Opinion: Welcome to the synagogue of thieves

by Bayo Oluwasanmi

Agreed, the president is known for his crass incompetence, criminal negligence, and astonishing cluelessness. What about the assembly members who are supposed to represent the interest of their various constituencies?

Albert Camus yearned for a country that an honorable man could love and love justice too. Majority of Nigerians are convinced that Nigeria is not such a country.

There is a widespread disillusionment among Nigerians about Nigeria. These are times of dramatic conflict between the forces of good and evil.

All who are not lunatics are agreed about certain things: That it is better to be alive than dead. Better to be adequately fed than starved. Better to be free than a slave.

Selfish people desire those things only for themselves, their families, and their friends. They’re greedily content that others should suffer.

Fact is, we as a people have become so connected and intertwined that we cannot ensure our own prosperity except by insuring that for everyone else.

If you wish to be happy yourself, you must also work to see others happy.

There aren’t many issues in Nigeria today that incite and excite public outcry with untamed anger as the looting of our treasury by both the Senate and House of Representatives – the National Assembly.

The ravenous hunger for stealing on the part of the assembly members is demonic. The competition to out-steal the thief in a theater-cruelty style is unmatched.

Our common sense is outraged and our decency violated by the spiritually harmful influence of their chronic stealing syndrome (CSS).

It is unduly fastidious and punitively grinding to attempt to abbreviate the extent of their misappropriation and malfeasance. No one is sure how much has been stolen from the nation’s coffers.

Many, if not all of the brazen –faced thieves of the looting spree in a coordinated exodus escaped the dragnet of the impotent EFCC, the government anti-graft watch dog.

The National Assembly members have made us smug and content with stealing because people do what people see. They’ve made stealing fragrant and sweet.

Vanguard’s sarcastic editorial of May 12, 2011 titled “It is our Turn to Eat” aptly summarized the objective of the Abuja law makers.

Our politicians believe stealing is additional perk to their unjustified outrageous pay. Their jumbo pay and allowances are scandalous as well as criminal.

They’re paid for everything from the absurd to the ridiculous: Allowance for wardrobe, for furniture, for car, for sitting on committees, for sneezing, for absenteeism, for eating, for personal hygiene, for having sex with their spouse and concubines, for fighting same set of lovers, for talking on the phone, for lying, for bribery, and for corruption!

The governor of my state of Maryland in the US makes $150,000 per year while the police chief of Washington, District of Columbia is paid $250,000 per annum. The highest paid governor in the US is the California governor who is on $173, 987 per year.

As of 2010 US Senators and members of US House of Representatives make $174,000 per year.

Nigerian senators and reps make millions. No one is sure how much they’re paid. Their salaries and other illegal fringe benefits are monstrously humongous. They’re scared as hell to disclose it hence it is shrouded in diabolical secrecy!

Time and time again, the assembly members beat the broken drums of tantalizing, teasing, and mocking sound of promise and hope. Their meaningless and ineffective drum beatings have isolated and discredited them from those they feign to represent.

Their political pendulums oscillate between romantic illusions to blindness and cruelty. The attitudes of these intellectually and culturally sterile law makers will light the fire next time.

Their representation is often secured by fraud, bribery, and even murder. It’s no wonder they employ and deploy the powers of their office for selfish and mercenary ends.

Agreed, the president is known for his crass incompetence, criminal negligence, and astonishing cluelessness. What about the assembly members who are supposed to represent the interest of their various constituencies?

Of course, they too are handicapped. Majority of the assembly members loosely control criminals and ex-convicts. They have been neutered by greed, fraud, and corruption. They’re partners in crime.

Their insensitivity to the needs of the people who sent them to Abuja with their votes, makes the people’s faith grow dim and hope cease to illuminate the future.

Sometime ago, some legisla-thieves went overseas to lure, as it were, investors to Nigeria.

They forgot basic economic requirements of factors of production and factors of location of industry.

Who wants to invest in a country ruled by armed robbers, rapists, kidnappers? Who wants to invest in a country that boasts of 24/7 black out?

Who wants to invest in a country without road networks?  Who wants to invest in a country without treated water to drink? Where there is no safety and security? Where you have to bribe the high and the low?

Of what use are the legisla-thieves who claim to represent the people? The Lagos-Ibadan expressway was built over 34 years ago. No road in the world that I know of has taken as many lives like Lagos-Ibadan road.

Yet, the callous legisla-thieves are proud to represent the constituencies under which the road falls. The same goes for Benin-Ore road, Aba-Port Harcourt road, Maidiguri-Minna road. The list goes on.

With their incurable disease of CSS, the welfare of their constituencies takes the back burner. Their primary assignment in Abuja is to chop, steal, till they drop!

In order to curry corruption from the president, they have completely ceded their constitutional powers to him. The president is the chief legislator; he’s the chair tender’s board for contracts.

The president is the oil and gas minister, the agric commissioner, the aviation minister, the health minister, the voice of Nigeria, the funeral director, the telephone minster. In short, he’s the executive, legislature, and the judiciary.

Then one wonders, what the hell are the zombies in the national assembly doing? Where is the separation of powers? Where are the check and balances? The assembly voted additional N63 billion the president doesn’t need and didn’t ask for in the 2013 budget.

The passage of the budget was done pronto without scrutiny or pruning.

By now, with the killing feast perpetuated by the Boko Haramists, one would have expected the legisla-thieves to summon the president to intimate them what his plans are to liquidate the blood thirsty villains.

For once, can the legislative thieves apply some wisdom and just do something right for the people who elected them? In the words of Rodney King “Can we just get along?”

Now is the opportunity for them to right a historical wrong and leave a legacy of service, justice and fairness.

What is to be done?

The answer lies with Richard John Neuhaus:

“Truth spoke to power and power was deaf. Love appealed to power and power was heartless. Humility petitioned power and power was cruel. Reason argued with power and power was stupid. Now violent power must address violent power.”

No other choice!

Bayo Oluwasanmi writes in from Maryland, USA, and can be reached at [email protected]



Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

cool good eh love2 cute confused notgood numb disgusting fail