By Fredick Nwabufo
The senate marshalled by Ahmed Lawan has been convincing in corfirming the stereotypes and assumptions about the institution.
In july, I wrote about Lawan’s obsequiousness and desperation to please President Buhari whom e described as his “close friend”.
I say again, Lawan has been dutiful in his obligation of inking “rubber-stamps” on the senate. Soon after he became senate president, he assumed the role “of unofficial spokesperson” to Buhari and saddled himself with “interpreting maladies”.
And as a matter of fact, he has not relented in rising to the occasion as an interpreter of inefficiencies. Though he once vowed he would never be a “rubber-stamp’.
Hear Him, “During my campaign, i was called a potential rubber-stamp senate president to the executive: maybe because i am close to the president, or because i believe in his cause. There’s no time that i will ever be a rubber-stamp. Yes, i believe in president Buhari as a person.”
Really, Lawan has been effortless in maintaining the “label”.
Last week, the senate passed for second reading a bill to increase value-added-tax without a debate. some senators protested not knowing the content of the billng because they were not given copies of it: so they cannot debate what they don’t know.
Binos Yaroe, senate representing adamawa south, raised a point of order, calling the attention of Lawan to this embarrasment.
Yaroe said according to the senate’s rules, every senator was mean’t to have copies of the bill.
“our rules say that printed copies of the bill shall as soon as possible be sent to every senator,” he said.
“we are at the stage of the second reading of this bill. i don;t know for other’s but i have not received the bill. i don’t know how we can debate a bill that we have not received’. He added.
But Lawan Insisted that the vacuous debate would go on.
I wish the senate will apply the same dispatch on critical bills that will address poverty, the parlous education and infrastructure, and executive corruption.
How can the legislature perform it
s functions as an institution of check when its leadership is a consort of the executive?
I believe the legislature and the executive can work to gether in the interest of Nigerians but this does not imply succmbing to the sentences of each another. That would be a confytstion of the principle of seperation of powers.
As i see it, the Buhari administration is employing Lawan’s senate as a contrivance for legitimizing unpleasant policies. This senate as a bedfellow of the executive, is the greates danger to our democracy.
On October 29, lai Mohammed, ministe of information, said the gov. would regulate social media.
In his words, “I can assure you that we are also working on how to inject sanity in to the social media space which, today, is totally out of control”.
“No responsible gov. will sit by and allow hate speech and fake news to dominate its media space because of the capacity of this menace to exploit our national fault lines to set us against each other and trigger national conflagration.”Thats why we will continue to evolve ways to tackle fake news and hate speech until we banish both”.
A few days later, a bill seeking to regulate social media was reintroduced by the senate. The proposed legislature prescribes three years imprisonment as penalty for fake news .And afterwards, the senate reintroduced the rediculous hate-speech bill.
The hate-speech bill preescribes the death penalty for certain offenders, and it also proposes the establish of a commission to fight “hate speech” How ridiculous?
Clearly, there is an umbilical cord connecting the federal Gov. campaign against social media and these bills. But only a billing gov. will be afraid of citizens criticisms on social media or interpret civil actions as subversion. if the gov. was living up to expectations, it would not need to worry about social media space.