The Nigeria senate is impotent. So impotent that it engages in theatrical probes to conceal the absence of a legislative manhood.
I have followed the senate closely. In fact, I covered that arm of the National Assembly years ago. So, I can say with a verisimilitude of certainty that I have copious knowledge of the institution.
The senate has become a reactionary cry-baby. Its only approach to issues of volcanic magnitude is conducting ineffectual probes. Probe this, probe that. I have become weary of the countless insipid probes.
The nucleic problem is that the probes are not usually followed with pristine actions. Perhaps, the senate uses them as a spectre of distraction or as a means of “toasting” Nigerians – “we are on top of the situation” – while its members gormandize the coveted national cake. I am sure every Nigerian knows the meaning of this abused and trite clause – “we are on top of the situation”.
On Tuesday, the upper legislative chamber embarked on a futile exercise of braggadocio – to probe the circumstances of how Abdulrasheed Maina, alleged pension thief, who was on exile in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), breezed into the country; how he was reinstated into the civil service, and how he was promoted to director at the ministry of interior.
Despite, the wise counsel of Senator Tayo Alasodura that “we (senate) should not always duplicate the executive; if the executive has ordered an investigation we should not order another one”, the chest-thumping senate still resolved to ask its committees on interior and anti-corruption, public service and establishment to investigate the matter.
And I ask, to what end?
It is clear that the senate’s answer to every problem is probe – often without result. The upper legislative chamber also appears to savour duplicating the executive. Let me explain.
A few days ago when Ibe Kachiwku’s jarring missive of allegations against Maikanti Baru, NNPC GMD, ticked off a public outcry, the presidency ordered an immediate investigation of the claims. The senate, perhaps, not to be outdone, also asked its committee on petroleum to investigate the allegations. And I ask again, to what end? What has come out of all previous probes on education and power?
Why is the senate in a frantic chase of a will-o-the-wisp? I remember in March when the upper legislative chamber took its battle with the executive to Hameed Ali, comptroller-general of the Nigeria Customs Service, the institution huffed and puffed like a wounded dragon, but to date there is no splinter of result from its investigation of the customs chief.
For the senate to be taken seriously, it must make resolutions from its investigations actionable. It must put gravitas to its functions. If it must probe, it should be ready to tell Nigerians the result and effect of the action.
It makes no sense the time and money spent investigating an issue, only for the findings to be tucked away in a webby shelf. Maybe, the senate is using “probes” to play to the gallery and to cloak its lazy schedule.
The upper legislative chamber must put oomph and gravitas to its probes.
Follow Fredrick on Twitter @FredrickNwabufo.