Is Obasanjo right to call N’Assembly a den of robbers?

Mr. Taiwo Akinlami, Prof. Dauda Saleh

He (Obasanjo) is not right. He was so hard on the National Assembly. If he was there for eight years and he didn’t do anything. It is not proper now that he is out of power to be castigating the National Assembly. He should understand that in a presidential system of government, there is separation of power between the executive, the legislature and the judiciary. You don’t say things that don’t have facts and figures.

It is not good for the working of our presidential system of government for an elder statesman to say things like this. It is wrong for him to tell the world now that the National Assembly stinks. It is not fair. If he had not been there before, he can say anything. When he was there, he didn’t check it. As far as I am concerned, corruption is a national disease that has affected all the facets of our national life. The National Assembly cannot be singled out as the most corrupt.

However, using the National Assembly as a searchlight, I will suggest that its budgeting processes should be open. Allowances of the members should be open to scrutiny. They should be transparent so that people will not continue to have an impression that their allowances are outrageous. If these are open, the issue of castigating the National Assembly as the most corrupt institution will be laid to rest.  Prof. Dauda Saleh (Lecturer, Political Science and International Relations, University of Abuja)

The statement was too harsh. There is nothing done by the present National Assembly or taken by them that was not done or collected under Obasanjo. The money they are taking is within the law, so I don’t see anything wrong about it. Obasanjo, as a former President, should have a better way of correcting them if they do anything wrong instead of casting aspersions on their persons. Although the members are not saints, they cannot be all referred to as robbers.

If they were wrong, when Obasanjo was there and he had the opportunity to correct the situation, what did he do? It is not automatic that NASS grants every request of the executive, but they have shown enough support to the present administration and the relationship should not be allowed to deteriorate. Mr. Tunji Ogunlola (Ekiti State CNPP Chairman)

Honestly, if former President Olusegun Obasanjo made such a statement, then he should share in the blame. He is one of those who shaped the current political thinking of the country.

He played a major role in our recent political foundation. If we have unscrupulous people in the National Assembly, what did he do to change the situation? Cleaning the Augean stables is better than condemning the monkey.

It is sad that our National Assembly can be described in such a manner. The former President’s statement is too sweeping for comfort because there are some decent lawmakers in the Senate and House of Representatives who mean well for Nigeria.

I still subscribe to the fact that former President Obasanjo and his generation did not do well for the country when they had an opportunity to do so. If they had done well, we will not find ourselves in this current ugly situation. They should allow our generation to take Nigeria out of the bad situation they had kept it. Enough is enough. Dr. Jackson Omenazu, (Chancellor, International Institute for Social Justice and Human Rights)

Corruption has become an institution, and until it is addressed, we cannot go anywhere. I don’t think this idea of singling out people or a body has helped us. If the National Assembly is a den of robbers, it didn’t become so today. When President Obasanjo spent eight years, what did he do about the den of robbers? This was the same den of robbers he wanted to use to perpetrate himself in the office, when legislatures were allegedly bribed.

The challenge we have in this country is that we don’t learn from history. The tragedy is that history will repeat itself if we don’t learn from it. I don’t think former President Obasanjo has the moral standing to refer to National Assembly as den of robbers.

We need to understand the purpose of governance. It has a purpose and until we understand that purpose, we are going to be beating around the bush. There is an agenda that the government must follow as enshrined in the Chapter 2 of the Nigerian constitution. The welfare and security of people should be the primary aim of the government. Once this is not in the front burner, whether Obasanjo referred the National Assembly as a den of robber has no relevance. Does it change the price of rice in the market? Does it change the health care situation in the country?

We need to hold the government accountable according to the letter of the constitution. If the National Assembly is a den of robbers, what are we going to do to rescue the country from the den? So, Obasanjo as an elder statesman should provide insights. An elder statesman does not just talk and heat up the polity; he proffers solutions. We are tired of critics in this country. Critics have always got better while the people get poorer. So, we need people who are constructive; who look for solutions and lead by example. This fourth republic was pioneered by Obasanjo. What are the dividends of democracy accrued to Nigerians?

I think the challenge we have as a country is that we have lost the compass. The challenge we have in this country is not corruption. The challenge is that we have no national vision and values as a country.   Mr. Taiwo Akinlami (A lawyer)

I think it is wrong for him (Obasanjo) as a former President of Nigeria to make such a statement about the National Assembly. He is not doing a good service to the nation by branding the National Assembly as a den of robbers.

He should be more measured; he should be more careful of whatever he says as a former President. He is too flippant for my liking. As a former Head of State, certain words should not be made at all.

Although this does not mean that I am holding brief for the National Assembly, an ex-President should not say that the National Assembly is a den of thieves.

The National Assembly was there when he was President; why did he not say this then? Why now? It is not good for a former leader of the country to talk loosely. But I am not surprised at all. Prof. Kimse Okoko (Chairman, Pro-Chancellors of Federal Universities)

It is very wrong of him to have used that kind of word to describe members of the National Assembly. These are people who are elected representatives of their various federal constituencies and senatorial districts. If they were robbers, their constituents would not have elected them into the public office.  Obasanjo as a former President and an elder statesman, should not have made that kind of statement. If he is saying the man representing his constituency is a robber, what did he do to stop the person from being elected? I think it is absolutely wrong to have used that kind of word because they represent the people that voted for them and their conduct had not been found wanting by anti-graft agencies. He should watch whatever he says in public. Mr. Paul Adah, (A former member of the House of Representatives)


This article is represents the opinions of the author only, and does not necessarily represent the views and opinion of StateReporters News Cable