HomeViews and ReviewsSenator Ningi, Hero Or Villain Of Democracy?

Senator Ningi, Hero Or Villain Of Democracy?

By

Hon. Rahman Owokoniran

Senator Abdul Ningi, representing Bauchi Central Senatorial District of Bauchi State in the Nigerian Senate, recently claimed that the 2024 budget has been ‘padded’ with N3.7 trillion. He also claimed there were two versions of the budget.

As you can well imagine, there was an immediate uproar amongst his colleagues in the Senate, with some even distancing themselves from him.

Seun Onigbinde, the Co-Founder of BudgIT, a Nigerian civic group that describes itself as a ‘startup/organisation that simplifies Nigerian budget, promoting transparency and fostering active citizen engagement for institutional reforms and equitable society’, has also confirmed that this is true, stating that these trillions of Naira cannot be traced to any visible or tangible projects.

This act of whistleblowing has led to the suspension of Senator Ningi amongst other things.

Many have accused this PDP member of playing opposition politics. I disagree. Surely, there must be a reason for his whistleblowing.

The rules of the Senate cannot be more important than the violation of our Constitution.

Given the extent to which our national treasury had been compromised, looted to date as confirmed by this administration, one would have expected decorum, transparency and accountability to reign supreme in this case. Alas, this is not the case.

The sound of an alarm raised by Senator Ningi was and is a deliberate attempt to expose the dark operation in the Senate. It is a call for public attention to protect and restore confidence in the Senate.

Ningi’s alarm is a wake-up call while the Senate’s response exposes itself as a threat against democracy. Ningii understands the rules of the Senate and circumvented it to protect the information from being buried. Shouldn’t that concern the body? No, it was inconsequential to the body because it falls within the purview of their selfishness and self interest. It is the national cake meant for the participants, another take home opportunity that cannot be sacrificed for whatever reason. Ningi had to be made the scapegoat to caution others who might consider stepping out of the shadows of their rules. No wonder the constituencies have no protection against the legislators who have nothing to take back to their constituents. And we also continue to experience the remoteness of government in our communities.

There is only so much the governors can do. The Federal Government holds the ace. The greater percentage of our revenue is spent by the Federal Government. The Local Government Authorities that can connect with the public have been stripped of all their resources and rendered impotent and useless.

We are supposed to be in a Federal Republic of Nigeria but we are running a Unitary Federal Republic. This confusion is manifesting in our everyday lives as a nation. This will be the only reason why our Senate will inevitably protect its cultish rules instead of our Constitution.

Ningi could not have committed an offence against the Senate by raising an objection to fraudulent acts against our country.

And if APC wants to distance itself from the criminal act, they needn’t be embarrassed by Ningi’s outcry. Therefore he shouldn’t become a victim of this blatant violation of the tenets of democracy and an outright violation of our Constitution.

Do we continue to wonder why nothing works for us in this country? Senator Ningi has opened our eyes to the fact that we have zero representation in government. The gross majority in Parliament is not only pursuing its selfish interests but also coercing the few ones who wish to serve their people to join the cult or face the wrath.

Democracy is asleep in Nigeria. We need to wake up and continuously celebrate our heroes.

Ningi is a Hero, not a Villain.

HON. RAHMAN OWOKONIRAN WRITES FROM LAGOS

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