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Thursday, November 3, 2016

A must read: A NATION IN RETROGRESSION? By Toyyib Musa Olaniyi

By Toyyib Musa Olaniyi

It is befuddling how a whole nation could get immersed in this sort of miasma. Wherever you look, what you see are signs of commotion , mediocrity, incompetence and lack of focus.

In this unnerving situation of national rot , none of the three arms of government is exempted. Though , the most notorious of them is the legislature. That particular arm seem to be in perpetual commotion. It is always in the news for the wrong reasons.

If the Senate is embroiled in scandal bordering on false assets declaration and forgery of  house rules, the House of Representative will be complementing the drama of the absurd with their own budget padding brouhaha.  The latest of this misrepresentation and loss of focus in the Senate is the decision to amend the Code of Conduct Tribunal Act ,  ostensibly to weaken the law and place it under its  authority.

The reason for this misadventure is not far-fetched. The President of the Senate , Dr. Bukola Saraki is fighting for his life at the  Code of Conduct Tribunal for alleged false and anticipatory assets declaration. An offence , which ordinarily in saner climes , would have necessitated the stepping down of Dr. Saraki from his exalted position. But Nigeria is so unfortunate that rather than the motley crowd in the Senate doing the right thing, they had opted to make themselves undistinguished by turning themselves to body guards of Dr. Saraki whenever he is billed to appear in the court.  What a shame!

Well, the recent attempt to amend this law is a new low for the Senate. There is clear separation of powers in presidentialism and the powers to make designated appointments subject to the ratification of the Senate are within the purview of the executive. Attempting to  usurp this power is a reflection of the ignorance pervading the red chamber. The funny aspect of it all is that , should the Senate  succeed in mutilating the CCT Act, Dr. Saraki will still not benefit from such indiscretion because , the amendment will not be retroactive.

Just as the legislature is battling its own demons , the hydra-headed monster of the judiciary bared its fangs. How can these stories of Judges' indiscretion, intemperance , malfeasance and collusion with the enemies of the people be true and we are still expecting any meaningful change in our country? The truth is that these things are mutually exclusive. You can not have a morally bankrupt political elites hobnobbing with compromised judiciary and still expect development in the society. It is simply impossible because, such a situation would have led to reversion to the state of nature where might is right and where life is nasty, short and brutish. No wonder jungle justice is the order of the day , since the supposed impartial arbiter has joined the chorus of stomach infrastructure.

The foregoing narrative will not be disheartening if, the executives that won the mandate to govern on the promise of change  has not also shown inexplicable signs of stress and cluelessness. That cluelessness is baffling anyway , because that appeared to be the hallmark of the sacked administration led by Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. At this point , one begins to wonder about the sort of relationship existing between the Nigerian state and mediocrity. Does it mean that Nigeria is a state of mediocrities?

If my question is unsettling , how do we rationalise the fact that President Buhari transmitted a letter to the Senate requesting her approval for  $ 29.9 bn without the necessary details. I'm sure that can only happen in a country called Nigeria.

To be sure, the Presidency of any nation symbolises its power , grandeur and sovereignty and as such only the best and nobody except  the best should work in that institution at all levels. I read the news that the ministries of Finance  , National Budget and Planning including the Debt Management Office are running helter skelter to provide the details of the President's letter and I shook my head.  Who did this to us? Such costly errors should not be allowed at that level of government. Allowing such indiscretions simply illustrate graphically the level of ignorance and incompetence at the highest level of governance in the country.

Sad as this situation might appear, there is light at the end of the tunnel if ,  only we can shed our docility and begin to take these leaders to task for their failings. And this must be complemented by individually  embodying the change we desire in the nation.

God bless Nigeria.

Toyyib Musa Olaniyi is a Psychologist, lecturer, public analyst and writer based in Ondo State, Nigeria.

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