President Muhammadu Buhari’s Senior Special Assistant on Niger Delta, Ita Enang, has declared war on federal and state legislators representing the peoples of Akwa Ibom State. According to him, all the lawmakers in the state House of Assembly since 1999 to date have disappointed their constituents. Put the other way round, he is saying they are unproductive.
Ita Enang’s lethal attack on Akwa Ibom lawmakers is coming at a time Chairman of the Southern Governors’ Forum and Ondo State Governor, Oluwarotimi Akeredolu, was busy rubbishing someone of an average height in Kaduna State for allegedly plotting to export bandits to states across the two great rivers in Nigeria, Benue and Niger.
This Senior Advocate of Nigeria, and former President of Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) was taking on Governor Nasir el-Rufai for his attack on governors within the southern region. Akeredolu described the attack on Southern governors by his Kaduna State counterpart as devious and a hysteric ploy to externalise banditry.
While El-Rufai mocked the southern governors over their position to pass the Anti-Open Grazing Law, Akeredolu speaking through his Information and Orientation Commissioner, Donald Ojogo, in a statement said anyone making such a statement made by the Kaduna State Governor should be classified as “unenviable ilk masquerading as leaders.”
He added that El-Rufai statement was capable of encouraging anarchy under the guise “of resentment of a Law by affected stakeholders”, stressing that the anti-open grazing law has come to stay in the state. Akeredolu maintained that those without evil plots have nothing to be worried about.
“From all indications, Governor Nasir el-Rufai, if he was properly quoted and his views not misrepresented, is struggling hard to export banditry to the South under an expressed opinion that is laced with mischief. Perhaps, it is apt to state clearly that the likes of Governor El-Rufai are already in a hysteric ‘mode’ of escalating and indeed, externalising banditry, especially as the military onslaught against criminal elements and other terror variants suffices in the North”, he said.
However, Ita Enang was responding to a question on how active have the state legislators have been since 1999 ‘’In assessing them I will not draw conclusions. I will leave the conclusion to you’’, says Ita Enang, pointing out that he is not condemning the state Legislature since 1999, adding, “the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly is not as strong as they are supposed to be.”
While also declaring that the current National Assembly members from Akwa Ibom are legislative misfits and poor representatives of the people, he wondered where Akwa Ibom lawmakers were when the Petroleum Industry Act was passed and only three percent was given to oil-bearing communities.
This President Buhari’s aide is admonishing all legislators from the state to go back and study what a legislature is and what they are supposed to do even as he is charging them to play the role of Joshua in the Bible. He wants them not to make laws to please the governor, and by extension, the president, but rather the electorate, whom they are representing.
Ita Enang certainly knows what he is talking about. He started public service as a councillor, moved to become a state legislator before graduating into the House of Representatives and then the Senate. He would have returned again to the Red Chamber of the bicameral Legislature, but the then Governor Godswill Akpabio in his Czarist-like regime short-circuited his legislative activism.
Recalling when he was a lawmaker in the state House of Assembly from 1992 to 1993, Enang said he led the House to oppose Executive bills that were gainst the interest of the people. ” It was only the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly in 1992 When Obong Akpan Isemin was the Governor that was able to override a bill from the governor in the entire federation.
” We also reject the supplementary budget bill of N200m sent to the Assembly by the Governor as such expenditure was against the interest of the state . We stopped the governor from from selling a soundproof giant size generator that belonged to the state owned brewery company – Champion Breweries by mobilising all members of the Assembly and intercepted the generator along Calabar Itu road and the plot failed.”
Continuing, he pointed out that it was the National Assembly under the watch of the late Chuba Okadigbo that passed the bill establishing Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) into law when President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to sign it.
” As Chairman of Rules and Ethics in the National Assembly, I canvassed for members to sign the NDDC bill into law when former President Olusegun Obasanjo refused to accent to the bill”, he said as he charged lawmakers to be proactive in their responsibilities as the present crop of lawmakers are not representing the people but their personal interest, insisting that current parliaments at all levels are not strong as they should be.
Besides the Akwa Ibom legislators, lawmakers in Nigeria since the post-Okadigbo era, are generally unproductive. For Merriam-Webster, unproductive definition is, not effective in bringing something about : not yielding results, benefits, or profits. It is being not productive.
International Monetary Fund (IMF) has been arguing always that public sector operations must be cost-effective, and that individual public expenditure programs or projects should be designed and implemented to provide given levels of outputs or achieve specific objectives at minimum cost.
For this condition to be satisfied therefore, the public sector, according to IMF, ‘’must use human and other resources fully and effectively; that is, it must not waste any resources.’’ Moreover, given their prices, inputs should be mixed optimally. Arguably, conditions for cost-effectiveness may differ howbeit, between public production in a narrow sense and public provision.
In the latter case, if public provision is based on purchases of goods produced by private producers, the government may not have to be excessively concerned about the efficiency of production if the private sector operates competitively, although it has to be concerned about the efficiency of procurement. Sadly, expenditures in the nature of consumption such public administration, do not create any productive asset which can bring income or returns to the government.
Perhaps, this then implies that in Nigeria for instance, legislators are largely self-serving, not the people who elected them with the hope that they will produce legislations that will help to smash gender discrimination, inequality, exclusion, and deprivation. Rather, the electorate are witnessing festering insecurity, growing abject poverty, and worsening unemployment while the lawmakers enjoy depleting the public till.