Wednesday 18 April 2018

"Omo-Agege's Suspension And The Need For Sanctity In The Red Chamber"

Diverse opinions have greeted news about the suspension of Senator representing Delta Central Senatorial district, Ovie Omo-Agege for 90 legislative days by the Nigerian Senate last Thursday.

The Senator, a member of the ruling APC, was reportedly suspended for championing the opposition to the National Assembly's elections reordering bill and the subsequent court case he instituted in court to avoid being punished. Who does that in a true democratic dispensation? 

Some of the opinions expressed over the suspension have been constructive, some objective while some are fit only as beer parlour discussion and opinions.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki, while taking his time to explain the decision of the Senate on the issue last Thursday, emphasized the need for Senators to respect and preserve the INTEGRITY of the Senate. 

It was quite obvious that Senator Omo-Agege was laying a very bad precedence in the Senate, through his latest actions especially as it bothers on the elections reordering bill and subsequent institution of a court case to evade attempt by the Senate to wield its big stick that has been used on erring members in the past. He was becoming a divisive element, which if not quickly nipped in the bud could lay a terrible foundation in the Senate and a reference point of rebellion, destabilization and division.

When an institution loses integrity in whatever it does, respect also diminishes and such institution becomes only a carcass, a paper tiger, with no power to take action when and where necessary. This is what the politically discerned believe the Senate was trying to avoid with the suspension of Omo-Agege. A good step in the right direction. 

More so, any house that rises against itself will not stand, it will fall like a pack of cards, the Bible was explicit on this.

From the actions of Omo-Agege and his gang, it is obvious that their opposition to the election reordering bill and the court case instituted by Omo-Agege himself are all orchestrated plan to curry the favour of the Presidency. Probably they are doing all to get party's ticket on a platter of gold or for a soft landing at the primary, who knows? Only them and time can tell. 

Meanwhile, the action and desperation of some Parliamentarians in search of favour from the Executive must not and should never be allowed to be the harbinger that would make the hallowed chamber lose its sanctity, respect and integrity. 

While we are not arguing that the National Assembly should always stand as an opposition to the Executive arm even when the Executive mean well, there is a need for checks and balances, the Nigerian political system has long grown beyond the era when the Senate used to be an appendage of the Executive and we cannot afford to go back to that era. It is dangerous for our present democracy and the future of our democracy. 

That is why many of us who do not belong to the same political party with the Senate President will always commend his patriotism at any given time. 

At several occasions, Saraki has genuinely displayed that loyalty to the country and the constitution shouldn't be sacrificed at the altar of loyalty to the party. Party may die tomorrow, but the country will always remain. 
Since Nigeria gained Independence in 1960, the country has had several political parties, with many dying naturally after some time, while the country remains. So political gladiators must always watch their actions and not allow personal interest override national interest that may plunder the nation into chaos. 

Party will go, the country remains. This should be the watchword for political office holders. 
Only if they put this on the tablet of their hearts as they take on public offices, the nation would be fairing better.

For any institution to thrive and achieve its set goals, there must be discipline and this is what the Senate displayed last Thursday with the suspension of Omo-Agege. There must be a high level of integrity on which respect can be commanded, which will on the long run save the institution from being a carcass.

The Senate has set a good standard for the future, it must be commended for its leniency in handling the matter by limiting the suspension to 90-days.

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