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Nasarawa House of Assembly… Shame!



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NIGERIAN politicians are becoming like medieval warring kings, and, like cats in the wild, they settle prehensile political feuds with chops, karate, kicks, kung-fu boxing, clenched fists and, to up the ante, any available object that will inflict maximum damage to their opponents. There is nowhere our democratic experimentation is being pauperized, shamed, demonized and dragged into psychic disrepute more than the ornate chambers of our national and state assemblies (such as was witnessed days ago in Nasarawa State), where we now periodically watch the shameful substitution of legal articulation for the mean fury of cat fights and bloody boxing matches. Are we saddled with a new species of genetically programmed bullies fatally ordained to be at one another’s throat in a war turf of selfish grandstand?

What is at stake in all these boxing matches among our politicians is the receding loss of honour and respect for Nigeria both at home and abroad. Each shameful act of pugilism inside our national or state assembly greatly retards our anxious momentum to reclaim our loss of greatness to corruption, mayhem and fraud. The much ballyhooed image of Nigeria as a giant of Africa is being blunted and worsened through a thoughtless descent into political anarchy, hooliganism, lawlessness and complete disregard for law and order, especially by supposed lawmakers and inside the very epicentre of the otherwise hallowed law-making chambers.

At a time when this nation thought that the vile menace of boxing matches among politicians has become a cliché of bygone era, the Nasarawa State House of Assembly recently erupted into unexpected loutish behaviour, anarchy, hooliganism and lawlessness. By the time the dust settled, Nigeria re-entered that darkening shadow of democratic immaturity. The political violence of the Nasarawa lawmakers destroyed all our pretence to the canons of decency, taste, courtesy, self-control, respectability and human dignity.

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Such an obscure orgy of political vulgarity, baseness and ignorance only goes to reaffirm the general opinion that we need to conduct psychiatric tests or eugenics for majority of our politicians in order to detect those who are prone to violence and uncivilized behaviour and shut the door against them.

According to reliable sources, what triggered this insidious tug of political hostility was the move by the Nasarawa State Governor, Umaru Tanko Al-Makura to appoint sole administrators for the eleven local councils in the State. With horrified incredulity, Abubakar Kana, Kassim Kassim, Mohammed Okpoku, Makpa Malla, Musa Ali and Murtala Sodangi, all legislators of the All Progressives Congress (AP), opposed the proposed plan of the Governor. A motion was later raised for their suspension by the House Majority Leader, Tango Tunga, supported by the Minority Leader, Mohammed Alkali and other fourteen lawmakers present.

It was then alleged that fracas ensued as a direct result of the move by the Speaker of the House to suspend them. This paper warns that, too often, our democracy has been dancing to the tune of the jungle and we need to consign this chapter of our cultural shame to the dustbin. We need to embrace a more creative way to settle our political differences and respect both our national and State Assemblies as sacred theatres where laws are made by lawmakers for the progress, prosperity and unity of the nation and not a fighting arena for politicians. More than ever before, this troubling pattern of pit bull mentality to governance has to be sanctioned and politicians with violent tendencies should be arrested, shamed and prosecuted.

Our lawmakers should strive to be seen as paragons of self-control, amiability, peace, role models, who are accommodating, respectful, tolerant and law-abiding patriots and the repository of high moral standards. It is not part of their mandate to underwrite anarchy, lawlessness, violence, intolerance, hooliganism and gangsterism at a time when the nation is grappling with a meltdown of its core values. It has come to be the norm that the tools of political boxing contests are nothing but a selfish ambition for position and money.

The six lawmakers fingered in the trench may have been suspended indefinitely for “misconduct and for bringing the House to disrepute” but we dare say that this sanction does not go far enough. To continue to condone this political outrage is to reduce our democracy to the narrow stricture of lawlessness, fraud and jungle fiesta issuing forth in a complete alienation from global democratic best practices.m

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