By James Ogunjimi
When you venture into the political terrain, you’ll find that Nigeria never runs out of politically-idiotic ideas and for 2017 – although it’s still April – the calls to scrap the Nigerian Senate takes the prize for political idiocy of the year.
As with all journeys that end in unwanted destinations, this journey to destruction and annihilation of our forefathers’ struggles is being led by folks who allow emotions rather than wisdom to dictate their direction. These are people who act first then think later. The people who chant war songs and bail when it’s time to dance. They are the same people who lead others down a dark part and then begin to apologize as if apologies will remedy anything.
One of the most dangerous things to be ignorant of is history and those who call for a scrapping of the Nigerian Senate are ignorant of history.
If they understood history, they would know that every democracy has different bodies playing different roles with an aim to serve the people and checkmate each other’s excesses. Power is a dangerous thing to concentrate in the hands of one group or person, we know this because under the military, we saw and witnessed what unchecked power could do and where unchecked power can lead.
Those who want the Senate scrapped cite issues of the amount being spent to maintain the lifestyle of the Senators at the expense of the people. They cite cases of irresponsible acts. But since when has throwing the baby away with the bathwater ever been a solution? Since when has cutting the head off to cure headaches ever solved any headaches?
There is smart activism and dumb activism. There is constructive mounting of pressure and destructive activism. Smart activism would be calling for a cut in allowances. Smart activism would be calling for just one Senate instead of two. But dumb activism would be asking the Senate to be scrapped because of a few bad eggs.
After scrapping the Senate, what happens? What happens when the President loses it? What happens when he appoints criminals, make decrees, arrest who he wants, what happens then? Will these folks start a campaign to bring back the senate? Who will approve that? The President that has lost it?
It is easier to destroy than to build and those who seek to tear down the Senate because they do not like certain individuals will do well to remember this.
Nigeria is still battling with a civilian dictatorship being sold as democracy. It’s difficult enough following rules even with the Senate there. Scrapping the Senate will return us to the era of dictatorship where one man holds sway and his word is king.
Those who direct their ire towards the Senate will do well to pursue the political education of their community with the same commitment with which they are going after the senate. A politically conscious community will not elect representatives who will not represent them well.
We are on a journey and while there may be hitches, tearing down an institution that is there to checkmate excesses is not the solution. We will do well to remember this.