By Lekan Alabi
Without any doubt, the events of last week in the Nigerian Senate which led to the altercation between Senator Oluremi Tinubu of Lagos Central Senatorial District and her colleague, Senator Dino Melaye of Kogi West senatorial District as well as subsequent reactions of several other Senators has left a bitter taste in the mouths of several political – conscious Nigerians.
Nonetheless, the question that begs to be answered is: WHO LEAKED DETAILS OF THE EXECUTIVE SESSION OF THE SENATE?
An executive session of any establishment, in this case the red chamber of the bicameral arm of Nigerian legislature is supposed to be a classified meeting of strictly Senators and Senators only where matters discussed are supposed to be for their ears only. One wonders what then is the essence of a closed door session if information shared and discussed during such sessions become public knowledge after all such that within a few hours, the media space had become filled with half truths, jaundiced stories, accusations, counter – accusations, dull analysis, press texts and reactions to an exchange that purportedly held behind the closed doors of an Executive Session of the Nigerian Senate.
At the moment, all of the 109 Senators who make up the upper chamber of the National Assembly need to ask themselves salient questions, search themselves and do a couple security checks. Are they going to continue to run immediately to text, call and whisper to their godfathers and followers when sensitive and privileged issues of national concern are discussed? It wouldn’t be out of line to ask if some electronic device has been planted inside the chambers or is it that Senators are simply so willing, eager and ready to comment, engage and discuss what is done behind closed door sessions with any passersby?
If the current trend is not curtailed in good time, this unfortunate cancer will indeed spread and one wouldn’t be surprised if and when it manifests in the Green Chamber of the House of Representatives in no long a time leading to a loss of the idea and ideals behind an executive session of the legislative arm of government.
This virus can as well fester into the other arms – the Judiciary and the Executive Arm. This even seems to be already manifesting. Didn’t we recently see a memo written by the Minister for Information to an Agency under his purview on the pages of newspaper? Don’t we see the continuous subjudicial intimidation of judges leading them to withdraw from suits before them even on the day that they are supposed to give their judgement? It is time for caution.
The fear is this and it is real. If this matter is not treated with the seriousness it deserves, soon when Security Chiefs come to brief the Legislature; within minutes issues of strategy discussed could enter into public domain and as such we can say goodbye to the successes garnered with the ongoing fight against insurgency leading to the endangerment of lives and properties of both civilians and military personnel.
Economically speaking, the Governor of the Central Banka as well as the Finance and Budget Ministers have been invited to the Senate and it is enough fear that the issues discussed there which are supposed to be classified will filter onto online pages in no time and the scramble for clicks will begin.
Maybe very soon, Senators will avoid their sworn constitutional duty of representing and speaking for their respective senatorial district because they do not know how they can be misquoted. All of these can lead to a major threat to our nascent democracy and as such necessary steps in ensuring the sanctity and honour of the executive session need to be put in place and urgently too.
Let the Distinguished Mole or maybe, Moles of the 8th Senate beware!