By Nelson Ekujumi
A key indispensable ingredient required for any enterprise to be successful, credible and long lasting is discipline. Discipline is a key building block without which any structure will collapse and unfortunately, this has been the bane of our national life since time immemorial. However, this national malaise must not be allowed to continue unchallenged, it must be condemned wherever and whenever it rears its ugly head like we are witnessing now.
Since the controversial inauguration of the 8th National assembly in which Senator Bukola Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara controversially emerged as senate president and speaker of house of representatives respectively in defiance of their party’s choice in circumstances that can best be described as acts of indiscipline and disregard for party rules, things have never been the same again for both legislative houses, whose leaderships have thrown discipline, decency, respect and loyalty to the dogs.
Just like millions of Nigerians who are dumfounded and watching in disgust at how our legislators who are supposed to exhibit the greatest character of discipline, responsibility, loyalty and respect for constituted authority symbolized by Change that they voted for, in contrast to the preceding era of lawlessness, criminality and impunity, this writer inclusive, has been utterly disappointed, but not surprised.
However, one indisputable fact about our political system is that we are operating a multi party democracy in which persons can only aspire to public office by submitting themselves to the rules and regulations of the party which is the principal and is the only entity allowed by law to field a candidate for election. In a party democracy, the party is the principal of any politician and it smacks of indiscipline for any politician to disobey his principal’s decision or rules on an issue. In as much, as a politician has a right to disagree with the decision of his principal, the party, but once it’s collectively agreed on, it’s binding and must be respected, alternatively, the only available option is for such a politician to seek his sojourn elsewhere.
Notwithstanding the opposite and supportive opinion of some people for this acts of gross indiscipline, disloyalty and disrespect for party’s supremacy and decision by the duo of Dr Bukola Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara, the groundswell of opinion monitored via the media and public discourse so far, reveals that the electorate who withstood the rigours of the economic, political and social dislocations to effect the desired Change from the previous shameful political order at the polls, are fast coming to terms with the reality of the image of the average Nigerian politician as an insincere, dishonest, untrustworthy, unpatriotic, selfish, irresponsible, personal interest driven being and this I must confess, portends grave danger for our democracy and society.
If Senator Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara can be so disdainful of the feelings of the people for responsible and disciplined political practice by disobeying their party position, through whose vehicle, they got into public office today, what stops them from jettisoning public interest which is the purpose of their being in the national assembly for personal interest? If by tomorrow, these duo lead the national assembly to pursue interest inimical to the good of the Nigerian people, who do we hold responsible to call its members to order, if not their party? Well, like they say, time will surely tell.
Therefore, the latest and adding salt upon injury disregard for the party’s choice of principal officers of the senate by Dr. Bukola Saraki which was unfolded some days ago, like in their tradition, is expected to be replicated by the Honourable Dogara led leadership in the house of representatives when they reconvene, but the truth of the matter is that, the people are already developing thick skin by the realization that our national assembly is a congregation of selfish and dishonourable people led by a leadership whose ethos is at variance with the values of the Nigerian people of honesty, humility, respect for law and order, dignity, selflessness, etc.
Unfortunately, Dr. Bukola Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara condemnable acts of indiscipline has further strengthened the arguments of advocates of those calling for the scrapping of one arm of the national assembly like happened in Senegal recently to save cost because it is viewed as corrupt, idle and wasteful without commensurate productivity to national development, if we all recall that the 7th national assembly led by David Mark and Aminu Tambuwal failed to fulfill the mandatory constitutional requirements for house sittings and were only able to pass 108 bills in four years. The irresponsibility and trivialization of legislative business by the 7th legislature was capped by its history making, now in Guinness book of record passage of 46 bills within 10 minutes, which is reprehensible, condemnable and legislative rascality.
As these unhealthy developments unfold in our legislature, it is important to admonish Senator Bukola Saraki and Honourable Yakubu Dogara to make a u turn from this character of indiscipline, irresponsiveness, irresponsibility and self interest which has the potential to imperil our democracy and society by further alienating the legislature from the people.