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Published On: Wed, Feb 19th, 2020

The shakers in the 9th Senate

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By Abdul Jelil Adebayo

The morning, it is said, determines how the evening will look like, and from every indication the ninth senate may just pass by and not having anything positive to be associated with except that it is ‘ayes’ in every issue that pertains to the executive arm.
It does not want controversy and would not want to be confrontational; it is satisfied to be the good boys always. Not that one has to be antagonistic of another arm of government, but nose-diving support without minding their own relevance is annoying to the electorate and damaging to their reputation.
And from the look of things, the present crop of senators in this ninth senate do not mind neither do they care writing their names in gold, they are satisfied with ’I have passed through’ but the senate has not passed through them. That is not their headache.
Looking at happenings so far, many firebrand, respected legislators have become dumb and deaf, nothing matters to them, let the television camera pick their faces either raising their fingers to support executive bills or just smiling away or discussing with colleagues when national issues are being discussed. They are comfortable that way but the electorates are not happy since they were not elected to be just a figure among the number.
When the roll call of the present crop of senators were reeled out former governors who have now made the senate a retiring chambers are there, not to talk of a former senate leader from the south west, whose voice has been seized by dumbness. Former House of Representatives members, who fortune smiled on to be in the red chamber, have glued their mouth watching proceeding with a far distance observation. They don’t want to rustle the feathers.
Some of them are afraid of their shadow and many are even surprised that they found themselves in the hallowed chamber of the Distinguished. And yet, they prefer to remain mute and fear has gripped many so as not to ruffle the ship of state by their comments. But truly some have EFCC cases, so one can be lenient and be considerate on such as their position might send the executive dogs after them.
But Nigeria still has hope, as not all of them are sleeping facing the same side. There are still firebrands who know their onions and why they are in the National Assembly. Though among this bunch are those doing it for self survival, while reasonable ones among them believe as Senator Dino Melaye once retorted, ‘if you speak the truth, you will die, if you don’t speak the truth, you will still die’
Those who have made it a duty to stay by the people’s side don’t mind whose ox is gored, they tell it as it should be said. And one of them and certainly who stands shoulder high is Senator Mohammed Ali Ndume, from Borno state. He is an experienced legislator and his views are respected by all divide. Simply because he would not mind calling a spade what it is, an instrument of farming.
He is one of the very few senators that both the executive and his colleagues run to for counsel and direction. No matter what anyone may say, Ndume has the interest of the nation, and his community at heart and would not hesitate even if it runs contrary to the standing of the house to air his views. A typical example is the Valued Added Tax, VAT, when the house and the executive insisted of an increase from 5% to 7.5%; he was the lone voice when many felt by speaking out, they would be injurious to the whims of the power that be. He spoke out and maintained that instead there should be an increase in communication tax. That is a leader indeed.
Senator Abaribe is another legislator to look out for. He is forthright and would not mind to speak out what he feels are his opinion; he stands out as the party faithful and would not mind to defend the position of his party and his ethnic group with his last legislative blood, he is one of the firebrands in the red chamber. He is also respected as one who speaks out, Abaribe has been faithful dishing out party position in the red chamber.
Another senator that will not pass through the senate but allow the senate to pass through her is Senator Remi Tinubu, an iron lady. Though the wife of her party leader, she speaks in the interest of the party and her region. She is a senator that is respected and revered by most of her colleagues in the senate and respected by the party leadership. Anyone that may want to see her red eyes should go and ask Senator Dino Melaye.
Not leaving out is Senator Adamu Abdullahi, from Nasarawa state. A former governor of his state for 8years and one of the founders of the current opposition party, PDP; he is a factor in the senate. A die hard Buharist. He prefers to be embarrassed than for any of his colleagues to call the President name or even if jokingly asking for Buhari to resign. An ardent supporter of President Buhari who would have been a good senate leader but destiny did not smile at his direction to lead the senate.
Another firebrand is the senator from Kano state, Barau Ibrahim Jibrin; he is a party faithful and one of the voices that are constantly heard in the senate. He presides over the appropriation committee of the senate; one of the sought committees by every senator. Only the powerful are given the slot.
Whatever anyone may say, however, the senate president Ahmed Lawan is a rugged leader. He has many caps to his credit. He was a senate leader and knowing the influence of that position he was mindful of his team
Many people have the erroneous believe that Lawan is not in charge and too timid to be used by the executive arm of government, not so, he is a man that knows where his bread is buttered.
He has been able, at least for 8 months running, to hold the egg heads together in the red chamber; even when he has not hidden the fact that he is always waiting for the executive arm of government to send any bill and such bills would be dealt with without looking at it twice. At least he has proved that by the passage of the budget under less than 60days.
We can say unequivocally, that Ndume, Abaribe, Adamu, Tinubu, Barau and the senate president hold the ace and the determinants of the ninth senate for now.
Abdul Jelil Adebayo is an Abuja based journalist

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