I want to support former President Olusegun Obasanjo on what he said about the National Assembly. The truth is that the National Assembly is a drain pipe in the country’s hard earned resources. When we look at the number of senators and representatives that we have, then we can imagine how much is going into the National Assembly.
One sad thing is that Nigerians don’t really know how much each member of the National Assembly takes home at the end of every month, but in the midst of the crushing poverty in the land, these privileged set of Nigerians are definitely living in luxury.
It is even so annoying that one of our senators even flaunt his wealth on social media, showing the pictures of his customized cars and his magnificent buildings. To show that this particular senator is not that busy, and has so much time on his hand, he even had to travel to Lagos to show that nobody could prevent him from entering the Centre of Excellence; this was when he clashed with the wife of a big Lagos politician in the hallowed hall of the Senate.
Since 1999 when Nigeria returned to civilian rule, I cannot say that we have really benefited from having the bicameral legislature that we are practicing. In fact, the country will do well with a unicameral legislature, as it will help in reducing the funds being ‘consumed’ by the National Assembly.
When one looks at the fact that Nigerian politicians are among the highest paid in the world, while the citizens are among the poorest, one will be at a loss as to how to situate these two contradicting scenarios.
Consequently, in order to share the bulk of the country’s wealth with the majority of the people, it is just right to cut the money flowing to politicians.
After we have succeeded in abolishing either the Senate or the House of Representatives, then we should make members of the surviving legislature arm part-time politicians. To be able to thrive in governance, I think our politicians need to be professionals, but unfortunately, the majority of them are just full-time politicians, thereby making them rely solely on government for survival.
It is, therefore, important that Nigerians, particularly members of the civil society groups, begin calling for the abolishment of one arm of our National Assembly so that Nigerians can have better opportunities to share in the national wealth.
- Idayat Kassim,