Senate: My Head For Lawan, My Heart For Akume By Ali M Ali

This is the civil war in my person. My head tells me the best man for the Senate presidency in the 8th Assembly is Ahmed Lawan, the ‘youthful’ lawmaker from Yobe state. My heart tells me nay, the best man is George Akume, the ‘savvy’ legislator from Benue state.

The CV of Lawan   screams  ‘competence’. Check   him out. He is Ph.D. that bears stressing. He has spent 16 years in the legislature oscillating between the House of Representatives and the Senate. He split 8 years apiece. His work ethic is remarkable. Energetic and grounded, they don’t come any better.

A lawmaker with a doctorate   is a dream. In a paper qualification crazy nation like ours, a doctorate   degree bandying, office-seeking politician is more likely to score than the one without it. This may help explain, in part, the craze for ‘honorary’ doctorate degrees among the ‘thieving and ruling elite. They prefix their names with ‘Dr’ to dazzle and bamboozle naïve citizens unconcerned with the politics of resource allocation. Marketers of out going President, Goodluck Jonathan tried to leverage on his “Ph.D.”   to gain political mileage. For a while the trick worked until the bubble burst at crunch time.

The ‘crunch time’ was  Jonathan’s amazing capacity to lead from the rear. His doctorate, earned rightly, was the butt of acidic wisecracks. It was rechristened Port Harcourt   degree. Jonathan disproved the theory that deep education was sine qua non for outstanding leadership. A Ph.D.   is added advantage nonetheless. But then, it could also be a curse. In politics, often a times overt strength is a poisoned chalice. It is a chink in the armor of aspiration. It sometimes   earned avoidable foes. Some equals feel threaten by  ‘added advantage’.

Truly being  ‘highly qualified’   for a job that is   so inexact as leadership, doesn’t require multiple   degrees. It requires management. This is even more so for someone trying to be   first among equals.

We are a nation in love with titles, earned or bestowed. Were it an open poll, Lawan is home and dry? Senators are the ones however, doing the election not citizens dazzled   by   multiple degrees. Let me be a killjoy. Some of the Senators won’ t be impressed by his credentials.

If Lawan became no3 in the national perking order, he will be treading the path and re-enacting the magic of Iyorchia Ayu who, at 40 and also Ph.D presided over the Senate of the ill-fated Third Republic.

Lawan is 56.This makes him very prime for the job.56 is the new 46 in the millennium. He is at a strategic interjection. He is a link between the youthful and the aging. He has crossed the bridge of youthfulness and at the threshold old age. His intellectual profundity has marinated him in knowledge and his age has bestowed him with wisdom.   He has sufficient legislative experience as to make him not only a ‘ranking’ Senator but as the one with the most cognate legislative exposure. He is unblemished. He is, therefore, not encumbered by moral or political scandal.  He is similarly not beholden to any visible godfather. He comes from the northeast, a region devastated by a festering insurgency. This has earned him a lot of commiseration. I am one of such sympathizers. My head thinks of Lawan as the next Senate President.

But my heart says Akume is the man. The former governor is similarly highly qualified for the job. Like Lawan, he too, is a second term Senator. Unlike Lawan, he   would have spent 8 years at the expiration of the current mandate in June. Like Lawan, he too has renewed his mandate. Unlike Lawan, he spent the years between 1999-2007 in executive capacity. He therefore, has an added advantage. He understands how the executive thinks. Akume is 61.The Vice-President elect is 58. Akume is the face of the new fate of progressive middle belt politics.  His ascension to the Presidency of the Senate will help blunt the fault lines that perpetually make the middle belt at dagger drawn with the rest of the north. My heart palpitates for him.

Who between these eminent Senators could truly  ‘rein’ Senators when it matters most? Who could reach into his hat and spring “the doctrine-of-necessity” rabbit when the nation is on tenterhooks? Lawan? Akume? Who?

So I asked my computer who. I feed it   “Lawan”. It gave me “Laban, Lawn and Lawman. Imagine the insolence of machines. It asked me if I meant Laban Rudolf Von, the Hungarian choreographer and dancer.

Next I fed her Akume. See the options. “Akimbo”. I got irritated. I said “Akume” not “akimbo”. The computer was askance. It repeated ‘akimbo”.

I gave up. The computer is smart. It knows that only the legislators can chose who leads them in the affairs of lawmaking.  And that will be hopefully decided in the red chambers. Still my dilemma is unresolved .My head is for Lawan and my heart is for Akume.


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