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Published On: Thu, Dec 26th, 2019

NASS N37bn renovation: Where is our reasoning?

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By Adetunji Ayobrown

Truly, the weak inflict more harm than the wicked persons. In the beginning of democracy, it is the citizen who guide their affairs and hold them in their power; but after 2019 presidential elections in Nigeria it is they, the s(elected) that guard and sweep us along, like a raging flood, without mercy. If you doubt this statement, analysis of the 2020 budget breakdown, National Assembly (NASS) N37bn renovation and the Senate President’s provocative statement on another $30bn loan will mesmerise you beyond words.
What you are able to discern could rid you of the anxiety and vagueness that are the primary reasons why so many fail in their actions towards success. Imagine his choice of words, “the question of whether we will pass the loan request of the executive arm of government, yes, we will pass it”. Without any remorse or apology for the blunder, Nigerians are astonished that leadership of the second arm of a democratic government could be that unbridled.
Unbelievable, NASS allocated meagre N22.89bn to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency in the 2020 budget, despite the horrible dilapidation of the country’s roads network. Even education only got only N48bn while N46bn assigned for health in all 36 states of federation including FCT.
Originally, the NASS complex was constructed at the cost of N10.7bn before the return to democracy in 1999, as this N37bn for the renovation not only outrageous, but unjustifiable and too excessive. Not at a time the organised labour is still wrangling with state governments on the payment of the new N30,000 (a month) minimum wage, many belief there is no compelling rationale for the pampered parliamentarians to make this charge on the public treasury.
It is indeed a strange world, when the least important thing is doing well and the most important thing is hanging on. Imagine the first phase of the project alone will cost N37bn, in a nation where there are millions of unemployed graduates roaming the streets without a clear cut provision in same budget tagged “budget of sustaining growth and job creation”.
The misgiving among the citizenry about this misconceived renovation should trigger a full blown national rejection but for where, who will bell the cat now that any reaction could be misconceived?
As if they are elected to ignore the country’s precarious economic malaise, the lawmakers approved an expensive renovation of the NASS Complex, Abuja slated for next year (2020).
But where is the democratic check and balances in reality? But what do you expect from a rubber stamp legislature? This was the stance of many Nigerians because there was hardly anyone, including President Muhammadu Buhari’s most fanatical supporter, who was not astounded by Senate President Ahmed Lawan’s brutal (frank) insistence that the president’s $29.9bn loan request would be approved. As this even was before the loan request was debated in both the upper and lower chambers, after all the NASS’ renovation too many saw as tit for tat.
Truly, he who knows nothing doubts nothing; that Buhari was to decide the next Senate President was a statement credited to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is now deputy senate president. Subservient is truly a choice, little wonder the NASS’ provocative N37 billion renovation budget was inserted in the 2020 budget. Only those with functioning eyes can see.
Leadership profligacy turning this country, as their inability to see beyond the moment and how they delude themselves has taken over the whole affairs. The question now is why. Too soon Senator Lawan has forgotten that President Buhari scurrilously dismissed the 8th Assembly for rejecting the loan because of bad, confrontational politics? So, now, it was really all because of insufficient details? It is clear from the illogical submission of Lawan and the ineffective 9th NASS that Nigerians are in for a hard time, since bills presented by the executive, especially will henceforth be approved without scrutiny, critical reasoning, and proper debate.
And if anyone wondered why the loan request, first presented in 2016, was not approved, here is why, according to Senator Lawan: “In 2016, the Senate did not pass the loan request of the Executive at that time and the reason was because there were no sufficient details”. Strong conviction precede great action, one cannot but imagine that the red chamber, with over a hundred men and women of integrity, will have to wait for another arm in choosing its leader; this rather brings the integrity of the members to question.
You can imagine when Omo Agege said “any decision the president makes, we will all fall in line and abide”. Any decision the president makes’ – he said, they (National Assembly members) will all fall in line and abide, coming from a party that had failed to lift the nation out of its present predicaments and woes. No wonder they did not resist the conclusion that the 9th National Assembly is a rubber stamp parliament.
Kai! True measurement of a man should be of his height of ideas and stands, but many of the legislators seem to be thinking otherwise. The decision was that anybody who was going to be Senate president in the 9th Senate must be somebody who is loyal to Mr. President and the party, many never believe that a senator could proud of such in any sane environment. Even with bashing from all angles, loyalty instead of development, party decision instead of great ideals will do Nigeria no good and as such are today being revealed.
Indeed, in the social realm, appearances are truly the barometer of almost all of our judgements and we must never be misled into believing otherwise. Have you seen what desires had done to our country? Many reacted saying there is no need for the legislature if it is the president that will be dictating to it. What tide of politics had made them weak is cause for concern when you choose to be subservient, especially when in desperation for relevance.
Our democratic success will largely depend upon the quality of our legislative thoughts, as events had shown that it is useless for the sheep to pass a resolution in favour of a vegetarian, while wolf remains of a different opinion. If the president is locked in a plan too rigidly, he will be unable to deal with sudden shifts of fortune. Nigeria economy needs more.
Dynamism of today’s economy is beyond this set of jokers. Nigerians took to social media to ask for genuine legislation as a result of some of these happenings. Our constitution says independence of each arm of government is sacrosanct and none should be under any other arm…for proper checks and balances. No arm is inferior to the other. It is obvious painful that Nigerian lawmakers are self-serving, a group of spoilt public officials, unwilling to make any sacrifice but compelling common and ordinary citizen. Disenchantment is getting higher among the populace, the suffering masses, apparently, this provocative undertaking had widen the gap between citizens and lawmakers who are described as the highest paid in the world, particularly when their emoluments are juxtaposed with Nigeria’s relatively small $398 billion Gross Domestic Product.
Truly, there was a never ending game that required vigilance and tactical thinking…it is called civilised war or check and balance in democracy. Having clear objectives and far reaching plan allows you freedom. Loyalty to our constitution and nation should rather be the guiding principle of our assembly if we are really ready to make the country better. Really! Our legislators had indeed fallen in line to whims and caprices of one of the other arms.
Success is a an effort resulting from evolved creative mind as the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in time of challenges and controversy, at a time Nigerians are hungry and jobless. Imagine between NASS’ renovation and job creation which one should be of paramount interest in the mind of selfless legislators. If N37bn is put to good use, how many unemployed Nigerians will benefit instead of wasting this huge sum on renovation of an existing structure that was even built with much less amount. Human capital development is more, apt and better, as it is in the developed world.
Truly, the weak inflict more harm than the wicked persons. In the beginning of democracy, it is the citizen who guide their affairs and hold them in their power; but after 2019 presidential elections in Nigeria it is they, the s(elected) that guard and sweep us along, like a raging flood, without mercy. If you doubt this statement, analysis of the 2020 budget breakdown, National Assembly (NASS) N37bn renovation and the Senate President’s provocative statement on another $30bn loan will mesmerise you beyond words.
What you are able to discern could rid you of the anxiety and vagueness that are the primary reasons why so many fail in their actions towards success. Imagine his choice of words, “the question of whether we will pass the loan request of the executive arm of government, yes, we will pass it”. Without any remorse or apology for the blunder, Nigerians are astonished that leadership of the second arm of a democratic government could be that unbridled.
Unbelievable, NASS allocated meagre N22.89bn to the Federal Roads Maintenance Agency in the 2020 budget, despite the horrible dilapidation of the country’s roads network. Even education only got only N48bn while N46bn assigned for health in all 36 states of federation including FCT.
Adetunji Ayobrown
Originally, the NASS complex was constructed at the cost of N10.7bn before the return to democracy in 1999, as this N37bn for the renovation not only outrageous, but unjustifiable and too excessive. Not at a time the organised labour is still wrangling with state governments on the payment of the new N30,000 (a month) minimum wage, many belief there is no compelling rationale for the pampered parliamentarians to make this charge on the public treasury.
It is indeed a strange world, when the least important thing is doing well and the most important thing is hanging on. Imagine the first phase of the project alone will cost N37bn, in a nation where there are millions of unemployed graduates roaming the streets without a clear cut provision in same budget tagged “budget of sustaining growth and job creation”.
The misgiving among the citizenry about this misconceived renovation should trigger a full blown national rejection but for where, who will bell the cat now that any reaction could be misconceived?
As if they are elected to ignore the country’s precarious economic malaise, the lawmakers approved an expensive renovation of the NASS Complex, Abuja slated for next year (2020).
But where is the democratic check and balances in reality? But what do you expect from a rubber stamp legislature? This was the stance of many Nigerians because there was hardly anyone, including President Muhammadu Buhari’s most fanatical supporter, who was not astounded by Senate President Ahmed Lawan’s brutal (frank) insistence that the president’s $29.9bn loan request would be approved. As this even was before the loan request was debated in both the upper and lower chambers, after all the NASS’ renovation too many saw as tit for tat.
Truly, he who knows nothing doubts nothing; that Buhari was to decide the next Senate President was a statement credited to Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who is now deputy senate president. Subservient is truly a choice, little wonder the NASS’ provocative N37 billion renovation budget was inserted in the 2020 budget. Only those with functioning eyes can see.
Leadership profligacy turning this country, as their inability to see beyond the moment and how they delude themselves has taken over the whole affairs. The question now is why. Too soon Senator Lawan has forgotten that President Buhari scurrilously dismissed the 8th Assembly for rejecting the loan because of bad, confrontational politics? So, now, it was really all because of insufficient details? It is clear from the illogical submission of Lawan and the ineffective 9th NASS that Nigerians are in for a hard time, since bills presented by the executive, especially will henceforth be approved without scrutiny, critical reasoning, and proper debate.
And if anyone wondered why the loan request, first presented in 2016, was not approved, here is why, according to Senator Lawan: “In 2016, the Senate did not pass the loan request of the Executive at that time and the reason was because there were no sufficient details”. Strong conviction precede great action, one cannot but imagine that the red chamber, with over a hundred men and women of integrity, will have to wait for another arm in choosing its leader; this rather brings the integrity of the members to question.
You can imagine when Omo Agege said “any decision the president makes, we will all fall in line and abide”. Any decision the president makes’ – he said, they (National Assembly members) will all fall in line and abide, coming from a party that had failed to lift the nation out of its present predicaments and woes. No wonder they did not resist the conclusion that the 9th National Assembly is a rubber stamp parliament.
Kai! True measurement of a man should be of his height of ideas and stands, but many of the legislators seem to be thinking otherwise. The decision was that anybody who was going to be Senate president in the 9th Senate must be somebody who is loyal to Mr. President and the party, many never believe that a senator could proud of such in any sane environment. Even with bashing from all angles, loyalty instead of development, party decision instead of great ideals will do Nigeria no good and as such are today being revealed.
Indeed, in the social realm, appearances are truly the barometer of almost all of our judgements and we must never be misled into believing otherwise. Have you seen what desires had done to our country? Many reacted saying there is no need for the legislature if it is the president that will be dictating to it. What tide of politics had made them weak is cause for concern when you choose to be subservient, especially when in desperation for relevance.
Our democratic success will largely depend upon the quality of our legislative thoughts, as events had shown that it is useless for the sheep to pass a resolution in favour of a vegetarian, while wolf remains of a different opinion. If the president is locked in a plan too rigidly, he will be unable to deal with sudden shifts of fortune. Nigeria economy needs more.
Dynamism of today’s economy is beyond this set of jokers. Nigerians took to social media to ask for genuine legislation as a result of some of these happenings. Our constitution says independence of each arm of government is sacrosanct and none should be under any other arm…for proper checks and balances. No arm is inferior to the other. It is obvious painful that Nigerian lawmakers are self-serving, a group of spoilt public officials, unwilling to make any sacrifice but compelling common and ordinary citizen. Disenchantment is getting higher among the populace, the suffering masses, apparently, this provocative undertaking had widen the gap between citizens and lawmakers who are described as the highest paid in the world, particularly when their emoluments are juxtaposed with Nigeria’s relatively small $398 billion Gross Domestic Product.
Truly, there was a never ending game that required vigilance and tactical thinking…it is called civilised war or check and balance in democracy. Having clear objectives and far reaching plan allows you freedom. Loyalty to our constitution and nation should rather be the guiding principle of our assembly if we are really ready to make the country better. Really! Our legislators had indeed fallen in line to whims and caprices of one of the other arms.
Success is a an effort resulting from evolved creative mind as the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moment of comfort and convenience, but where he stands in time of challenges and controversy, at a time Nigerians are hungry and jobless. Imagine between NASS’ renovation and job creation which one should be of paramount interest in the mind of selfless legislators. If N37bn is put to good use, how many unemployed Nigerians will benefit instead of wasting this huge sum on renovation of an existing structure that was even built with much less amount. Human capital development is more, apt and better, as it is in the developed world.

Adetunji Ayobrown is a Public Affairs Analyst.

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