The Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District, Senator Ifeanyi Ubah, last week, lamented that the South-East region deserved the Senate Presidency despite the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) zoning the position to the South-South region.
We tracked two other stories from the National Assembly within the week under review.
1. Ubah’s lamentations over Senate presidency slot
On May 8, Senator Ubah stated that the South-East deserved the Senate Presidency in order to strengthen Nigeria’s unity.
“For me and our people from the South-East, we are still very strong in contesting for the office of the Senate President of Nigeria for the 10th Senate. That is our position for now,” he said, while featuring on Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today.
“Are we not part of Nigeria? We need it in order to balance the equation.”
Ubah’s cries bring to fore the unending issues around national integration and the absence of an enduring template for creating a sense of belonging between and among players in the Nigerian project.
His clamour for ‘balance’ may well hold some water.
But has it not been said that politics is like a zero-sum game. Indeed, it is largely an interest-driven game, with politicians often pretending to advance their parochial pursuits as collective regional or national interests.
The bitter pill Ubah must swallow is that victors often determine how spoils are shared in war. It may be safe to conclude that he is in this power quest, first, for what will come his way.
NASS MEMORY LANE
“Tinubu is a frontrunner. Tinubu is well-liked in the North. He is from the South-West, and will get meaningful votes in Imo, Ebonyi, Abia, Anambra, and Enugu. He is going to have the support of Governor Wike of Rivers State. So, we’re on track.”
Answer: See end of post
Two other stories
2. Again, Lawan defends performance of 9th Assembly
On May 9, Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, described the rubber stamp tag on the 9th National Assembly as a misperception by Nigerians, boasting that the Assembly outperformed those before it.
READ ALSO:NASS REPUBLIC: As Lawan admits to worsening insecurity. Two other stories, and a quote to remember
Lawan stated this at a welcome dinner organised by the management of the National Assembly, and National Institute for Democratic and Legislative Studies for Senators, and members-elect in Abuja.
“Yet, our intention in preferring an engagement with the executive based on harmony and collaboration has been to better serve Nigeria by providing a safe atmosphere for national development. There is no doubt that this has proven to be beneficial to the people we represent. Compared to previous Assemblies…,” he said, among others.
Lawan’s strenuous defence of the 9th Assembly appears to be a burden he will carry for a long time.
What is certain is that his team’s inability to act independently or thoroughly check the excesses of the Muhammadu Buhari-led executive has earned them the tag of a rubber stamp institution.
Though a harmonious relationship between the legislature, and executive is encouraged, the Lawan-led Assembly largely presented itself as a tool in the hands of the executive, and gave an easy passage to the frittering of what was left of Nigeria’s socio-economic strength. This is palpable, especially in its swift approvals of foreign loans which have become a national burden.
The self-praise will, therefore, do little to cleanse a perception that goes too deep, and the Senate President must live with this burden of history.
3. Probing NDDC
On May 9, the Senate set up an ad hoc committee to investigate alleged unauthorised spending by the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) on its 2021, and 2022 budget estimates.
The resolution of the Senate was sequel to a motion by Senator Adamu Aliero, who represents Kebbi Central Senatorial District, at the plenary.
Aliero, in his presentation, noted that it was a breach of the constitution for NDDC to spend the budget estimates without the approval of the National Assembly.
The resolution speaks to the belaboured stories of financial misappropriation in the NDDC.
Specifically, it mirrors how government and its agencies have kept frittering away the country’s scarce resources using budgets as tools.
On the flip side, the resolution to investigate unauthorized spendings would appear a laughable venture as many Nigerians doubt the resolve and integrity of the Assembly to do a convincing job. Previous experiences seem to justify this disposition.
Would there be a change this time? Only time will tell.
Answer: Senator Orji Uzor Kalu
Kalu made the statement on February 21, 2023, when he spoke in a Channels Television’s programme, Politics Today. He is the Chief Whip of the Senate, and a former governor of Abia State.
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