Editors’ note: The writer, Buchi Obichie, calls out the All Progressives Congress (APC) for endorsing and enabling the election of Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as deputy Senate president, despite his past antics in the red chamber!
Every sane person knows that one never rewards bad behavior with sweet treats.
When we were younger, my mum would draw out her cane to flog any child who was unruly or performed well below expectations in home and school chores. At school, it was no different; our teachers were expected to discipline us even as they imparted knowledge.
And even now that I’m older, my boss will certainly not allow unprofessional behavior in the workplace go without a strong rebuke.
It’s just common practice that good behavior is rewarded while bad behavior is punished. But I guess that standard of reward and punishment is not quite adhered to, in Nigerian politics.
On Tuesday, January 11, principal officers of the 9th National Assembly were elected; and amongst the new leaders of the Assembly, was one individual with a less than sterling record.
Senator Ovie Omo-Agege (APC – Delta Central) was elected as the deputy president of the Senate; to assist Senator Ahmad Lawan who emerged as Senate president.
Omo-Agege, resplendent in his native attire was only too pleased when the final tally was announced; but underneath his exuberant demeanor lay something unsettling…a previous action unbecoming of a senator of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Our new deputy Senate president is the same individual who allegedly led thugs into the red chamber in 2018…thugs who would go on to steal the mace, assault Assembly staff and even attempt to kidnap a senator.
So, how could this same man be elected to such an important post?
I was beyond perplexed when the APC formally endorsed Omo-Agege’s bid for the deputy Senate presidency, just one day before the election. I was even more flabbergasted when reports indicated that the endorsement was sequel to consultations with President Muhammadu Buhari – a purported saint and epitome of integrity!
The ruling party, continuing in its tradition of turning a blind eye to offences committed by those within its ranks while seeking to remove the logs from the eyes of others, has once again shown its true colors.
The party has proven true, the words of its national chairman, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, who announced at a presidential rally in Benin, before the 2019 elections, that once a person moves to the APC, their sins are forgiven!
And so, it has allowed a man who desecrated the hallowed halls of the National Assembly by encouraging foreign elements to illegally remove the symbol of authority - the mace - to become deputy Senate president.
The APC endorsed and paved way for the emergence of a deputy Senate president who has shown to the entire country, that he has no regard for the institution to which he swore an oath.
And now, this party expects that this same man would somehow be an upholder of the sanctity of the legislature?
The APC passed up an opportunity to redeem its image – even if to a small extent. It passed up an opportunity to show that it can be a party which reveres and has regard for the various arms of government.
But alas, what else did we expect? I mean, the APC never misses an opportunity to miss an opportunity! And by its actions, it has once again indicated that bad behavior can (and will) be condoned - and even rewarded - as long as the offender is from within its own ranks!
What a legacy to leave!
The APC would have us believe that amongst the 109 senators elected into the 9th Assembly, there was none with the legislative experience and know-how to assume the Senate’s number two position. It would have us believe that after Lawan, the only other person it found worthy was one who had acted like a tout to prove a point!
I do realize that the party must have taken the decision as reward for the Delta lawmaker leading the charge of opposition to attempts to amend the electoral law and change the sequence of elections. If you recall, that’s what got him suspended for 180 legislative days in the first place.
Omo-Agege, at the time, had stated that the proposed change was targeted at President Muhammadu Buhari…a comment that angered his colleagues.
But is the APC implying that there weren’t other loyal party men who were untainted by the muddy waters of gross legislative misconduct’?
Well, as we proceed on this new political journey, I can only imagine the inevitable shenanigans of the 9th Senate, with a man like Omo-Agege as deputy Senate president. A man who lost the respect of many Nigerians is now one-half of the face of the Senate!
This same man would hold the gavel and preside over plenary when Lawan is away. This same man, who showed little regard for his colleagues, will be expected to lead them, as they make laws for the betterment of this country.
I’m shaking my head...
A man cannot give what he doesn’t have. Omo-Agege will only give us what he has…and we have seen what he has…so, I dare say we can’t expect different!
As Senator Ahmed Lawan gave his remarks after he was elected as Senate president, he expressed hope that the future of the Senate “can yet be written in gold.” But I think not…
At best, we can only expect more of the same – unprofessionalism, rascality, gross crassness, lack of decorum and a total disregard and disrespect for institutions.
The APC has given us Omo-Agege for a deputy Senate president…a man who acted like an “agbero” is now in an exalted position…we are in trouble!
This opinion piece was written by Buchi Obichie.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent the editorial policy of Legit.ng.
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