Our senators and their common sin

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Emmanuel Aziken

It was remarkable that in the face of the increasing agitations against the increasing hardship in the land, that the All Progressives Congress, APC was this week forced to seek the understanding of Nigerians on the challenges in the land.

Just six years ago, during the time of the immediate past government of President Muhammadu Buhari, the chant was to blame the Goodluck Jonathan administration for all issues.

However, having retrieved our senses we can now remember that the Buhari administration inherited the dollar at about N180 among other economic variables that were further depressed as that government progressed in office between 2015 and 2023.

After almost eight years of fault finding and blaming the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and its last president, Dr Goodluck Joathan for the difficulties in the land, the APC this week formally exonerated the former president, nay, the PDP. It could not have done otherwise.

After damaging the country with careless bravado, the chants have ceased with even President Muhammadu Buhari’s once cherished anti-corruption toga now smeared with boggling allegations of elephantine corruption ascribed to some of his closest enablers.

The Nigeria Air scam and the Conditional Cash Transfer swindle are among those that have now been unveiled by the Bola Tinubu administration.

So, with such soiled credentials that compounded the country’s economic situation, it was understandable that when he came on air to address the first hunger riots in living memory in Nigeria, APC spokesman, Felix Morka had to go deep beyond Jonathan to find the latest excuse of the APC.

It was a difficult extraction coming out of the ruling party’s spokesman as he sometimes prayed for coherence as he faced an understanding interviewer.

Speaking on Arise News Television on Wednesday night, Morka said:

“All of the problems that today, have culminated into the context (hunger riots) were created generationally, they were not created by any specific government,” Mr Morka said in a dramatic departure that seemingly exonerated the Jonathan government from the chants of the immediate past administration of Buhari and the APC.

Mr Morka who during the interview confessed to being a chef familiar with food prices admitted that food prices have indeed skyrocketed.

His generous interviewer held back from telling him that the inflationary pressures were caused by President Bola Tinubu’s unmanaged withdrawal of petrol subsidies and merger of exchange rates.

The interviewer also did not tell him that despite assertions to fighting corruption that the APC administration in the last eight or nine years has failed to bring to book any major culprit involved in the theft of the nation’s crude.

Given the confession of the APC leadership, it would also have been salutary if the same measure of sincerity were seen with the other organs of government, notably the National Assembly.

Yesterday, as a joint committee of the Senate interacted with the Tinubu administration economic management team, the air was saturated with malevolent hypocrisy of the sort that the ruling class has perpetuated against the common man over the years.

What was interesting was that these senators and their colleagues who through their actions and inactions quickened the pace into the present economic doldrums pretentiously looked away from their sins as they practically blamed everyone else.

Their most recent common sin of pillaging the nation’s foreign reserves to satisfy their greed for N160m imported SUVs was pretentiously put aside as they one after the other blamed our resort for foreign education and foreign trips for the distress in the land.

As the CBN governor, Mr Yemi Cardoso put it, his task is to provide supply which he is doing well. However, when senators and other operatives of government in both the executive and legislative branches of government make preference for foreign goods in the presence of local varieties, it puts unnecessary pressure on the foreign exchange reserves.

Yesterday, as they quizzed and lamented the increasing difficulties in the land, the hypocrisy of the senators was especially obvious as among them were even some who have expended much money in acquiring foreign tastes including wives. Indeed, they junket abroad at the easiest excuse.

A sincere approach from the senators would have been observed if any one of them confessed to their common sin in unkindly treating Nigerians with their foreign tastes rather than passing the blame to to us. Or why would they not enact a law to prohibit the government from its penchant for foreign goods just as the United States and many other countries have done? Why?

Their singular action in purchasing foreign SUVs at the most difficult time for ordinary Nigerians was a pointer to some investors. It was remarkable that many foreign investors including pharmaceutical companies expedited their withdrawal from Nigeria having seen that Nigerian leaders do not love themselves and their people. What is the incentive to establish a business in Nigeria when the government prefers to patronise foreign goods?

Whatever happens to Nigeria, this National Assembly will be remembered in the deficit for good behaviour for their particular decision on the imported vehicles.