By now it is no longer news that majority of our legislators at the National Assembly are incompetent, self-serving, self-centred, and unprogressive,.
Going into past experiences is unnecessary. The recent face-off between the senators and members of the House of Representatives over which of their two chambers should be used for President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua to present his 2010Â budgetÂ is enough, and indeed, another evidence that their selfishness and self-centredness, not the interest of the people, is their concern.
The interesting news is that these barefaced legislators are angling and working very hard to manipulate their way to be presented by the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as candidates, so they can return to the National Assembly, some of them for a record fourth term.
This is particularly the case with Ijaw parliamentarians of Delta State. These persons have served three tenures, which means that for 12 years they have been representing Ijaws of Delta State without adding value to the lives of their people. In spite of their non-value adding representation, and no visible impact of development in the lives of the people, and the deplorable environment that their people live in, they are working hard to manipulate the political process once again and forcefully foist themselves on the people as their representative for the fourth term.
It is settled that there is already a groundswell of indignation against the quality of representation made by these parliamentarians in the Delta Ijawland. The sentiment of the people is that they must not be foisted on them again. They should not be allowed a fourth tenure so as to allow for hands that are pure, wholesome, bright, alert, focused and full of energy, with fresh ideas about how to move the Ijaws of Delta State forward.
To allow these elements to represent Ijaw Deltans again after 12 years of unfruitful representation will be tantamount to showcasing a grand agenda perpetually keep our people in political and economic subjugation. There is no argument tenable enough to justify any foisting of these tired parliamentarians on our people.
This intervention must not be glossed over as crying wolf, but should be understood as a clearly thought out intervention. A pointer to this is that it is being currently observed that a strategy is being deployed by these inept legislators to hold on, and keep representing the people despite their rejection by the people.
They have formed into an unholy alliance, an obviously evil chain in which they are dragging one another along. In this chain, all of them have vowed to return by hook or crook, with none antagonising or upsetting the other. It is a kind of mafia creed where injury to one is seen as attack on all. Thus, all other aspirants have been declared political enemies for extermination by this mafia.
As part of the agenda to actualise the nefarious and selfish schemes of the association, they have captured some â€œhostagesâ€. The biggest of them is the Ijaw nation in Delta such that the situation has become one of anomie. The people seem helpless and hopeless.
The people whose mandate the legislators are purportedly exercising have been alienated from power, and turned into spectators in a democratic environment, so they say, where power is supposed to derive from the people.
The other â€œhostageâ€ is the governor and leader of the PDP in the state who is being blackmailed daily by this set of political hawks and power mongers. They are using the possible second tenure intention of the governor as blackmail weapon, by going to him as a group and saying to him that his political destiny in Ijaw Delta is in their hands.
Surprisingly, the governor appears to have succumbed to this blackmail, thus making him the biggest hostage that must be freed from these tired, idealess parliamentarians, whose representation has not brought value to the people.
As Delta Izons, we know the antics and stratagems of these dishonourable parliamentarians, which Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan may not know.
This is why Dr. Uduaghan must understand that these pretenders to power are not connected to the people who are the genuine source of power. Their blackmail is empty and should be treated with ignominy.
The point should also be made that the ruling PDP should now be more serious and committed to wholesome internal democratic practice. It is the absence of this that has become the biggest albatross of the party, which is also responsible for the negative image that the party has been forced to wear.
Is it shameful, and therefore, a thing of serious concern that the PDP is enmeshed in terrible image because of blackmailers and political desperadoes who without scruples work to undermine and, indeed, subvert the partyâ€™s internal democratic process because they must have their way at all cost.
The result has been the imposition of candidates on the people against their will. That Nigeria today is poorly rated on the good governance index in the comity of nations is a direct consequence of not having the right persons through unfettered choice by their people to represent them.
Like the current gang are strategising in Ijawland in Delta, when a legislator know that he does not owe his representation on the free and fair choice by the people, he cannot be committed to giving them quality representation with value. In Nigeria today, we are all agreed that this anomaly has remained the bane of not only our democracy but that of good governance.
For Governor Uduaghan, in his capacity as party leader, there is no time than now to display his commitment to the Christian faith, particularly his oath of office as governor which he took with the Bible that he would â€œdo right to all manner of people, according to law, without fear or favour, affection or ill-will;â€¦â€
Indeed, eyes are focused to see how he with his lieutenants will manage the situation that will ensure that the will of the people prevails. The onus is on them to change for good the assault on our democracy, and reverse the current description of Nigeria as a nation of failed leadership.
We must resist every move by power mongers and political desperadoes who are bent on recycling themselves in power to achieve the nefarious intentions.
It is renowned Nigerian novelist, Professor Chinua Achebe who in identifying leadership as Nigeriaâ€™s irritant said in “The Trouble with Nigeria” that if a Nigerian leader tells you â€œgood morningâ€, you should check your time.
Amen Uhunmwhangho, once quoted Patrick Wilmot as painting the picture of leadership failure in Nigeria as follows. â€œAfter almost half century of independence Nigeria, the potential superpower of Africa has travelled in reverse gear. If Nigeria had been a motor vehicle it would have been scrapped.
And the scrap dealer would probably have refused the metal because of its flaws. On every measure of performance for a state with its wealth of human and material resources, Nigeria has been a failure. Nothing works â€“ from health, education, housing, manufactures, telephones, roads; the historical record is almost blank. In a thousand years scholars could look back and sigh â€˜thereâ€™s no sign here that wise men once ruleâ€™â€¦â€
Wilmotâ€™s picture is both frightening and pathetic. This is why the President, governors, party leaders, and the ubiquitous predatory godfathers deeply do some soul searching by giving Delta Ijaws, nay Nigeria a political rebirth.
One thing that MUST be done is to stop the hawks and deadwoods from their fourth term bid in Delta Ijaw. It is because these legislators have become the political burden of the people. They have put the people of Delta Ijaw in deep trouble by their inept, selfish and anti-people representation.
They have put the people in deeper trouble than the worst situation experienced under the colonial and military rule combined. To allow them to have their way for the fourth tenure despite their lack lustre 12 yearsâ€™ representation will amount to a belittling of the sense of purpose of the Ijaws of Delta, a betrayal of their feelings and a denial of their right to choose their representatives.
It will amount to a political rape of the people of Delta Ijaw. This intervention is a call to reason.
*Mr. Eyidiosei contributed this piece from Warri