The National Assembly has remained true to type.
In a voice vote, the Senate amended the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) and Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) Act last Thursday.
The Act, contained in Section 18 (2) and 20 (4) of the Constitution, situates the power to hire and fire staff of the CCT, within the Presidency.
If the legislature succeeds with its latest mischief, the power of the President to control the CCB and CCT would have been transferred to the National Assembly.
The bill was first initiated and passed by the House of Representatives.
The Green Chamber transmitted the bill to the Senate for harmonisation in May of 2016.
With the Senate agreeing with the House, the bill would be transmitted to President Muhammadu Buhari for assent.
There are several areas to whittle down the powers of the President. Why the CCB and CCT?
Your guess is as good as mine.
This is a devious piece of legislation from lawmakers who are as self-serving as they come—lawmakers who only look after themselves; whose bellies are their gods.
There were few voices of dissent on the floor of the Senate, but those were immediately shouted down and out-numbered.
Senator Ahmed Lawan who represents Yobe North, asked for the Senate to take a second look at the bill.
Said Lawan: “The Senate is a moderator on legislation. This bill emanated from the House of Representatives and our colleagues there passed it. I agree totally with the submissions of some of our colleagues here that we don’t have to hurry to pass it.
“We will be doing ourselves and this National Assembly a better service if we step down this thing, move on with some other things that will make this a better bill only when we convince ourselves that what we are trying to do is not for our sake.
“If we are affected today because perhaps either one of us or some of us are before the Tribunal or something. This is not a permanent situation and when we legislate we legislate for maybe centuries and we legislate dispassionately, not for ourselves. Mr. chairman, I feel very passionate about this, that whatever we feel about any situation that we are in, let’s make sure that that thing doesn’t get into us when we legislate for the sake of our people.”
Lawan was a lone voice in the wilderness.
The Yobe born Senator was right about the bill being hastily passed only because Senate President Bukola Saraki is on trial at the CCT for false declaration of assets.
Saraki has had serial face-offs with CCT Chairman, Danladi Umar.
Umar has been unyielding as he tries a powerful Senate President who storms the court premises with an army of Senators blaring their support.
Saraki wants Umar to step down from hearing his case, but Umar wouldn’t accede to the Senate President's request.
If Umar was hired by the National Assembly, he wouldn’t be so stubborn, surely. And if he proves to be hard of hearing and unyielding to the whims and caprices of the National Assembly or Saraki, he would be looking for another job now.
This therefore is a bill that has vendetta written all over it. This is a legislature that wants to put the CCT and its Chairman in their places for daring to embarrass its Senate President.
That’s what this is all about.
There are feelers from the Presidency that Buhari won’t assent to this bill.
"Not on his life", one of the President's aides told Pulse. The bill will therefore die a natural death, as it should.
But some day in the future, we’ll remember the National Assembly, not for how it improved the lives of Nigerians with commonsense legislation, but for how selfish and self-serving an arm of government it was.
There have been several days in our democratic journey where we wished we never had a legislature. We’ll be adding October 27, 2016 to that unimpressive list.
These lawmakers don't care about us.