NASS, BoI and “controlled demolition” agenda

One trend I have found intriguing about the current crop of national lawmakers is their desire to always oppose Nigerians. Interestingly, they are supposedly the true representatives of ordinary people, having been voted on constituency basis. To further cement what should be a symbiotic bond, those they represent are termed constituents, meaning owners. But who truly owns who?

I suspect there is a demonic veil in the National Assembly, blinding lawmakers to what everybody can see, deafening their ears to what is melodious to all and draping their souls solely to their desires, which are either narrowly pecuniary or shallowly political. If you think this is pernicious to their reputation, check their acts.

I almost dismissed the story as a misrepresentation; National Assembly seeking to kill the Bank of Industry (BoI) for some big-for-nothing bigger platform with some jejune wider reach? Please spare me nonsense grammar! Why won’t they attempt blighting the only bright spot in developmental sector of the doddering economy today, truly serving average Nigerians, when they had succeeded in locking us in their partisanship and self-serving APC/PDP politics?

When I read that the ill-bill sponsored by Senator Ibrahim Gobir of APC (Gombe East), passed second reading despite the stiff opposition from nearly all the stakeholders including the NLC, I feared Nigerians may never be able to rein in, their anti-people lawmakers ever again.

In a nation of prevailing mercantile mentality, huge public fund had likely gone into mobilising for the recent shameful endorsement rallies for the government of the day. The nation is now in two halves; it is either you are standing with Buhari or with Nigeria. Despite the opposing rhetorics, both could be shades of same for truly people-oriented objectives.

One of such objectives, should be stopping the lawmakers from this misadventure of serving as self-appointed undertakers for BoI. It is gratifying to see that not all the chambers men (more like gas chamber executioners) are sleeping with heads in same position. The likes of Sam Egwu are standing to be counted on the side of the people and prosperity.

In any atmosphere of minimal objectivity, the question can never be “which sector has BoI touched”? It would be more of “which sector has it not touched”? That the nation hasn’t completely earned the famine status, is practically down to the institution, engaging in multi-lateral collaborations and synergies with deep-pockets and state governments in multi-billion schemes.

Did Nigerians listen to the statistics reeled out by Isa Aremu of NLC on BoI rescue and interventionist efforts in textile, automobile, small and medium scale and practically all other sectors of the economy? Is it possible for NLC, Organized Private Sector (OPS), the Manufacturers Association of Nigeria (MAN), the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI), the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), Trade Union Congress (TUC) and Afenifere, to be backing the wrong horse at the same time?

Is National Assembly more versed in human, material and economic developmental understanding than international rating and collaborative agencies like Fitch, UNIDO, Augusto&Co, DFI et al, saying yes to BoI?

Is National Assembly more patriotic and concerned about the nation’s socio-economic challenges than Aliko Dangote, Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi and state governors who keep thumbing up BoI as the right way to go in stimulating the depressed economy?

Nothing would make the National Development Bank behemoth, more desirable and effective than BoI, in a nation where such amalgam in the past always ended as a broth for the “boys”.

Nothing is wrong with merger. In fact, the concept should hold permanent appeal for the ruling party that Gobir belongs and in control of the National Assembly. Political merger helped them to power at the centre. It would be pardonable if they think it the magic wand for every problem. Gobir confirmed this affected disposition by saying “the bill, when passed into law, would be the best antidote for the current economic downturn, as the bank will be a major driver of the economy, especially in the agriculture and industrial sectors.”

But any of the six senses would point to a different outcome. The financial institutions being proposed for merger with BoI were fashioned to meet definable economic and developmental needs. The concoction that would come out of such blend cannot but be putrid. All sweet smell coming from BoI, would simply dissolve into the stench.

But many would swear that the mistake about to be made by the National Assembly isn’t a product of misplaced nationalistic fervour. With a dismal public service record, borne out of primordial self-preservation, the lawmakers have got themselves to the point where nearly all “outrageous” stories about them can’t be discarded. Such stories are known as agenda. The agenda swirling around this one, is said to be Kwara politics. Olagunju, the BoI boss is from Offa, a town with historic opposition to the Saraki dynasty from inception. Gobir and gang, are said to be mere fronts. While this conspiracy theory fits the crude politicking in the National Assembly, one is tempted to cut Senator Bukola Saraki some slack, to allow him disprove the tale, by terminating the bill at whatever level it may be right now. He has done well with his “buy naija” campaign. BoI is one of the very few government institutions “selling naija” right now. The bank deserves to live and it must. If the lawmakers won’t do what is right, it is an opportunity for those standing with Nigeria and Buhari to have a unity project; overrun the National Assembly.

There is a creepy imagery this National Assembly agenda is bringing; the 2008 controlled demolition of BoI by Babatunde Fashola as Lagos governor. Eerily, Fashola, Saraki and Gobir are now “merger” products.