The re-emergence of the maverick politician
BY EMMANUEL AZIKEN
SENATOR Arthur Nzeribe it appears has not lost his amazing instinct to stand out for good or for bad. It is no surprise that he earned for himself the epithet of ‘the maverick’ one in the nation’s political landscape.
I will never forget how during his days in the Senate he lured two successful Generals in the Senate, Senators David Mark and Tunde Ogbeha into a battle with Senator Adolphus Wabara, only to abandon them in the heat of battle.
With Senator Mark was firmly enthroned at the peak of the Senate leadership and Nzeribe out of the Upper Chamber in the past five years, it is hardly surprising that the Senate has had a kind of stability that eluded the House in the past.
When he was outfoxed by Achike Udenwa using Osita Izunaso as a proxy in the 2007 senatorial election, it was not surprising that many of his critics heaved a sigh of relief that he had finally received his comeuppance.
Senator Nzeribe is, however, not one to be that easily dismissed. After almost four years of political hibernation, the political craftsman last Monday re-emerged with a damning commentary on the polity.
Senator Arthur Nzeribe
He was especially critical of the threat by the House of Representatives to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan on the basis of the latter’s perceived failures in the implementation of the 2012 budget.
It was not as if the four -time senator was especially fond of Jonathan as he berated his handling of the Boko Haram crisis, the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and sundry issues of governance.
His depiction of the House of Representatives was, however, particularly condescending. “Nobody respects the average lawmaker anymore in Nigeria. With the kind of corruption in the system, I do not think the impeachment threat is real,” he said.
Nzeribe’s depiction of the moral fiber of the Nigerian lawmaker apparently stems from the recent failures of the legislature in taking its place of authority in the polity.
After raising the hope of many Nigerians the legislators have several times turned around to betray that hope. Not too long ago as the leadership of the House of Representatives sought to gain the moral high ground, it emerged that members of the House invited to the Offshore Technology Conference, OTC in Texas, United States, had rejected the sponsorship of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC to the conference.
The OTC in all respects, has in recent times been variously described as a jamboree or a carnival for legislators and NNPC officials. After making the world believe that they would not go to the conference, senators and House members turned round to join the jamboree.
The Farouk Lawan case, the Herman Hembe affair, the Power probe scandal that preceded this House and many other cases are examples of the comedown of the Nigerian legislature that led Senator Nzeribe on Monday to depict the moral incapacity of the legislators to tackle President Jonathan.
It is not as if the other arms of government or sectors in the polity are free from these moral failures. However, the focus on the legislatorse arises from the significant position of the legislators to address the failures of society.
Remarkably, few doubt the capacity of the present leaderships of the Senate and the House to give their colleagues the right bearing. They may have done well thus far but they should do more.
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