THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES’ EMERGENCY SESSION PROVIDED NO CLEANSING FOR A HOUSE THAT SWIMS IN ITS OWN VORMIT
The much advertised House of Representatives’ emergency session, held this morning in Abuja held out much hope for Nigerians, who believed that the House would use the opportunity the emergency session availed it to deprecate on the misdemeanours of its leading officers, renounce the culture of settlement and patronage that pervade the House and provide a clear pathway for the moral rearmament of our nation, but unfortunately it delivered too little to assuage many Nigerians who sat glued to their television sets across the length and breadth of our country. The emergency session was long on sound bites and self-congratulatory chest-thumps and, sadly, short on action.
The Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) has always argued that the present leadership of the House lacks the moral fibre to lead the House and this lack was patently glaring in the way the session was steered to hold the Representatives out as the ‘good guys’ whilst they swam in their vomits. As the leader of the House, the Speaker should have apologised to Nigerians for the criminal misdemeanours of those he appointed but who have been disgraced for corruption. The Speaker should have owned up to his monumental error of judgement for appointing Lilliputians who weren’t fit for purpose into positions of considerable importance. He didn’t apologise.
The Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) does not consider the removal of Farouk Lawan as Chair of the Ad hoc Committee on the Management of the Oil Subsidy as appropriate, nor does it accept his suspension as Chair of the Education Committee of the House as proportionate to the embarrassment he caused his colleagues and Nigerians. The offence that Farouk Lawan is alleged to have committed is grave. And we call on the Speaker to effect the removal of Farouk Lawan as Chair of the Education Committee of the House immediately. The practice of allowing members who have criminal charges against them to remain in their exalted Committees’ positions within the House is one we must as Nigerians deprecate and resist. No single individual, no matter his/her station and talent is bigger than our public institutions, or institutions that guarantee our democratic expressions and freedom. And in this wise, we call on the Speaker to without delay ensure that Ndidi Elumelu is removed as Chair of one the standing committees of the House.
Public Interest Lawyers League (PILL) notes the urgency with which the House has responded to the shame some of its principal officers have drawn to it, and we applaud it for that; and we urge the President, Dr Goodluck Jonathan to take a page out of the book of the House and do the proper thing, to wit:
1. Arrest all oil marketers indicted by the Report of the House and institute a thorough process that ensures that justice prevails;
2. Make public his declaration of assets as a minimum for the re-invigoration of the long abandoned fight against corruption;
3. Enunciate a clear anti-corruption policy blueprint to which his presidency can be accountable to;
4. Sack ministers that have so far been publicly indicted for corruption.
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