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Senate by-election: Case for a cerebral candidate

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Senate by-election

By Kunle Uthman

LEGISLATURES in modern states everywhere pass laws, determine the ways of raising and spending public revenues, discuss matters of public importance and play an important role in the process of amending the Constitution.

They also serve as checks and balances on the other two organs of government, namely the Executive and Judiciary.

Most modern constitutions provide for a legislature of two chambers, the lower and the upper. This is the model of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which provides for a Senate and House of Representatives.

The Senate consists of 109 Senators; the 36 states are each divided in three senatorial districts each electing one senator; the Federal Capital Territory elects only one senator.

In Nigeria senatorial zones are typically made up of a group of local government areas in a particular state and each zone is represented by a senator in the National Assembly.

The Lagos East Senatorial zone/district comprises the geographical areas of Epe local government area, Ibeju/Lekki local government area, Ikorodu local government area, Kosofe local government area and Somolu local government area.

Following the untimely death of Senator ‘Bayo Osinowo, who represented the Lagos East Senatorial District in the National Assembly, the stakes are high for all political parties that want to participate in a bye-election to replace the deceased senator. It will be a fierce competition between the political parties, and especially in the All Progressives Congress, APC, the party of the deceased senator.

The office of a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is an important one, therefore, elected senators should possess the credentials to be effective to perform their jobs creditably.

An effective legislator must have very high standard of personal integrity and conduct himself in a disciplined and ethical manner at all times. It is a truism that a concomitant consequence of our choice of representation to the present National Assembly (Senate and House of Representatives) is the quality of legislators that we have, in exercise of our adult suffrage and franchise voted (or chosen) to represent us in the federal legislature.

The rational explanation for these reprehensible choices may be due to the unjustifiable humongous salaries and allowances paid, connections, political influence and capacity to muscle Federal Government agencies for contracts and continue the pulverisation of the national treasury and by consequence the citizens who had elected them or a selection process by political godfathers for reciprocal benefits.

This is best captured in watching the investigations of government agencies, more particularly the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, on live television featuring the Minister of Niger Delta, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Investigation Committee of the NDDC; a scenario which showed the disdain and odium that these senators and the executive hold one another.

This event was nothing but a ‘show of shame’ and dramatisation of the extent of corruption in the Nigerian society-at-large, based on materialism and ostentatious lifestyles, stupendous acquisition of wealth, that benefits nobody but their immediate and extended relationships.

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The dramatic exchange and comedy of errors between Dr. Chris Ngige, Minister of Labour and Hon. Olu Faleke (Lagos Representative in the House of Representatives/former deputy governorship aspirant, Kogi State) was an altercation that showed the disdain and disrespect that the executive has for the National Assembly.

What necessitated that tirade of abuses and insults by Dr. Chris Ngige who, as a former governor of Anambra State, ought to conduct himself with decorum and decency?

Truly, where is the geographic political constituency of Hon. Faleke within the interpretation of the National Character Commission Act? His questions were rather personalised and necessarily annoying, thereby affording the minister of labour the opportunity to lampoon and insult him on a global network.

It has, therefore, become obligatory that if we desire qualitative representation in the National Assembly and progress tangentially as a nation-state, we must begin to rationally choose cerebral, young and dynamic citizens to represent us in the National Assembly and not those who see representation as a retirement home that affords them veritable opportunities to use their exalted positions to further amass wealth and laze around at the expense of the taxpayers.

Many of these legislators do not attend plenary sessions and rarely participate actively in the primary function of making laws.

It is within this context that the participation of Mr. Tokunbo Abiru in the bye-election to choose the senator representing Lagos East Senatorial District must necessarily be applauded.

Hopefully, this trait will continue, thereby further energizing the Senate with qualitative cerebral personae, who have made impact on the lives of their people. Mr. Tokunbo Abiru, a reputable banker is among the strong contenders for the ticket of the All Progressive Congress, APC, for the forthcoming Senatorial Bye-Elections in Lagos East Senatorial Zone.

Abiru was appointed the group managing director and chief executive officer of the then Skye Bank in July, 2016. Prior to this appointment, he had served in several capacities in some of the leading banks in Nigeria’s banking industry, at one time as an executive director of First Bank of Nigeria Plc.

He also served as commissioner of finance for Lagos State government during the tenure of Mr. Babatunde Raji Fashola (now Minister of Works and Housing). He performed creditably well as managing director, Polaris Bank from where he is retiring to contest the Lagos East Senatorial Election.

Majority of indigenes of Ikorodu Local Government Area and indeed the Lagos East Senatorial district hold Mr. Abiru in high esteem.  He is an acknowledged philanthropist, a bridge-builder and a person whose guiding principle is the upliftment of its people and provision of infrastructures that will enhance the quality of lives.

He believes in education and according to him, the least educated should possess a first-degree university or polytechnic education. I have interfaced with him in respect of a project in Ipakodo, Ikorodu, Lagos State. I have found as a fact that he loves his people and that he is determined to improve their lot while contributing to the development and the-progress of the Lagos East Senatorial district.

Abiru desires the best for the people of Lagos East Senatorial district and for Lagos State in general.

He and I are also involved in a faith-based project and I can unequivocally testify that he is a man who fears God and is not materialistic. His contemporaries in the banking and finance industry respect him and adore his modus operandi.

I am of the firm conviction, that Abiru is cerebral, astute, honest and a qualitative material that possesses leadership qualities which are credentials that makes him most suitable to represent the Lagos East Senatorial Zone in the Senate of the National Assembly of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.

Chief Uthman, a legal practitioner, wrote from Lagos.


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