by Stanley Azuakola
Nigerian lawmakers are doing their best not to make a big issue out of former president Olusegun Obasanjo’s remarks on Tuesday in which he said that there were “rogues and robbers” in the National and State assemblies.
The responses so far have been very restrained, apart from a particularly harsh one from the deputy minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Suleiman Kawu Sumaila (ANPP, Kano).
Hon. Sumaila had sought to raise the issue for discussion but was brushed aside by the Speaker of the House, Hon Aminu Tambuwal, who referred the issue to the House Ethics and Privileges Committee.
Before he was overruled by the speaker, Hon. Sumaila had fired a salvo at the ex-president saying: “I am not an armed robber neither am I a rogue. His greatest grouse against us is that we refused him third term in office and since then we have become his enemies. But Obasanjo does not have credibility in Nigeria. Remember he was dragged to court by his own son accusing him of sleeping with his wife.”
In the Senate, however, no mention was made of Obasanjo’s comments during the plenary session. The Senate spokesman, Eyinnaya Abaribe however addressed it during a later press briefing calling on the ex-president to help them mention names.
“We actually feel that the former president would help the National Assembly and indeed also help Nigeria in the new spirit of transparency and openness by assisting the National Assembly by naming those that he knows in the national assembly as either rogues or criminals. That would help us to be able to sanitize the polity and we sincerely thank him for his role in Nigeria as someone who cares very deeply about the Nigerian state and how it is at the moment.”
It would be recalled that the ex-president had criticised the legislature during a presentation at a conference in Lagos. “Today, rogues, armed robbers are in the state houses of assembly and the national assembly. What sort of laws will they make?” Obasanjo said.