The Legislative Arm of any free nation-state is the sacred sanctuary for safe-guarding jealously, the collective power of the people pooled together and kept in trust by men and women society looks upon as dependable, honourable and selfless.
In fact, the law-making body, is by all standards trusted the most, not only to make laws, revoke obsolete ones and amend others, it also serves as the people’s surveillance, through regular checks on the likely human excesses of the Executive Arm.
Under the Presidential system of government, which Nigeria operates so awesome and far-reaching are the powers of the Executive President and Commander-In-Chief, yet his fear of the National Assembly, to him, remains the beginning of wisdom because it is believed, and rightly so, that members of the National Assembly in both the Senate and the House of Representatives carry with them the people’s power and mandate.
With such special power and reverence, they determine the type of men and women that should be employed by the Executive, supervise such servants, as part of their oversight functions and even often decide how much of the people’s money should be spent on what.
Men with this measure of pedigree ought, at all times, realise that the power they hold cannot “be a good unless, he be good that has it,” and show good examples in their dealings with others and among themselves. They must see themselves as role models from whom future Nigerian leaders must source and imbibe the culture of integrity, tolerance, public civility, self respect and indeed honour. It should above all else be their sacred duty to emphasise that might is not necessarily right and that there is no amount of conflict that cannot be resolved amicably through dialogue.
So sacrosanct is their brief and reverenced status, that when they assemble, the people expect them to exercise the power entrusted in their care with uttermost civility, representative of the value democracy attaches to the legislature.
The bi-cameral legislature of the Nigerian-type of the presidential system is no less so. In fact, it is even as halloweth as a holy temple or should so be: But recent happenings in the lower chamber of the National Assembly, the House of Representatives question the very foundation of such reverence that its members should enjoy.
Last week Tuesday, members of the House during their plenary, converted their democratic sanctuary into a battle ground of sorts and freely engaged themselves in a free-for-all, the kind one finds market women and council revenue agents demonstrate in defence of their appetites.
That rancorous session led to the indefinite suspension of the leader of a faction in the House, Mr Dino Melaye and 10 others of his ilk, called the Progressive Minded Legislators (PMLs) who had been calling for the probe of the House leadership.
Since then, accusations of impropriety, high handedness and graft against the Dimeji Bankole-led House have reached such frightening levels that force many to ask if the law-makers are representing their people or merely defending their large pockets. It is true that many interested politicians, like all other ordinary men and women are moved to action not so much by their intellect or reason but by their desires and appetites, but that is not what is expected of honourable men, standard bearers and defenders of the people’s powers.
For these avoidable distractions, suspicion and bad blood have been allowed to spill-over and now negatively affect the expected understanding, mutuality and inter-chamber respect of both the Senate and the House of Representatives.
Otherwise, how for instance are questions now being raised about the harmonised constitutional amendment documents sent to State Houses of Assembly weeks ago?
How can Speaker Dimeji Bankole now accuse the Senate leadership of sending only a Senate version, instead of the harmonised one? In all these, there are very strong doubts that the supposed representatives are acting in tandem with the constituents or merely acting scripts of their whims.
No time is good enough for such disharmony in the House of Representatives or between both chambers of the National Assembly, but it is most inauspicious now, that a lot is expected of the law-makers to right the political, institutional and legislative wrongs of the past.
With the general elections just less than a year away, Nigerians expect the Senate to conclude the screening of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) nominees, further, electoral reforms and constitutional amendment formalities that have dragged on for so long.
So sad was the large contingent of law makers that travelled to South Africa for the on-going 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer tournament, at our national expense but the unrest in the House and the lack of understanding between both chambers of the National Assembly, an even greater disaster. And the way things are , unless the root cause of the matter, which we now know, touches on individual appetites, is fully addressed, Nigeria’s legislative arm will become everything it should not be.
This is why an extensive probe will be necessary. Happily the two main anti-graft agencies, the Economic and Finance Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) are on the matter, and are said to be scooping for leads to unravel the true crux of the matter.
While this is on, there is no telling what Nigerians should expect of the divided House. Is Dimeji Bankole’s recall of constitutional amendment documents actuated by the avoidable malice now brewing in the National Assembly or indeed the need to set facts straight? If the latter is the case, can a divided and highly politically polarised House be depended upon to act right and with the kind of patriotism such national assignment requires?
After such tinkering by the House, wouldn’t the Upper Chamber, the Senate, consider the exercise as a mere ego-trip and seek to prove their own superiority? And where do all these lead us?
It is not enough for the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to condemn the free-for-all in the House at a plenary or the brewing bad blood between both chambers. The PDP should instead, intervene in whatever way possible, to avoid further deterioration of impasse involving both chambers under its control. This is so because, while it is a shame for supposed honourable men to toe the path of social recklessness, it is a bigger shame for the ruling party, still battling with how to address the yawning disconnect between it and the Nigerian people.
My Agony is that the real achievement of many of the law makers, is the greedy application of their so-called constituency votes in the building of personal mansions, accumulation of choice auto-mobiles and addiction to all three W’s and one C, Wealth, Women, Wine with corruption as enhancer.
To include discretion of the Halloweth chamber is one misadventure that should prick both the eyes and the ears. That is why all affected in the free-for-all and the actors whose activities and alleged indiscretion engineered it must be thoroughly probed and sanctioned.
But I have a worry. Bad actions like these attracted very loud in action, nay reprimand and can’t be too sure how and why this will be different.
One Year Anniversary: Governor Wike Sues For Unity
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has called on Rivers people no matter their political affiliation to join hands with his administration to build a stable and vibrant economy.
In a state-wide broadcast to mark the first year of his second term in office today, Governor Wike noted that the state can overcome the present global economic situation if citizens come together in unity of thought and purpose.
“Yes, we can if we resolve to downplay our individual differences and work together for the common good of our heritage, our lovely State, our communities and our people. As a government, we welcome constructive criticisms devoid of politics and mischief, because they serve to make us better performers.
“This is a time for governance, not politics, and we welcome everyone on board to create an environment that promotes balanced economic growth, thriving private investments, boundless opportunity and a State we can truly call our pride and heritage.
“For us, nothing matters more than Rivers State, our people, our interests, our treasures, our enormous resources and assets, our accomplishments and our greatness,” he stated.
The Governor pointed out that within the last one year, his administration had embarked on urban renewal programme in the State capital and the construction of the multi-billion naira three flyover projects at Rebisi, Okoro-nu-Odo and Rumuogba.
He said that the dualization of Kira- Sapkenwa-Bori-Kono Road straddling three local government areas in Ogoni heartland has reached 92 percent completion.
The Oyibo(Mbano camp) road to Iriebe linking Oyigbo and Obio/Akpor Local Government Areas had been completed while Alesa-Agbonchia-Oyigbo, Rumuakunde/Isiodu and the second phase of Isiokpo community Roads had also been completed.
Rumuji-Ibaa-Isiokpo, Omoku-Egbema, Odufor-Akpoku-Umuoye, Ula Ehuda-Odioku-Anwunugboko-Ubeta-Ihuechi-Odiereke, Umueze-Umuogba-Umuokpurukpu-Umueke-Umunju-Umuelechi-Eberi, Eteo-Sime-Nonwa and Abonnema Ring Roads have reached various stages of completion.
In addition, the governor said, work has commenced on the expansion of the entire stretch of Ikwerre Road from Education Bus Stop to the Port Harcourt International Airport, Omagwa.
According to him, the long abandoned roads to the coastal communities of Opobo and Andoni in Opobo/Nkoro and Andoni Local Government Areas has almost been delivered with appreciable work already done on the Ogoni-Andoni-Opobo Unity Road.
On healthcare delivery, the governor said the Mother and Child Hospital has been furnished, equipped and only undergoing necessary testing and preparations for commissioning.
The Braithwaite Memorial Hospital, he said, has been fully equipped and converted to the Rivers State University Teaching Hospital (RSUTH) leading to the accreditation of the programmes of that facility for the training of medical students by the Medical and Dental Council of Nigeria.
Governor Wike stated that the regional referral hospitals in Degema, Bori and Degema are presently being equipped while structural work is on-going on the ones located in Omoku and Etche.
The State Chief Executive pointed out that funds had been released for comprehensive upgrade of Enitonnia High School, Comprehensive Secondary School, Borikiri, Obama High School, Degema, Community Secondary School, Tombia, Community Secondary School, Omuanwa in Ikwerre Local Government Area and Kalabari National College, Buguma.
Others include, Community Secondary School, Kugbo in Abua/Odual Local Government, Community Secondary School, Obeakpu in Oyigbo Local Government and Community Secondary School, Eteo in Eleme Local Government Area.
On Real Madrid Academy, Governor Wike announced that the construction of students’ hostels is progressing and that the school would soon open for simultaneous football and related training programmes.
He said in line with the promise to refocus on agricultural development, the Datco Cassava Processing Plant with a guaranteed off-market opportunities for 3000 local cassava farmers would soon be completed to stimulate cassava revolution in the state.
The governor regretted that despite the advisories and regulations on social distancing and compulsory wearing of face masks, most residents are flouting the directives to the collective peril of all.
“These are all irresponsible and risky behaviour in the face of the invisible and ravaging pandemic and the enormous threat it poses to public health and the safety of human lives.
“We shall bring the full weight of the law to bear on every recalcitrant person, business or institution, irrespective of status who decides to treat the existing orders and regulations for mitigating the spread of COVID-19 in our State with contempt.
“Government may be forced to reinstate lockdown if members of the public continue to flout and disregard the established regulations on social distancing and the compulsory wearing of face masks,” he said.
Governor Wike however, commiserated with the families of those that lost their loved ones to the pandemic and prayed for the peaceful repose of their innocent souls.
He said that while we pray for the quick success, for the global search, for vaccines, the responsibility still rests on everyone to strictly comply with the established mitigating measures.
A Statewide Broadcast By His Excellency Nyesom Ezenwo Wike, CON, GSSRS, POS, To Mark The First Year Of His Second Term In Office …My Dear Good People of Rivers State
Rivers State Set To Inaugurate Cassava Plant …To Employ 4,500 Persons
The Rivers State Cassava Processing Company located at Afam, Oyigbo Local Government Area will soon come on stream.
Governor Nyesom Wike who stated this Thursday after inspecting the plant, pointed out that the company when fully operational would employ 4,500 persons and also boost agriculture in the state.
He stated that the State Government has 70 percent equity share in the project which is in partnership with Shell Petroleum Development Company(SPDC) of Nigeria.
“We are quite happy that this project which was initiated by the previous administration in 2012 and abandoned has come to the stage of completion.
“When we came on board and saw the usefulness of this project to our economy, we did not hesitate to release funds to complete it.
“As you can see this project which is about 90 percent complete would have been commissioned this month if not for the COVID-19 pandemic which has negatively impacted global economy.
“Let me commend the management of this plant for fast-tracking the completion and the novel initiative that will use mobile machines to collect cassava from the farmers at their various clusters.
“This, will no doubt, reduce the challenge of logistics and increase farmer participation, ” the governor stated.
Earlier, the Managing Director of the Rivers State Cassava Processing Company, Ruben Giesen noted that the cassava processing plant when completed would increase income for small holder farmers by providing an enabling environment for them to sell their cassava tubers.
He also disclosed that the plant would produce about 45 thousand metric tons of cassava flour daily while about 12 thousand metric tons of cassava tubers would be needed for collection by its mobile plants from farmers around the state for processing.
Mr. Giesen commended the State Governor for embarking on the project, which he described as the first of its kind in sub-saharan Africa.
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