Thursday, July 30, 2009

MKO Abiola and The National Assembly.

Can someone please explain to me, what is going on at the National Assembly? I’m not sure if those guys in Abuja really understand their role in the democratic structure. Perhaps, they were not given a copy of their “job description” when they were elected. I can bet that if those guys were working in the private sector, ninety percent of them would have been sacked by now. Not just for graft-related issues, but mainly for incompetence.

Last week, the House of Representatives rejected a motion proposing the immortalisation of Chief Moshood Kashimawo Abiola, the winner of the annulled June 12, 1993 presidential election. The proponents of the motion argued that Abiola fought and died for democracy and won the only presidential election widely acknowledged as the freest and fairest in Nigeria.

Following the rejection of the motion, another motion seeking to name the National Stadium, Surulere, Lagos after him sailed through yesterday with lawmakers affirming that the deceased politician deserved to be honoured.

Public opinion seems to be divided on whether Abiola should be honoured or not. It is also unfortunate that the June 12 struggle has somewhat become ethnicised. For me whether Abiola should be honoured is not the issue. Irrespective of the argument you put forward, there will always be an alternative opinion to counter such arguments, either from a tribalist or nationalist viewpoint. However, my issue is the timing of such a motion at a time when the nation is at crossroad. Yes, Abiola won the freest and fairest election. Yes, he fought assiduously for democratic governance. But with the ethnic and religious violence left, right and centre, perpetual darkness across the nation, university strike, economic meltdown, high unemployment and so on, is naming a national monument or immortalization of Abiola the most important issue facing the country?

I can’t seem to understand how any lawmaker would think that a motion name the National Stadium after MKO Abiola will provide a solution to our current problems. So now that they have wasted precious time passing such a motion, will that solve the problem in the Niger Delta? Will it provide uninterrupted power supply? Will it bring solution to the Islamic extremism in the North? Will it resolve the constitutional crisis between Lagos State and the Federal Govt? Will it resolve the current ASUU-FG crisis? Will it address the impact of the proposed deregulation of petroleum products on the masses?

It is on record that almost N1.3trillion is spent annually to maintain the National Assembly. This means taxpayers fork out N1.3trillion to maintain less than 1% of the entire population. And yet, the best these guys can deliver is a motion to re-name the National Stadium. What a joke!

The National Assembly has been mocking around with the proposed Constitution Review for almost a year. Instead of getting on with the job, all they engage in is constant bickering. The Electoral Reform Bill has been sitting on their desks for months. The Petroleum Industry Bill is yet to be debated. Haba! Are these bills not enough to keep any serious lawmaker busy? And to add insult to injury, they have started to talk about State creation.

Come on guys, someone needs to call these lawmakers to order. We cannot continue like this. It is bad enough that we have an Executive that is disillusioned, but it seems that both the Executive and Legislature are fingers of a leprous hand.

It is sad to say, but the reality is that our democracy has lost its focus. When the President can jet out of the country in the middle of a national crisis, then we can only expect the lawmakers to move such irrelevant motions at this critical time in the nation’s history.

May God have mercy!


Anonymous said...

Thanks for your well-written articles.
While I agree with you that our lawmakers often waste too much time on useless debates, Abiola's case is a welcome development. The Yoruba have a saying that "omo ti ko ba mo inu ro ko le mo ope da" (a thoughtless child would always be an ingrate). Nigeria has behaved like the proverbial thoughtless child in the matter of Abiola. No nation can make progress if it cannot honour its heroes. The British and the Americans know how to honor their dead, and that's why their citizens are ready to die for those countries.
Abiola deserves more than the DERELICT National Stadium in Lagos. We can start with the National Stadium in Abuja, and look for other ways of immortalizing Abiola and the other martyrs of democracy.
God bless Nigeria...

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your article. I agree with you 100%. Yes MKO Abiola deserved to be immortalised and remembered but, people are dying of hunger, there is so much poverty in the country, there are many more urgent problems that require the national assembly to delebrate upon rather waste precious time and resources on other issues. I am not saying MKO Abiola should not remembered and immortalised but this is an after thought this should have been done long before now or at least on June 12 if our law makers are truly sincere. Let them even take up the issue Nigerian patronising various embassies all in search of greener pastures.

Olalekan said...

Seyi, soon evrything in Nigeria especially in western Nigeria will be named after Abiola. they have named streets, schools and even stadia after the man. I believe it is good to immortalize him, but precious time is being wasted passing all these bills. We have enough stuff named after the man already. the house should either resign if they have nothing of importance to do, rather than sit there and pass such frivolous bills at tax payers expense. I have not heard any bill about water, electricity, health, education, security, etc. the Boko Haram incident clearly and glaringly exposed our intel, it is virtually non existent. all these deaths of innocent civilians and gunfire exchange could have avoided if there had been good intel. even citizens where Boko Haram operated knew for months that they were going to carry out these terrorist activities. Like i have said earlier, our leaders are just kleptocrats who care for nothing but their pockets.


@Mr Dele Momodu, I do appreciate where you coming from and I have never for once said MKO Abiola should not be honored. If just for his philantrophic gestures, he deserves to be honored. My concern is the timing of such bills at the legislative assembly at a time when the nation is burning. And really the question is, does the national assembly need to pass a bill before a national monument can be renamed? I'm sure what our legislations says about that, but may be someone else might be able to shed more light.