Polity:In Praise Of David Mark,By Issa Aremu

Aremu2013Another praise for the respected President of the Senate David Mark in this season of self praises would definitely be one praise too much. His 3000 word plus “self-examination” report-sheet at the end of the 2nd session of the 7th senate read out last week was largely an exercise in self praises for his 108 “bosses” plus one; himself. Some self-taunted achievements of the 2nd session of the 7th senate include the “Deployment of Troops to and the War with Boko Haram:Authorizing Proclamation of Emergency”. Good achievements are generally nothing but accomplishments of set-goals for oneself. Both the deployment of troops to (almost after the French had occupied northern !) and a proclamation of emergency in three states (after two of the states have witnessed year-long emergency blood-letting!) would be recorded by historians as the usual belated muddling through moves rather than some fallouts of an original legislative agenda by the Senate. How the Senate would parade these as self accomplishments beats imagination of assembly watchers.
The real achievements of the senate would be determined by the quality of legislative work on the proposed Petroleum Industry Bill and Pensions Reforms Act (Amendment) BiIl among other bills pending before it. An old proverb has it that “Self-praise is half slander”! Nothing be more slanderous than the claim of the Senate that it helped to mitigate the massive floods that took scores of lives of ordinary Nigerians, destroyed properties and farmlands last year. We are told that “…in the immediate aftermath of that tragedy, several distinguished Senators rushed home to affected communities to render humanitarian assistance, coordinate relief efforts and offer corporal works.” Pray the distinguished Senators did not distinguish themselves in offering constituency solidarity in the wake of constituency floods, who woud have done it? In any case why would some of the constituents presided over as governors by some of the current senators lack basics like drainage and then be vulnerable to floods? Mark was right on target to say that last year’s “…tragedy exposed the inadequacy of the nation’s emergency response capabilities”. But it is the Senate just as the House that has the responsibility through legislation and oversight functions to make sure the emergency agencies work with reward and sanction clauses for delivery and non-performance respectively. With knowledge most disasters are no more nature as much as they are man -inflicted. Once we are already foretold that rains would be in abundance, disasters are no more natural no less than they are man-made due to lack of prevention (good drainage), criminal negligence, diversion of resources for access roads and rapid response in case of inevitable flooding. The real is good governance . The senate shares a huge responsibilty in this direction.
My praise for the is therefore understandably not inspired from any of those controversial self praises. On the contrary, yours truly is genuinely motivated by David Mark’s singular commendable patriotic self-criticism of the political class of which he is a chieftain. is perhaps the only statesman still standing today who talks of patriotism and statesmanship at a time “…the collision of vaulting personal ambitions is over-heating the polity and distracting the onerous task of governance” (his well-articulated patriotic words).
According to David Mark:Elections are two clear years away….With so much work yet to be done, we as elected officials, should focus on governance and justify our mandates”. Linda Lingle observes that “Politicians all too often think about the next election. Statesmen think about the next generation”. Almost all political office holders today are now contestants even for the offices they currently occupy for which they have not delivered on earlier promises. Many thanks to David Mark for thinking of the next generation out of the box of the next election. absolutely agree with him that; “Overheating the polity is unnecessary, diversionary, divisive, destructive, unhelpful and unpatriotic.”
World-wide in a democracy, the political temperature naturally goes up as elections approach. To this extent the current political contestation is legitimate, democratic and welcome. However the contestation must be based on policy issues from which the electorate must choose. The bane of the current war of attritions is that issues and people are missing. So far the difference is not so clear beyond brinkmanship, criminalisation of dissents, internal party suspensions and even dangerous politicisation of the airspace (of course not the unmotorable roads the voters ply with tears). The ruling party the suffers this malaise great deal! With electricity supply in the in reverse gear, polio still a scourge, miserable education and unemployment numbers, varying perspectives of contestants in almost all parties are missing. On the contrary all the hitherto institutions of the state namely Nigeria Governors Forum, Northern Governors Forum are being turned asunder on the alter of politics of positions, positioning rather than politics of issues. Given the scandalous collapse of political elite group in which governors reportedly don’t pick each others’ phones again, David Mark’s exceptional stand for bigger picture of the survival of the nation is timely. “Those beating the drums of war should realize that no nation can survive two civil wars in one lifetime. These trends must stop, and we must all remember that the nation is greater than the sum total of its parts.” he rightly observed! David Mark’s intervention makes statesmanship again out of our increasingly partisan President and governors alike, just as the Senate’s timely intervention on the Central of Nigeria proposed 5,000 Naira notes in the past made a positive difference, Senate’ self praise may very well be deserved.
ISSA AREMU ([email protected])

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