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[Opinion] David Mark’s Upper House Of Indolence By Kikiowo Ileowo



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Nigerians are a very special breed of people. Their tolerance level for corruption and indolence served them by the ruling class is very high. Yes, you read me right. Since pre-independence era, the portrait of Nigeria as an independent nation was evident.

If you have read Wole Soyinka’s You Must Set Forth At Dawn, then you have an idea of what am talking about.

The Nobel Laureate wrote about the lavish and corrupt lifestyle of one of our founding fathers that traveled to Britain on official assignment with tax payer’s money. He would party, drink and waste the little we had as a nation as if money were found on trees back home. Of note in the memoir was his revelation that the said ‘high ranking’ official paid an ‘arranged’ white female student (aristo babe) with the official cheque that carried the official seal of his political office.

Not to bore you with too much stories, the same trend of irresponsibility, abuse of office and misappropriation of funds continue to this day without an end in sight.

Democratic institutions have evolved over time to make diverse society better, but why sanity continues to elude our system  still remains a mirage today. In democratic process, institutions such as the legislature have evolved from its primary responsibility of making laws to checking the excesses of the executive arm. The idea of a vibrant legislative arm is simply for check and balances.

The Senate, an arm of Nigerian federal legislature as presently constituted is at best a joke of some sort, a money-wasting conglomerate and a cog in the wheel of progress and development of Nigeria.

Nigeria runs a bi-camera legislature; The Upper House and Lower House. The Upper House is called the Senate with a total of 109 members, 3 from each of the 36 states of the federation and 1 from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT). The Lower House referred to as House of Representative has a total of 360 members from the 360 federal constituencies of the country.
The senate is generally believed to have some sort of ‘seniority’ over the house of representative but in reality, they are only ‘seniors’ in non-performance and salaries earned.

The Senate led by General David Mark is at best docile,  and a waste of our limited resources.

It cost Nigerian Tax Payers an estimated N400m to service a Senator in a year. Multiplied by 109 senators is a whooping N43.6b. A single four year term per senator equals N1.6b. I wouldn’t have had problem with this figure if the Senate was vibrant, up and doing.

In the 2013 budget, there is a statutory budget transfer of N150b to the National Assembly. As at the time of writing this article, the breakdown is not readily available for analysis. But, it may interest you to note that the Senate President alone is allegedly serviced with N600m of tax payer’s money yearly. Meaning if he complete his tenure still occupying his seat as the Senate President, Nigerians would have spent a total of N2.4 billion on him alone. No wonder he was alleged to have donated a car worth between $50,000- $100,000 to Tuface Idibia for his wedding which took place in Dubai, a claim he later refuted.
When will Nigerians learn not to complain, that’s just ‘recharge card’ money for our senate ‘Oga At The Top’ (Pun Intended).

The tinted characters Nigerians are presently subsiding and enriching through the senate are the likes of Joshua Dariye, former Plateau state governor and thieftain (sorry chieftain) of the PDP, George Akume, Former Benue state governor also elected under the PDP platform and still standing corruption trial in the court of law. Others are Sen. Ali Ndume who is allleged to be a sponsor and financier of the deadly Boko Haram group, Sen. Sani Ahmad Yerima, former Zamfara State Governor and accused child molester, who is still presently married to an ‘under-aged’ girl. The senate also have as members; Andy Uba, Gemade Barnabas, Danjuma Goje,  a simple task of google-ing these names will tell you much about their characters. These are just a few and as ex-president General Olusegun Obasanjo once revealed, The national assembly is populated by dubious character and criminals.

Nigerians wake up; for how long are we going to tolerate this slap on our faces?

American legislators from the republican party are pain in ass for Obama, though we are copying their bi-cameral system of legislature, ours is a waste of resources in that we are not as rich as America. Nigeria’s budget is not even up to 1/4 of New York State budget. Ok, let me give you the numbers. On March 29th, 2013 the New York state assembly passed a budget of $135billion into law, that’s N20trilion in Nigeria’s currency. The total of Nigeria’s budget for 2013 is around N4.5trilion i.e. $32.6billion

We have not seen much commitment towards economic growth, fighting insecurity, beaming more searchlight on the activities of the executive arm of government from the Nigeria’s Upper Legislative house. For how long are we going to permit this docile and rudderless house from subsisting?

Truth be told, there are few senators who are bold, ingenious and totally different from the pack, but we haven’t seen any remarkable result from them.
I would expect the Senate as the representative of the people, to continually stand President Goodluck Jonathan on his toes.

Mr. President it too comfortable on his seat and is not being held accountable for his actions and inactions. He should be held liable for the insecurity and account for the death of citizens in Baga, Bama and Nassarawa. He should be made to feel the ‘heat’, which ultimately will propel him into action.

But as of now, the Nigerian Senate is a waste of our minimal resources and should thus be scrapped. But who will? The same institution is charged with reviewing the Nigerian constitution.

Truth is, we are ok with having just the lower house of representative, we can manage their little inadequacies, at least they seen to be working compared to David Mark’s Upper House whose only proud and gallant achievement till date is appeasing their hypocritical mindset by sending homosexuals to 14years imprisonment or stoning to death in states where Sharia law is practiced.

Kikiowo Ileowo is a public commentator and the Editor of The Paradigm.

You can follow him on twitter via @ileowo4ever

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1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Dykman

    June 1, 2013 at 6:55 am

    Now you come,I have said it time without number that the national Assembly has been our problem in this country.selfish group of people

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Who Will Explain Coronavirus To Buhari?



Coronavirus (COVID-19), an exorable doom, threatens life on the planet. It is exorable because it is conquerable. This explains why world leaders are taking the charge to combat this ominous apocalypse. It is a time for leadership from the fore-end; a time when citizens must hear their leaders speak to them; see them take action, making assurances and fulfilling those promises. The counsel, consolation and firm statement of a leader is imperative at this moment.

In Canada, Justin Trudeau, prime minister, despite being in self-isolation and his wife battling the virus after contracting it at a conference in the UK, is leading the fight against this dreaded disease from the fore. He is providing regular updates of the efforts of his government to roll back this scourge, listening and speaking to citizens.

In a popular broadcast on March 13, Justin spoke to citizens of Canada announcing measures to relieve the financial stress brought on by the pandemic on Canadians.

“We do not want any Canadian to have to worry about whether or not they’re going to be able to pay their rent, whether or not they’re going to be able to buy groceries, or care for their kids or elderly family members. We need to make sure that Canadians have the options and the ability to follow the best public health advice and keep themselves safe,” he said.

In the UK, Boris Johnson, prime minister, leads the struggle against coronavirus. He provides updates, alongside health experts, on the measures his government is taking to tackle the spread of the disease. And in the US, Donald Trump is not shying away from speaking to Americans on the virus.

As a matter of fact, President Muhammadu Buhari’s lapses are often easily dismissed by his supporters or by Nigerians who do not know better. Some of them say, ‘’ Why must the president speak when the minister of health and the NCDC DG are already doing that?” This is a contemptible rationalisation of incompetence. Are they suggesting the president lacks the capacitance to understand the issues?’’

Really, I surmise the president has been walled off the ‘’candid cameras’’ over the years by his handlers – not just now – because he lacks the intellectual propensity to understand and discuss incisive issues. The last presidential media chat he held was in 2015 and it was a woeful outing. Also, his non-choreographed media interviews have been abysmal to say the least.

The truth is the unfiltered Buhari is a vacuously gaffing one. On October 14, 2016, standing beside Angela Merkel, German chancellor, Buhari said his wife, Aisha, ‘’belonged in the kitchen and the other room’’, when he was asked to comment on the first lady’s criticism of his government.

On April 18, 2018, at the Commonwealth Business Forum in London, the president said the young citizens of the country he leads are lazy.

“More than 60 per cent of the population is below 30, a lot of them haven’t been to school and they are claiming that Nigeria is an oil producing country, therefore, they should sit and do nothing, and get housing, healthcare, education free,” he said during a panel appearance with world leaders at the forum.

In a February 2016 interview with UK Telegraph, Buhari dropped another clanger. He said the young citizens of his country have a knack for criminality and should not be granted asylum in the UK.

With the Buhari experience, it is indubitable that Nigerians must place a high premium on education — not just certificate – in choosing their leaders. The cost of electing leaders who do not have the intellectual grit to understand and handle matters is far too high.

The senate has asked the president to speak to citizens on this threat, and Nigerians are also asking the president to speak to them. This is an abnormality. Citizens must not beg to hear from their president. But because it is Buhari involved here, we have to beg and even excuse the crass inefficiency and vacuity.

Perhaps, the president is still trying to get a hang of it. I think he has ‘’capable handlers’’ who can break it down to him in ABC.

Mr President, speak to your citizens. The words of a leader are more resounding and assuring than the blandishment of proxies.

PS: Let’s follow all health protocol as advised by the NCDC.

• Wash your hands regularly with soap under running water.

• Cover your mouth and nose properly with handkerchief or tissue paper when sneezing and/or coughing. You may also cough into your elbow if a handkerchief is not available.

• Avoid close contact with anyone showing symptoms of respiratory illness such as coughing and sneezing.

• Avoid self-medication, report to the nearest health facility when you experience any of the above-mentioned symptoms.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

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Sanusi: Once Upon An Emir, By Wole Olaoye



Dethroned Monarch, Sanusi

We are all potential Ex-es: ex-student, ex-director, ex-lecturer, ex-senator, ex-governor, ex-president, ex-oba, ex-emir…. The inimitable Zik famously reminded us when he had a spat with Ukpabi Asika that Ex was an inevitable prefix for any human being as was evidenced by the fact that a certain young man who would someday become an ex-Administrator, was the son of an ex-postmaster!

So, what’s so apocalyptic about Sanusi Lamido Sanusi joining the ranks of ex-potentates? Nothing? Everything! Don’t ever think that bell you are hearing is tolling for the former Emir of Kano. No. It could be signalling the beginning of a comprehensive demystification of traditional rulership by plebeians holding tenured political power. In centuries past, no plebeian messed with the traditional institution. The halo of nobility, the sheer vastness of a prince’s hereditary powers, rights and privileges, made the subject know his place.

Yesterday’s subjects are today’s political sovereign. They make no pretences to sophistication. They load a gun to kill a spider. When you dethrone a monarch and then deprive him of his liberty, forcefully banishing him to a place without electricity and potable water, you are playing god. If it was all a public relations Olympics, the calm dignity with which Sanusi handled the humiliation made people all over the world admire his chutzpa and hand him the gold medal. A

Life and its many puzzles! Why is it that for some men and women, “their sleep is taken away unless they cause some to fall”? What do you do about an ego that knows no satiation? As the Preacher in the Good Book timelessly says, “All the rivers flow into the sea, yet the sea is never full… The eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear content with hearing… there is nothing new under the sun”.

The Yoruba have a poem that says just that. “The horse struts and frets and then dies. Being a veteran walker is no immunity to getting lost. Nothing new under the sun. I’ve seen kings reduced to slaves; and servants who mounted the throne. Haven’t my eyes beheld both river and sea? Haven’t I seen a hunchback on spindly legs, and a midget climbing a ladder to add condiment to the soup pot? Tell me, has anyone ever started a building from the roof?

The new Emir of Kano, Alhaji Aminu Ado Bayero, is a cousin of his predecessor. As royal intrigues go, when the dust is settled the sword will be sheathed and brother will embrace brother. That is the way of princes. Eventually, outsiders will realise that all they can ever be in palace politics is outsiders. Our very own Nobel prize winning Kongi was not amused by the scandalous extra-judicial detention of the former emir.

He put the emir’s travail down to his progressive stance: “Emir Sanusi was a one-man EFCC sanitisation squad in the banking system, taking on the powerful corrupters of that institution…. “Most important of all, and most pertinently for the nation, Sanusi was one of the early warning voices against religious extremism whose bitter fruits the nation is currently reaping….

The doors of enlightened society remain wide open to Muhammad Sanusi. As for his current crowing Nemesis, a different kind of gates remain yawning to receive him when, as must, the days of governorship immunity finally come to an end.” Support for Sanusi is not limited to radical voices.

Veteran technocrat Alhaji Ahmed Joda penned a panegyric in support of the ex-emir: “The purpose of this letter to you is not to commiserate with you, because I know that you must have known the likely consequences  of the principled position you have taken. The reality we must face in Northern Nigeria is that the evil forces of feudalism that have kept us in bondage for so long are still there and fighting. You have been the only voice that has been telling us this truth….”

It is easy to kick a man given a pin-fall by fate, or piss on the grave of a fallen warrior. Dead men don’t bite. Real friends show up when you are in life’s valley. Say what you will, I would rather have a friend like Nasir el Rufai when the chips are down. In the midst of all the turmoil, conspiracy theories have surfaced to the effect that the dethronement is but a political sleight-of-hand to propel Sanusi to Nigeria’s presidency in 2023. Caution! Let’s separate the issues. Political succession is totally different from fundamental human rights. Sanusi is not my next president.

My views on power rotation are well documented. The ex-emir will go down in history as a champion for the rights of the poorest of the poor. He advocated for a new Northern Nigeria where old backward practices such as the almajiri system and irresponsible parenting will be abandoned. His was the voice crying out in the desert, lift my people up from the cesspit of penury. The attempt to demonise him after dethronement through various allegations, including one on religious fundamentalism, is dead on arrival. The same fate will befall the vilification of El Rufai on account of his loyalty to Sanusi. Please quote me: Modern challenges can never be resolved with a resort to medieval solutions.

Christopher Hitchens’ Q&A may someday apply to the ex-Kings College boy who’s now an ex-king.

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Sanusi Dethronement: The North Only Beheads The Bearers Of Truth



Emir Sanusi

By Fredrick Nwabufo

Northern Nigeria is prostrate. It is the axis of uglies – banditry, insurgency, kidnapping, diseases, ignorance, and drug abuse. Alas! The region’s elite are aware of the problems, but look away because the disequilibrious status quo sustains them. What is petrifying, however, is that they maul and clobber at anyone who spits the truth in their faces.

I think, this is the mortal sin of Muhammad Sanusi II, emir of Kano – beyond his politics with Abdullahi Ganduje, governor of Kano.

But wait!

The World Bank says 87 percent of Nigeria’s poor are in the north. And that while poverty is plummeting in the south, it is rocketing in the upper region.

READ: Dethroned Sanusi Will Be Under House Arrest – Ganduje’s Aide

“Poverty in the northern regions of the country has been increasing especially in the north-west zone. Almost half of all poor lived in the north-west and the north accounts for 87 percent of all poor in the country in 2016,’’ the Bretton Woods institution said in its report entitled ‘Advancing social protection in a dynamic Nigeria’ in February 2020.

In August, 2019, the federal government revealed that 1,460 people were killed by bandits in seven months. And that the north-west is the worst-hit by this bloody enterprise. The killings have steadied, expanding in proportion and execution in the region.

In his accustomed manner, Sanusi recently vocalised these depressing figures of retrogression in the north – as regards the World Bank report — earning himself praise from progressive Nigerians and reprimand from the usual suspects — those stuck in the cesspit of bigotry.

Also, the gadfly emir of Kano, whom I regard as the John the Baptist of the north for his vociferous condemnation of this status quo, is alone in his advocacy against irresponsible polygamy, Al-majiri and child marriage – practices the northern elite espouse. He is the face of a progressive north; the northerner of the new age.

As a matter of fact, on different occasions he had complained about the northern elite whom he said wanted to silence him for speaking the truth about the region.

‘’Our colleagues and compatriots among the elite do not like statistics. Numbers are disturbing. I recently gave a speech in which I said the north-east and north-west of Nigeria are the poorest parts of the country. This simple statement of fact has generated so much heat; the noise has yet to die down. The response to this speech has been a barrage of personal attacks and insults aimed at silencing any voices that dare shine the light on the society to which we are saying Bring Back our Girls,’’ he said at a lecture held to commemorate the Chibok girls abduction.

READ: Sanusi Breaks Silence After Dethronement As Emir Of Kano (Video)

And I guess they can only take the throne away from him but cannot take away his royalty in the community of decent humans. Really, I believe the emir would rather give up his throne than be gagged by the shareholders of iniquity.

To say the least, Sanusi’s dethroning was not unexpected. Ganduje had always shown his hand in this plot. Really, the emir of Kano never hid his dislike for him. But what is there to like about a governor who was allegedly caught on camera stuffing wads of dollars into his babariga? In the build-up to the 2019 governorship election in the state, the emir was not shy in expressing his disapproval to Ganduje’s candidature.

So, Ganduje, who considers Sanusi a ‘’loud mouth’’, plotted a bitter revenge after he was re-elected. He had moved to remove the emir in 2018 but for the intervention of some ‘’higher powers’’. However, he whittle-down the power of the emir by creating new emirates from his domain. He was not done though. He rustled-up allegations, set up probe panels – all in the desperation to embarrass Sanusi.

But Sanusi was still talking.

Really, one of the most abrasive places to exist is in the circle of non-progressives. You talk different, think different or act different, they will feel threatened. Even when you try to clown around; the aboriginal clowns will still feel threatened because you do not look the part.

I think, Emir Sanusi is light-years away from the people he is dealing with in Kano government. He is needed more at the top echelon of government where he can contribute more meaningfully to the development of Nigeria.

Northern Nigeria is not ready for an emir like Sanusi. He is ahead of his time.

Fredrick Nwabufo is a writer and journalist.

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