, consensus, coalition building and connection.
As former US Senate Majority Leader, Howard Baker, said: “What really makes the Senate work – as our heroes knew profoundly – is an understanding of human nature… of one’s colleagues and one’s constituents.”
This approach, as Sen Tom Daschle said in his book, “The US Senate,” requires, above all, the ability to listen, to contribute, and to try to incorporate another person’s viewpoint. Expression in the Senate will be under threat if Senators are limited to point of order 43.