Selfish Senators versus Prostrate President

In anger, the Nigerian Senate has decided to go on strike. No more consideration of any bill before it. No more sitting. The PDP senators are threatening to quit the party, team up with the opposition APC and then initiate impeachment proceedings against the Nigerian president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

Overnight, the “distinguished” lawmakers grew teeth and found their voice in a nation that is at the verge of collapse. What could have happened?

It was the beginning of PDP ward congresses on Nov. 1 across the nation. Typical of the ruling party, state governors determined who got “elected” as a delegate. All the lawmakers now crying foul benefitted from a similar scam in previous dispensations. Now they are threatened by their governors most of whom want to replace the senators with themselves and their cronies – as a retirement benefit, of course!

On Nov. 1, the PDP senators and House of Reps members read the handwriting clearly on the wall: they would not get automatic tickets. They would not get the party’s tickets again like the president and first-term governors. Governorship aspirants received a similar message – the incumbent governors will pick their successors.

Selfishness has been speaking through the embattled lawmakers. Suddenly, they are considering impeaching the president. Bills that had been lying in the chambers – not attended to – for three years or longer had been mentioned a few times before they disappeared into electioneering for 2015 last week. Now they would be abandoned altogether until President Jonathan and the party’s leadership assured them they would get their jobs back in 2015.

The matter will never be resolved in favour of the PDP senators. The president, who is re-contesting in 2015 against the advice of well-meaning Nigerians, cannot dump state governors. Most of the lawmakers have no electoral value anyway.
By the time the House reconvenes in December, the campaigns would have gone far. Whether the PDP senators and more House members defect, like Speaker Aminu Tambuwal, to the APC or not, they will never succeed in impeaching the president for their selfish reasons. All they can do is make him lame-duck – the government is already prostrate. And they will have no influence in the general polls because they won’t be free, fair or credible as usual.

The stalled bills (like the Petroleum industry Bill and the 2015 budget) may still wait for the 8th Senate. Nigeria is used to lawlessness: the lawmakers themselves have been the greatest lawbreakers. They have been consuming the nation’s scarce resources for doing no work.

Any attempt to remove the president will be resisted. Thugs may be mobilised to chase the recalcitrant losers out of the chambers.

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