The second Vice President of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), Monday Ubani, has stated that the current crop of Nigerian senators have rendered that legislative body useless, justifying calls for the abolition of the red chamber.
The lawyer made the point in an interview today with Saharareporters.
While acknowledging that the legislature is paramount in any democratic society, he said that Nigerian senators had not lived up to the expectation, adding that they show no respect for the Nigerians they were elected to represent.
“We have discovered over time that the Senate has not been people-friendly,” said the lawyer. According to him, senators had not fulfilled the mandate given to them by Nigerians. He added that many senators frequently work against the interest of Nigerians to the level of impunity. He said Nigerians now think, “Why must we keep [the Senate] and at what cost?”
He regretted that Nigeria spends a huge amount as allowances to the senators, yet the senators’ output hardly justifies the yearly investment in them. “It is becoming unbearable, and so Nigerians are saying must we continue with this. That is the reason Nigerians are taking a second look at the issue of Senate, second chamber, and saying it is not necessary,” Mr. Ubani said.
He added, “I won’t say [the Senate] is not necessary. It is necessary, but what is their input? Have they justified the amount of money we are spending on them? What are the laws they are making in the interest of the people? What are the policies they are laying down in the interest of the people? They are necessary, but the people there have not made it look useful to us.”
He said that, considering the cost to maintain the Senate and the low output by senators, “we can do away with them and get ourselves contented with one chamber.” He added that many Nigerian senators continue to act with impunity, and disregard the plight of the people. “They have not justified the reason they are there. They have not justified how much we are putting in, in terms of taking care of them,” he said.
Mr. Ubani also weighed in on restructuring and the separatist agitation by the Indigenous People Of Biafra (IPOB), arguing that there was a need to economically restructure the national wealth. He said the leader of IPOB, Nnamdi Kanu, had done well by bringing the perceived injustice against the southeastern part of the country to the fore but added that he disagreed with Mr. Kanu’s strategies.
Mr. Ubani said Nigeria better run before military regimes introduced the unitary system of government in the country, adding that there was efficiency and high level of competition between the regions.
“From 1966 that Nigeria began this type of government, she has not made much progress. We won’t move anywhere. If we continue running Nigeria on this structure, we cannot make any progress. Let’s devolve more power to the federating units. Allow them to control certain things,” he said.
The Lagos-based lawyer blamed Mr. Kanu for being “the architect of the things that are happening, the fallouts. Yes, he is arguing for the manifest injustice in the system …but the language and the manner is what I condemn, then the lack of strategy. I don’t like a situation when somebody makes a pronouncement…you starting showing the flag of Biafra; you start printing the money of Biafra and start printing the passport of Biafra when you have not gotten that sovereign state. That is clearly against the sovereignty of a nation. You’re walking against the law of the country.”
He warned that the actions of the IPOB leader in challenging the sovereignty of the Nigerian state could lead to war, adding that nobody wanted war in the country.