Uniform Drama And Senate’s Pursuit Of Shadows Amidst Economic Crisis

By Carl Umegboro
THE upper legislative chamber of the National Assembly has continuously and conscientiously been exhibiting clumsy and discomfited dramas in the midst of economic challenges adversely affecting the exploited class in the society to the extent that many that never begged in life have been forcefully bowed by pressures as beggars. The Senate, by the 1999 Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as amended, is replicated after the American’s arrangement to sumptuously exist side by side the Federal House of Representatives as a bicameral legislature. 
The overall idea is to facilitate quality legislation for the welfare of the citizenry particularly the common-man, incidentally, the object since the adoption of the system has continued to be flawed and defeated. Sadly, the huge allocations in yearly national budgets to the legislative arm have continued to mercilessly drain the economy at ease just for marking attendances for majorly two things; say ‘yeah’ and ‘nay’.
Following the unstinted allowances allocated to these lawmakers of a great number, ridiculously, by themselves, the quest to occupy these positions has remained subjected to do-or-die affairs. The legislative chambers should irrefutably be for serious businesses and this can only be actualized when proficient and skilled persons occupy the seats against phalanges with egoistic and clandestine tendencies.
The concentration  of the Senate for weeks merely on the attire of the Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service (NCS), Colonel Hameed Ali (rtd) despite the over-bloated  allowances allocated to themselves for gathering to do the job they earn salaries on, indeed leaves much to be desired. Nigerians expect to see profound bills passed by the National Assembly to aid the service-delivery of the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari for speedy meaningful impacts on the common-man on the streets.
Even when crude oil prices which Nigeria solely majored on for revenue crashed beyond the benchmark, the lawmakers were hectically padding and maneuvering the budget at the detriment of the common-man they supposedly represent. The question begging for answers to these distinguished senators and honourable members at the lower chamber are; of what value is wearing a uniform by a retired Colonel that is on mere political appointment to head the Nigerian Customs Service for set objectives, is to the nation at these trying moments? Who will pay for the sitting allowances for these wasted hours on Customs CG not appearing in Custom’s uniform believably to make mockery of a Comptroller-General on uniform with no rank? How many people-oriented bills have been enacted since the convocation of this 8th Republic? There are so many other questions.
As believed in many quarters that the uniform drama is a script designedly sponsored by some aggrieved senior officials in the Nigerian Customs Service who felt shortchanged over the appointment of an outsider to head the agency against their turn in conjunction with the alleged imported-cars saga linking some principal officers of the Senate, such cannot out-rightly be overruled on account of enormous energies devoted to the aimless supremacy fight. Without a doubt, the corruption which has been triumphing in the Nigerian Customs Service for many years makes it expedient for some drastic actions of such nature to be taken. It is no politics to state that state of emergency is long overdue in the agency.
On the other hand, the mood of the nation ought to give more serious concerns to the lawmakers instead of pursuing these self-indulgent and politically-motivated goals. By now, one expects that luxurious cars imported and used in the country by the affluent class ought to have been subjected to special tax regimes as done in America and other developed and developing nations. One also expects that by now, a bill would be in progress towards scrapping any of the two legislative arms to make it more efficient; the Senate or the House of the Representatives. One equally expects that by now, a bill that would prohibit government officials from enrolling their children and wards in schools abroad ought to be passed so that schools in the country will be subjected to genuine state of emergencies.
Ditto in the health sector, which would proscribe all government officials; elected and appointed from embarking on medical treatments abroad except on exceptional cases. Above all, one expects that out of susceptibility and necessity vis-à-vis the economic situation in the country that the remunerations of those in the public sector particularly the jumbo allowances payable to the senators and members of the House of Representatives ought to have been reviewed to ensemble the present wobbly economy.
Admittedly, by the ambiguous oversight functions vested in the National Assembly by the Nigerian Constitution, it could drift into such a fight as cheap as wearing of an agency’s uniform under the cloak of patriotism. However, by the provisions of the Customs & Excise Management Act (CEMA) 2011 as amended, such issue bothering on the compulsory appearing of its administrative head on official uniform is alien, hence baseless and no-go area for the Senate to endlessly pursue except its rule of law is dependent on wishful thinking.
Democracy is characteristically a government based on laid down rules. In other words, while the oversight functions could allow the red chamber to issue directives extravagantly to all MDAs (ministries, departments and agencies), the respective enabling Acts like CEMA which specifically guides and determines the management and operations of the agency will reduce such directives and threats to ultra vires, thus, null and void. Overall, the legislative arm must qualitatively be up and doing with know-how on its core responsibilities instead of contentedly prioritizing politics and its gimmicks at the expense of the people.

Umegboro is a public affairs analyst and publisher (07057101974 sms only)

No comments:

Post a Comment