by Ebuka Nwankwo
Some hours ago, Senator Dino Melaye wrote that he would be the last person to leave Saraki. He reaffirmed his loyalty. It didn’t matter to Melaye that the kind of publicity Senator Bukola Saraki was getting was casting the Senate in a bad light. It didn’t matter to Melaye that the friction in the Senate was indirectly affecting the economy of Nigeria. All that mattered to Melaye was loyalty and politics.
This is what Senator Dino Melaye wrote on his Facebook page: “My brother and friend Sen. Bukola Saraki, if you have 1 trillion supporters, I’m one…..If you have one billion, I’m one; if you have one million, I’m one. If you have one thousand, I’m one; if you have ten, I’m one; if you have only one supporter, I’m one and if you have no single supporter, it means I’m dead. No shaking. Four years tooo sure.”
Before we go on, let me make two points clear. One, even if Senator Saraki, the Senate President, is finally convicted in the courts, it doesn’t take away the fact that this case was politically motivated, in the first place. Had he not gone against his party’s directive, some of you might not have heard of acronyms such as CCT and CCB. Two, Senator Melaye has the right to pursue any cause he believes in. The problem is that a good cause to the Senator might not necessarily be a good cause for the man in the street in his constituency, Kogi West.
I am sure that Senator Melaye knows that in other sane climes the kind of humiliation that Saraki was getting would have forced him to resign, on his honor. Obviously, Dino believes his principal should hang on and fight his enemies. It doesn’t matter to Dino that when two elephants fight it is the grass, the masses, that suffer.
The Tribunal judge, Danladi Umar, just announced that proceedings in Saraki’s trial would now go on a day-to- day basis. There is no doubt this will take a toll on Saraki’s time and psyche. Let’s assume for the purpose of argument that he might not necessarily have to always be in court. The truth is that psychologically if his body is not in court, his mind would be in court. And Senator Dino Melaye believes this has no effect on the economy of Nigeria.
The speed at which this honorable Senate used in taking the aborted Amendment of the CCT Act shows that they could move with the speed of light in some cases. But, the more technical acts and laws, which Nigeria needs, cannot be taken with such speed. They require concentration, tact, massive consultations and hard work. A good example is the PIB. Nigeria needs the PIB and other laws on infrastructure to get this country back on track. For Dino, it doesn’t matter if the Senate is distracted. Those laws, which Nigeria needs badly, can wait. If they can’t wait, they can be done shabbily.
Shabbily enacted laws are the biggest problems developing countries face. Investors might capitalize on loopholes within a poor country’s laws and milk the country. This might not matter to some of our Senators. To them, the enemies of the Senate, those fighting Saraki, have to be shown that the Senate is not a place you can control from outside. Probably from Bourdillon, Lagos.
There are other ways Saraki can fight his enemies. Take for example, you wake up one morning and hear that the Senate President has just resigned. And in his resignation speech, he mentions all the names of the people fighting him and tells Nigerians that he is stepping aside because of the interest of this country. He might go on to say that he won’t leave the party and that he would continue to fight his case and fight for democracy in Nigeria. This will raise his battered profile in Nigeria. But, he won’t want to do that.
Besides, if he steps down, his case might die a natural death. If it doesn’t, it could take nothing less than 5 years for such case to be determined. Why? The case will surely keep moving form High Court to Appeal Court to Supreme Court, and back. He will surely finish serving his term. This is the tragedy of Nigeria.
For Dino, the Panama scandal doesn’t mean anything. Though, no one can argue that it is Saraki’s enemies that hacked into the files to release those secret documents. Well, if it was only the Panama issue, Saraki would have been waxing strong. Never mind that top politicians in Europe have already started stepping down. Even a Pakistani politician just said he would step down if indicted. If you thought Pakistan was more corrupt than Nigeria, with this news, you might be wrong.
I am sure Dino Melaye might not feel any shame, in Nigeria, belonging to a Senate that is immersed in various scandals. After all, he is rich, and people worship money in Nigeria. In Nigeria, even if the rich man is talking rubbish, people still clap for him. I would like to know how the Senator feels when he travels abroad or when he holds meetings with Western diplomats. When I was a student in England, any bad news from Nigeria always made me feel bad. I had this British guy in my research office who always read these news and interrogated me about them.
People are beginning to say that the last Senate could be said to be a shining star when compared to the present Senate. Just when you thought they had taken Obasanjo’s warnings seriously, they still went ahead to buy some luxury vehicles. Some Senators argue that all top government functionaries drive SUVs, thus, they should be left alone. I am not sure I have heard Dino’s views on this.
On a final note, Senator Dino should remember that it is a rare privilege to be in the Senate. It is not a place for student unionism. He has been making a lot of ‘’kindergarten’’ arguments in the hallowed chambers. He should think about how Nigeria would see him 35 years from today.
His social media post that promoted this article sounds like what I hear touts telling politicians in the motor parks. I always hear the say, “Oga, I’m loyal; Forget mata, my loyalty is not in doubt. If anybody wan try we go break bottle’’.
Article written by Ebuka Nwankwo, originally published on TheCable…
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