399 views | Akaolisa Emmanuel | July 15, 2021
Some weeks ago, there were viral videos of our leaking national assembly complex, which made the hallowed chambers flooded with water. From the video, one could see what looked like numerous cleaning contractors sweating to clean the chambers. It seemed the more they worked, the more it rained.
This unfortunate event hindered the senate as it resumed its plenary the same day, and different house committees who were to have hearings had to postpone them or wait for hours . All the honorable members could do was watch from the sidelines as cleaners mopped the water away.
In 2019, the national assembly budgeted N30 billion for the repair of the complex. After much criticism, the figure was reviewed down to N9 billion. This issue came to the fore again after the leaking roof 3 weeks ago. The senate was accused of embezzling the funds meant for the fixing of the complex, else the great leak. There was an official statement by the leadership of the senate stating that no money was embezzled as the contract had not been signed nor money released.
Three days ago, the national assembly was flooded again and it was quite surprising, the surprise is not that it rained, after all this is the season, the surprise is that one would have thought the leaks had been fixed by now. Are they going to set up committee as usual to look into the cause(s) of the leaking?
On a lighter note, if they had fixed the senate building after the first leak, they would have been accused of being selfish by fixing it so quick while other problems in Nigeria continue for years unchecked.
From another angle, we find symmetrical analogy with the media bill and the leaking roofs. They both have one thing in common – open heavens. You know open heavens signify blessing, so they seem to be coveting this divine gifts by all means possible. It’s disturbing that this is happening in a democracy.
They have succeeded in having open heavens send down rain into the national assembly; they now seek to shut up communication with men and maybe establish an unseen network in the sky. Shut the horizontal communication with man and establish a vertical one with angels.
One common thing with the Nigerian government in the past few years has been its disdain for freedom of speech. Though the executive and legislative arms of government do not seem to get along on many issues, the war against information is one battle the two arms of government have with unmatched unison fought. It is important to state that they are fighting without foresight.
This present crop of leaders do not consider that in two years most of them will become opposition or simply not be in power and thus will need this same media they now seek to strangle. They will need the media to air their views on current affairs. They will need to media to criticize some or all aspects of the regime in power by then. They will need the media to campaign. Most importantly their children and loved ones will need the media to live. It is even more worrying that most of them got into power riding on the wings of the media.
If they love heaven’s bliss this much, they could as well bring it closer to the land for all and sundry to enjoy.
One reason though that might be given in support of checking the media in all forms is the dangers which fake news pose to any country. Fake news tend to raise emotions negatively, it murders character of its targets, it leads to physical and social crisis. But as we have said before, if successive Nigerian leadership have done the little job of augmenting human development index, there would be few people who lend themselves to participate in societal upheavals, honest and healthy communication willl thrive and thus no need for the bogus job of stifling communication.
But seriously, what are these noble men hiding?