SENATE President David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark has another message of hope. “We will seek to bring succour to our nation and re-energise our people’s faith in one indivisible nation and in constitutional democracy by a legislative agenda that not only promotes the common good, but also responsive to the national mood and expectations.”
His speech writers did not disappoint in their consistence in ignoring issues, unflinching faith in the Senate’s agenda, and their blind loyalty to an institution which acts mainly for itself and others in its class.
Nigerians live by hope which the Senate knowingly does not offer. We hope fuel would remain within our reach, that resources raised for flood victims would get to them, that the Minister of Agriculture would get off the phone and listen to farmers, that there would be electricity, that politicians would curb their greed, that someone realises millions of Nigerians do not have food to eat, have no housing, no access to water and health facilities and does something to ameliorate the situations. Millions of children – future of indivisible Nigeria – are out of school. They are fancifully classified as poor; matters hopelessly end there.
Our people know disappointments. They count them from governments decades back. We know what it means to have a National Assembly whose members shun their constituencies, yet make pretences to promoting the common good and responding to the national mood from Abuja. Mark reminded us that the Senate knows Nigerians have expectations. Would they be met? When would they be met? How would they be met? Is political survival of public office holders not more important than the good governance and the peoples’ needs?
These matters are decided. Mark would not countenance talks about the future of Nigeria, which he calls “a melting pot, welded by a common history, a common destiny, and a common heritage”. It is amazing how benefitting parties see discussions on improving Nigeria as efforts to balkanise it. We have welded cracks that point to injustices, poverty and neglect of our people. We have a common history of looting public resources in turns. Nigerians no longer want such common destiny and heritage.
They are searching for patterns and practices that would cure Nigeria of nexus of negative influences. Insecurity and destabilising incidents would not stop if Mark’s suggestion of “capital punishment for this category of offences” sails through. The issues centre on neglect of the common good and Mark knows. Has capital punishment stopped armed robbery? Why is corruption not among offences where capital punishment should apply?
Governments treat Nigerians with contempt, an abnegation of their responsibility to the people. We also hope this would stop.