Rubber-stamping priorities and agendas – Daily Trust

Rubber-stamping priorities and agendas – Daily Trust

Last week, Tinubu went on record to justify bringing back the old National Anthem as his priority. Those who took it as a joke when he was saying so during the campaign in 2022 will change their minds now. As things stand, I predict he will attempt to achieve all the personal goals he has set. This is why I will not discount the newspaper story, published by ThisDay April 13, 1997, captioned: I Don’t Believe In One Nigeria –Tinubu. And if ‘that’ became his priority, then God help us.

We have seen politicians transcend their agenda, transform into Bengal tigers, and prey on the people after they win elections. But never have we seen anything close to what Tinubu and his Lagos boys have been doing since his inauguration; they have transformed into different kinds of politicians. They are creating their style of Nigeria with a different identity. They have detached themselves from the APC ideologies, Buhari’s CPC, and the nPDP camp of the party. And their main enablers are the leaders of the National Assembly—the Speaker and the Senate President.

These two leaders have conspired to rubber-stamp everything the President has requested from them, from laws to re-enact the old National Anthem to budgetary approvals, regardless of its relevance or the potential consequences. We now know that reverting to the old National Anthem was a personal priority rather than a national one. As the legislative leaders promised to approve all requests Tinubu sent to them, the National Assembly was submissive to approve it in spite of the backlash.  

Evidently, Tinubu’s interests are not a national concern, and the National Assembly’s unquestioning support of his agenda is disgraceful. Their lack of consideration for the potential unintended consequences is a serious matter. If the National Assembly continues to rubber-stamp the President’s fantasies and agendas, it could lead to severe repercussions for the nation. They are ignoring the Minimum Wage Act in the face of strike.  They have been quiet regarding relocating federal offices, like the CBN, Aviation, and NNPC, from Abuja to Lagos. They have rubber-stamped the renovation of the Presidential Lodge in Lagos. I bet they will approve any other request sent to them as long as it serves the wishes of Tinubu and his Lagos boys.

And yes, the agenda of these Lagos Boys has become the agenda of the government under the guise of internal affairs and reforms. It is an active, region-centred, dishonest, unorganised, mediocre agenda. It is bold out of vanity and egoism but timid by temperament; it appeals to many in many ways except for its practicability. Their kind of agenda, if left unchecked, will lead to the balkanisation of Nigeria.

It was not a coincidence that a draft  Bill for the return of the regional government made rounds in the same week as the old National Anthem was re-enacted. The National Assembly members said the viral Bill is not with them, but the man behind the draft bill, Dr Akin Fapohunda, said he would push it to them soon. The draft is already courting controversy as it suggests resource control, equal representation for all regions regardless of population size, and self-determination via referendum.

I summarise the Bill as myopic and primitive. It is designed by ethnic supremacists who live in a distant past. Lagos is already advocating for an independent region. But it is refreshing to know that it will require two-thirds of all the state assemblies for the Bill to be adopted. Besides, do I need to remind them that even the leaders of the 1966 countercoup rejected the regional system in favour of the Presidential system? My advice to them is to revisit this historical context, do more research around saner climes, and maybe they could predict the potential consequences of their actions.

I may be giving the National Assembly and their leaders—the Senate President and the Speaker—a lot of credit by thinking they know what they are doing. I feel the standard of intelligence of Nigerian legislators ought not to be declining as we celebrate the Silver Jubilee of the Fourth Republic. I predicted that their level of experience, wisdom, and maturity should be at par with scientific thinkers. But here we are. They are a group of people—469 legislators—who mainly come together to rubber-stamp the laws that satisfy one person’s priorities.

As I said, I am wrong to think these people are rational. But I still wonder how they allow themselves to be put in a position that could potentially see them out of work forever. If they were to ever consider the regional government, it would be the end of a united Nigeria as we know it and of their own careers, too. If they are not scared of breaking up Nigeria, they should be scared of going out of business unless they are hellbent on making the wishes of one person come true.

 

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