“I recognize that the House has not always lived up to the High expectations of the Nigerian People”
This was the statement by the speaker of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila while addressing the house on the legal action to be taken against the Minister for Niger Delta Affairs, Hon. Godswill Akpabio over “his statement intended solely to (…) avoid accountability for the evident maladministration and malfeasance in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC)”
This is coming days after public hearings on the alleged misuse of N81Billion by the Niger Delta Development Commission – a public hearing that has seen the greatest acts of showmanship in recent Nigerian politics with standoff and dramatic maneuver –
The Minister during his testimony alleged that more than half of the contracts awarded by the ministry goes to the members of the National Assembly sparking up old wounds of Nigerians regarding the conduct of its legislators. The speaker had given the Minister 48 hours to produce the names of the “Legislators turned Contractors” in the “interest of himself and the country” but the Minister never responded. The speaker then sought out the service of the Clerk to “engage (…) legal counsel, and instruct them to initiate a criminal complaint of perjury against the Minister and explore the possibility of a civil defamation suit.
This has become if not the highest act of grand standing by the 9th National Assembly and only goes to show that time and again there seems to be no respect for the rule of law or the offices occupied by either legislators or appointees.
Speaking to a packed house on the 23rd of July 2020, the Speaker mentioned that “The House of Representatives is a public trust placed in [thier] care for the duration of [their] term in office. We must prove ourselves worthy of this public trust or risk the censure of history” but this statement begs many questions about Prof. Kemebradikumo Pondei, about Sadiya Umar Farouk, about Festus Keyamo and all the public hearings so far.
Public hearings are gradually becoming a complete waste of tax payer money and an utter disrespect to Nigerian institutions and its people. The 9th National Assembly needs to do much more or loose all sense and manner of respect, authority and reverence from the people it swore to represent.
Muhammad Gulani is a writer and public affairs analyst