It’s been said that Democracy basically consists of two wolves and a sheep deciding on what to have for dinner. It’s also been said I believe by Bernard Shaw, that those in government who rob Peter to pay Paul, can always depend on the support of Paul.
We tend to think of mental hospitals as snake pits, hells of chaos and misery, squalor and brutality. As far as poor Nigerians are concerned, the largest mental hospital on earth is Nigeria full of different patients with different mental miseries. We, the people, the whole people, are locked in a death grapple and nothing our representatives offer, or are willing to offer, mitigates our troubles.
The primary function of legislatures is lawmaking. However, legislatures have more important responsibilities than lawmaking. John Stuart Mill the British philosopher and political economist in 1862 describes legislature in a representative democracy as the eyes, ears, and voice of the people. In other words, individual lawmaker’s duty is to represent the interests of their individual constituencies.
Strong legislatures with strong and caring legislators are essential to improving people’s quality of life. Our elected representatives are required to consult with Nigerians to give reality to their rights. This will ensure meaningful engagement on matters affecting people’s lives at local, state, and federal. But is this happening?
The Abuja legislators (and state lawmakers throughout the country) are guilty of political malpractice for their failure in building a capable, accountable, and responsive representative democracy that can address poverty, inequality, and provide public services. Representative Democracy means elected representation, public participation, rule of law, separation of powers, accountability, and legitimacy.
The constitution requires the representatives to uphold the constitution, develop law and provide oversight of service delivery to the public as well as facilitate public involvement in the legislative and oversight functions. The opposite is true in the case of Nigeria. In our representative democracy, the legislators in the National Assembly who are in possession of our wealth remain the great profiteers of miseries of poor Nigerians.
From politicians to profiteers, our National Assembly members see representation and see Naira signs. All their years in the National Assembly could best be described as an era of turmoil. They have abandoned the public sector and the vital services they should provide to their constituencies. Because of their corruption, incompetence, indifference, and apathy the public sector is dead. The legislators are wicked, exploitative, parasitic, and hence profoundly anti-poor.
They have built up great fortunes at home and abroad. They have increased their luxury. They have created the House of Have and the House of Want. Theirs is the House of Have while the exploited and excluded poor owns the House of Want. They have foisted on our people poverty of multiple evils: restricted job opportunities, crumbling education system, stultified home life and suppressed initiative, fragile family relationships which distorted personality development.
The legislators have failed to craft bills to solve these problems. No coordinated programs. No housing policy. No education policy. No job program. No social services program. No public safety policy. If there was any policy or program at all, it has been piecemeal and pygmy, fragmentary and spasmodic at best. Educational reforms have been sluggish and entangled in bureaucratic stalling. Family assistance is nil. You may ask: what happens to their oversight function? Well, it’s been deleted from their job description.
With all our God given resources, the cause and curse of poverty have no justification in Nigeria. As predators, the legislators are as cruel and blind as those who practiced cannibalism at the dawn of civilization when men eat each other for food. It is tragic that the legislators live in revolutionary times and fail to achieve the new attitudes and new mental outlooks that our situation demands. They have slept through a revolution that would have alter the course of our history.
Of what use are these dishonorable legislators? What have they done for their constituencies and the country lately? Many of them have never sponsored a bill that will benefit their constituencies. What else can they do apart from stealing and looting? What can they show for the eye popping constituency allowances earmarked for the people they claim to represent? How much money do they have to steal before they’ll respond to the cries of those who sent them to Abuja? How much allowances for trifling nonsense do they need to feed their insatiable greed? Shame on them!
The home of a drunkard tells the sad story of the evil wrought by the use of strong drink. Wretchedness and destitution reign, and often the wife and children suffer from abuse and hunger. Yes, the Abuja legislators are drunkards, and Nigeria is the home and the family where wretchedness and destitution reign. Take a look at the death centers called hospitals in their constituencies and in the country as whole. The buildings are old and murky without any renovation. The wards are crowded, nurses underpaid, the doctors struggling to meet pressures. Another attention-raising problem is the rarity of drugs and other essential medical supplies in these hospitals.
Since we sent them to Abuja 16 years ago, we cannot boast of treated water to drink, no good roads to travel on, no electricity, no professional police, no rule of law, no criminal justice system, no jobs, no industries, no security, no public transportation, no rail system, no postal services, no national air carrier, no social services for the elderly and the disabled. Nothing, absolutely nothing! Who and what the hell do they represent? Shame on them!
They have turned Nigeria into the most desolate land of impoverished people sitting on the street corners hustling, hawking, suffering and begging. Prostitutes, the homeless, and the destitute compete for crumbs and alms from passers by. These street dwellers serve as a lingering reminder of the wickedness and indifference of those who represent them in Abuja.
Destruction of our nation is created from tsunami of profiteering of the ruling class. Nigerians are hurting on the inside. They’re harming on the outside. The profiteers have turned the nation into emptiness and lack where tears, pleas, schemes, desperation and want are shed away like a filth, stenching, garment burned never won again… leaving their victims on the shelves to rot and die!
They have successfully cultivated and sustained the culture of ingrained acceptance of wrong doing. The constitution including our laws have been deformed by the piggish reps. Past scandals, scams, stealing, looting, bribery, corruption, and other heinous crimes are not investigated or resolved and no steps taken to prevent future occurrences.
All the legislators represent is corruption with their trade mark mantra “It’s our turn to eat” bound by oath with their colleagues not to betray their collective interests and to rob their own people. Robbing, raping, killing, leaving their victims – the poor – languishing on shelves… With these leeches in charge in Abuja, Nigerians fear what tomorrow may bring… Shame on them!
Nigerians, which political system do we practice: Representative Democracy or Dumbocracy?