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Confab: Part-time lawmakers and jumbo pay

“Gold is a wonderful thing

But if you are not enough without it/You can never be enough with it”(MALCOM X).
THE principles of Benthamism and Aristotlelianism posit that “the prime and cardinal purpose of any good government and patriotic leadership is the pursuit of the greatest good for the largest member”.

But does the solipsistic proclivities of Nigerian legislators who wallow and luxuriate in unspeakable corruption, prebendalism and graft betray this truism?

The Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (as Amended) under chapter V section 47 provides for the establishment of a National Assembly for the Federation which will consist of a Senate and House of Representatives. In part II section 90 it provides for the establishment of a House of Assembly for each state and spells out their legislative duties, powers, regulation of procedures, establishment and authorisation of expenditure from the Consolidated Revenue Fund and other oversight functions.

These are, no doubt, very onerous and herculean responsibilities that call for patriotism, discipline, accountability, honesty, integrity, fear of God, love and uncommon dedication to the fatherland. A kind of patriotism that borders on self-abnegation and a form of political, socio-economic and nationalistic Zeitgeist. President John F. Kennedy captures the scenario in his inaugural address on January 20, 1961. He said: “And so my fellow Americans ask not what your country can do for you-ask what you can do for your country. My fellow citizens of the world ask not what America will do for you, but what together we can do for the freedom of man”. Very few Nigerian legislators can hold their heads high today because of lack of patriotism and corruption.

In the furtherance of its reckless and murderous whimsicality and psychotic desire to bastardise the Nigerian Constitution and economy, members of the National Assembly unilaterally allocated to themselves grotesque perks which far outweigh what was approved for them by the Revenue Mobilization, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, the only body that is constitutionally obligated to fix public officers pay.

But the lawmakers unilaterally allocated to themselves as allowances N27,000,000 per quarter or N9, 000,000 monthly for each House of Representative member and N45,000,000 or N15,000,000 per month for each senator, in addition to the amount approved by the RMAFC. It is public knowledge that they are now seeking to raise their allowances even harrowingly higher.

It is a truism that with this illegally- approved sums of money, each senator will pocket N720, 000,000 in four years, while each House of Representatives member will get N540,000,000. These sums do not include that approved by RMAFC, which they also collect. When these humongous allowances are added to that of the principal officers in both chambers of the National Assembly, it becomes unquestionably obvious that the Federal budget is used to service the greed of a horde of legislative buccaneers luxuriating in legislative owambeism.

Hence, the dividends of democracy will continue to remain a will o’ the wisp, a mirage and a Barmecidal-dish to the poor masses of Nigeria who live on less than $1 a day, because our legislators are busy feathering their nests. These legislative monsters and their cohorts are on a scorch earth escapade. Wherever you turn in Nigeria, the urgent and imperative need for the ‘people’s power’ to manifest, unity of the oppressed and solidarity on all fronts not only stare you in the face, but also cry very loud for the most devoted attention. They have resolved to delete from the Constitution sections 66, 107, 137 and 182, provisions that disqualify those indicted for fraud from contesting elective offices. What a shame!

After over 52 years of independence we have no light, no good roads, no houses, no drinkable water and behemoth graft has bedraggled and befuddled the totality of our leadership. Educationally, economically and technologically Nigeria remains one of the most backward Nations on earth. We remain anthropoid apes as Hitler once called Africans. Our leaders and their surrogates have cunningly and forcibly expropriated the larger and richer portions of our lands and relegated the people to the status of permanent subordination and unmitigated drudgery of the political and economic affairs of their own fatherland.

All the choicest parcels of lands in Abuja have been commandeered by them and all the oil fields and yields from the Niger Delta have been corruptly mismanaged and allocated to their advantage. Yet they still want to asphyxiate us by their Machiavellian acrobatics of increasing their salaries and allowances arbitrarily. The sage Chief Obafemi Awolowo observed in his book, The Travails of Democracy thus: “Corruption by public officials and corporations will never decline in Nigeria, as long as many who are known to have participated in and profited by them can be patted on the back and paraded as the nation’s arch-angels, once they make the right friends and have the right connections”.

The legislators proposed a dastardly selfish allocation of N1.9 trillion in the 2010 budget for themselves. The delegates in the on-going national conference must come in and the RMAFC must call the recalcitrant legislators to order. We must entrench integrity into the legislature.

The Kabu-Kabu Representatives who fight at will must be checkmated by Nigerians come 2015 via the ballot box. I see the triumph of the human spirit, the collapse of the forces of inhumanity and the emergence of the glorious effort, finally, to free Nigerians from senseless, inhuman and greedy exploitation, destruction and degradation by our so – called legislators. ‘PART-TIME LAWMKERS’ IS NOW OR NEVER.

Chief  BOBSON GBINIJE, a social critic, wrote from Warri, Delta State.


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