By Emmanuel Aziken
“What you don’t produce, you don’t deserve,” Senator Joseph Dada from Ogun State said in his contribution to the debate on the bill to amend the Public Procurement Act that is fashioned to promote locally produced goods penultimate Wednesday.
The bill sponsored by Senators Enyinninya Abaribe and Sam Egwu was enthusiastically supported by several senators among whom were Senators Ben Murray-Bruce, George Akume and even the Senate President, Senator Bukola Saraki.
Teasingly, Senator Akume lamented that the National Assembly had even failed to show the way by resorting to Toyota vehicles when there were locally manufactured vehicles. While they all canvassed the need to grow the local economy through patronising locally produced vehicles and goods, only one of them, however, was able to walk the talk on the issue. Senator Murray-Bruce, who claimed to have proudly purchased three locally made Innoson vehicles, said he had proved the vehicles to be as good as the foreign brands.
Remarkably, as they spoke, not many Nigerians knew that 36 senators had quietly received 36 Toyota SUVs each purchased at the whooping cost of N35.1 million. So even while many of them repeatedly chorused the need to patronise and promote locally made goods, our senators with the notable exception of Murray-Bruce have failed to walk the talk.
So when next a senator encourages you to commit yourself to Nigeria, remember to point to him where he and his colleagues failed to commit themselves to Nigeria.
Ogbemudia’s secret scrutiny
The former governor of the old Midwest Region and former Bendel State, Brigadier Samuel Osagbovia Ogbemudia has not hidden his determination to ensure that the legacy he claims to have been achieved by Comrade Adams Oshiomhole is not discarded after his term. To that end, Ogbemudia had floated the Edo Mass Movement, EMM, a body that had at one time drawn attention on account of the seriousness with which the movement was galvanising supporters.
Even Comrade, it was alleged, had to rush quietly to Ogbemudia to enquire the purpose and intent of the body were not to torpedo his succession plans. Even more, at the colloquium to mark Ogbemudia’s last birthday celebration, Oshiomhole had openly asked Ogbemudia to step aside from the political terrain having achieved his well-envied mark.
Indeed, when Ogbemudia sometime ago pledged that he would support Oshiomhole’s candidate many supposed that the former action governor had finally been brought under Oshiomhole’s sway and swagger.
But speaking to your correspondent earlier this week, Ogbemudia seemed to backtrack on the assertion as he said that the EMM would surely intervene if the comrade’s choice does not meet the criteria he and his supporters have drawn up.
He also told your correspondent of how he had interviewed a number of the leading aspirants across the two parties for consideration.
At 83, Ogbemudia has no room to manoeuvre on the issue as his decision would probably be his final testament on the political terrain.
The Senate Peace
After nearly two hours meeting behind closed doors, senators on Wednesday resolved to sheath their swords and put the interest of the nation above their selfish desires.
The senators who had been split between supporters of Senate President Bukola Saraki and those against him came out with a resolution to put all the issues that had divided them behind. It was in that light that they resolved to withdraw all court matters against the election of Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu as presiding officers. As a quid pro quo, the report of the Senate Committee on Ethics and Public Petitions which apparently had nailed one of Saraki’s most vehement antagonists, Senator Kabiru Marafa was also dropped from consideration that Wednesday.
However, given the depth of the enmity that had been sown sources in the Senate say that the Wednesday troubleshooting may not succeed. Those who took the Senate President to court it was learnt were still unwilling to withdraw their case. Even more, few doubt if Saraki after the humiliation he has been subjected to would ever forgive those who brought him to that point.
The gist is that the senators were coerced into finding peace based on the fear that a harm to Saraki could bring collateral damage on the party as it could open opportunity for the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP to take over the Senate.