Lawmakers Without Integrity | Independent Newspapers Limited
Newsletter subscribe


Lawmakers Without Integrity

Posted: Aug 3, 2016 at 2:00 am   /   by   /   comments (0)


By  Ayodeji Ajayi

Since the return of democratic dispensation in Nigeria on May 29, 1999, many Nigerians with discerning minds, irrespective of political, religious, ethnic or occupational affiliations have repeatedly advocated that, with effect from 2019, all intending seekers of elective positions at various levels across the country should be compelled to undergo comprehensive examinations to be conducted by truly certified medical personnel to determine their actual mental status.

This important requirement has become necessary now more than ever before, especially judging by the shameful and highly embarrassing behavioural traits many occupants of elective offices have exhibited in recent times while discharging their official duties.It is for this particular reason that I will not hesitate to recommend to the appropriate quarters that in order to effectively check the alarming rate at which men and women of questionable characters are made to assume elective positions under the present unbroken democratic system, all those aspiring to occupy elective offices during and after the crucial and decisive 2019 general elections should, in addition to mental tests, be subjected to compulsory integrity tests to, once and for all, ensure only men and women of proven integrity are assigned sensitive national responsibilities.

Judging by the series of ugly developments that have so far continuously characterised proceedings in the National Assembly since 2015, time is ripe for certain measures to be put in place by well-meaning and concerned citizens of this potentially great country in order to halt the unacceptable shows of shame, disgrace and impunity being demonstrated recklessly by the unrepentant federal lawmakers. This 8th National Assembly is a flourishing cesspool of monumental corruption.

Like their counterparts in the states across the country, the primary responsibility of the federal lawmakers is to make laws for good governance in the country. It is a sacred responsibility for which Nigerians trooped out in large numbers on Election Day to vote for them. But since they got into office, they have continued to dash the hopes of those whose highly cherished votes got them into office. Rather than discuss issues that are relevant to the democratic process and come up with laws that will enhance the rapid development of the country, as well as the promotion of the rule of law and good governance, they prefer to dwell on mundane matters to satisfy their selfish interests.

The federal lawmakers are deliberately unmindful of the steadily growing list of agonising conditions under which millions of Nigerians they pretend to be representing live in spite of the enormous oil wealth of the nation which has since been frittered away by successive administrations and clueless leaders.

It is saddening that like past leaders that had been fortunate to direct the affairs of the country, most of the federal lawmakers lack integrity. They are not honest. They have failed to discharge their lawful duties with the much-desired level of unwavering commitment, unswerving determination and unalloyed loyalty.

For lawmakers of their calibre, they are required to be of proven integrity but unfortunately, this batch of Senators and members of the House of Representatives are exception in this particular regard. This is certainly unlike what clearly obtains in sane or civilized climes across the globe, that due process was not applied by party leaders and political godfathers and godmothers while putting such characters forward for elective positions.

A highly warped political process is not likely to produce productive, honest and visionary federal lawmakers of proven integrity. This largely explains why on assumption of duty, they do not feel they owe those that elected them into office any obligation in particular. This is why they are never sensitive and responsive to the hopes and aspirations of the millions of hapless and helpless voters whose votes enabled them get into office in the first instance.

How many laws have they made since they got into office in 2015? How many times have they attended proceedings? How many of them have so far made quality contributions to process of law making in either the Senate or The House of Representatives to justify the highly scandalous salaries and emoluments they have approved for themselves at a time many states from where they hail are owing workers and pensioners salaries and pensions spanning several months? They work for only three days a week and go on vacation indiscriminately but earn outrageous salaries and allowances compared with other categories of hardworking and patriotic Nigerians working in various sectors of the economy.

It is shameful that the Senate President has been on trial for alleged anticipatory assets declaration and forgery of some aspects of the Standing Rules of the Senate. The No 3 citizen has been observed to have sat in the dock.

His Deputy too, a very ambitious personality, is on trial for alleged forgery of some portions of the Senate Rules. It is only in Nigeria that when the integrity of public officials is questioned, they sit tight in office. They will summon (as if we are still under the military) the Judge or the Code of Conduct Tribunal Chairman to appear before them in cases that affect them directly in order to intimidate the respectable judicial officers. Scandals have continued to rock the NASS but members are always quick to defend and even clear their colleagues alleged to have been involved in any form of misdemeanour. The nauseating sex scandal allegedly involving three members of the House of Representatives and the 2016 budget padding scandal alleged to involve the Speaker, his Deputy and some other principal officers further attest to the belief in many quarters that many of the 8th National Assembly lawmakers are without integrity. By the way, their wicked clamour for immunity was to shield corrupt NASS principal officers from prosecution for corrupt practices