Dear Sin-ator, you are losing us

Dear Sin-ator, you are losing us

Dear Sin-ator,

I hope this mail meets you well. I am fairly certain it has for you have a way of always being well or acting so in the midst of troubles and suffering by the rest of the Nigerian people.

I considered sending this mail to the Senate as a body or better still, directly to the Senate President with the hope that he may make out copies to all of you sin-ators. Oops, did I write sin-ators? Forgive me please; I have been having problems with the auto-correct setting of my writing device. I advise that wherever you see the word, ‘sin-ator’, you should just read it (in your mind) as senator. Let’s not go into that hyperbolic epithet of ‘distinguished’ you and your colleagues humour yourselves with. Let me go straight to my point my dear sin, okay, senator.

I was just wondering, not just for myself but for so many Nigerians I have spoken with or read and heard from whether you and your colleagues are part of the change we have so much been told about. Or should we look for another set of change agents to come? There is no doubt that even we the citizens also need to be the change we want to see. In fact, a few weeks ago, I made that point on this platform.

Just so that you don’t ‘form’ (of course you know that to mean ‘pretend’, to use a Nigerian street lingo), let me take you back to when you and your colleagues were inaugurated into the Senate last June. Soon after your inauguration, you all went away for more than one whole month. You came back in July and after what is now a common feature in your chambers (selfish fight over control of the political soup pot) for a few days, you again went on your ‘annual leave’ until September.

Tell me, or better still, search your conscience and answer ‘who ever goes on annual leave a few weeks after assuming duties?’ When you did that, some of us believed you were a callous bunch, reaping holidays where you did not sow work. In fact, workers ought to work for a month to earn their two or three days of leave for that month but not you, the privileged class. You fix your break or holiday as you feel and still collect your salaries and allowances for being on such breaks. We the citizens felt so short-changed that some of us suggested we should adopt a ‘no-work-no-pay’ policy for you.

As if those acts of truancy were not vexatious enough, you and your colleagues even shut down your work sometimes to accompany your Senate President to the Code of Conduct Tribunal whenever he is docked on allegations of criminal conduct. Tell me; is your work schedule so light and unimportant that more than 80 of you will go cram inside a courtroom, in solidarity with an accused person? If we kept you at our article shop to ‘sell market’, is that how you would abandon our wares and go to watch a magician or snake charmer perform in the market square?

Some of us find it hard to believe that this same Senate whose members complained about the delay by President Muhammadu Buhari to submit the list of proposed ministers wold have the luxury to take a day off, in the middle of the confirmation to go watch a tribunal proceeding. But there we had it this past week. Apparently urgency is a hard to find word in your proceedings, unless when such urgency is about you. You and your colleague are seen as selfish.

And talking about the self-centredness and self-preservation of you sin-ators, what was that drama we saw last Tuesday during the confirmation of Khadijah Abba Ibrahim? I and many others think that in the spirit of declaration of conflict of interest, the least the Senate ought to do was to ask her husband, Senator Abba Ibrahim, to excuse himself from that process, but not your senate. You robbed it in our faces that this was a family affair. It was shocking to see the Senate President call on the husband of the nominee, of all the senators in the chambers that day, to ask her the sole question of the day.

The question itself turned out to be a further insult to our sensibilities, asking the nominee if she would prefer to just take a bow and go. This came on a day the Senate spokesperson, Dino Melaye told the world that having listened to the complaint of citizens in the previous week, the Senate was going to be more thorough with the screening. But the entire drama left us looking like an abused citizenry. I was almost tempted to use an Obasanjo-speak to say ‘thorough my foot’. But I am careful not to be so rude so you don’t respond with Jonathan-speak of ‘I don’t give a damn’.

But trust me, if you and your colleagues continue with this kind of attitude to work, you would soon lose us and our goodwill, assuming some citizens ever saw you as representing them.

First published in The Niche newspaper (October 25, 2015)

Written by
Obo Effanga
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