Social Media Bill: Open Letter To The Senate President
By Kalu Nwokoro Idika
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE SENATE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA- AHMED LAWAN
I am well delighted to write this warm letter to you at this critical moment of our national life. Since you were hand picked and made the puppet Senate President, this is my very first time of writing any form of commentary concerning the rubber stamp senate which you are superintending. Moreover, that will not in anyway prevent me from congratulating you as the Senate President inspite of all the shameful intrigues that crowned your emergence at the helm of affairs in the National Assembly. Notwithstanding, congratulations for accepting in the first place to be a legislative turncoat.
This letter is designed to caution you and the Senate which you lead. There will be consequences for every action. Already, Nigeria is sitting on a keg of gunpowder. Maybe, the careless actions of the present Senate might finally detonate it.
Sir, the present composition of the senate which you lead seems to be the worst in the history of Nigeria legislative process. Though, Nigerians are fully aware that you were handpicked to do the biddings of the powers that be. But does it mean you will fall like a log of wood and even crash with your conscience and common sense? As the number one man in the Senate, you have simply displayed lack of political will to change the calamitous situation that has befallen Nigeria from time immemorial.
The National Assembly in Nigeria is one of the most expensive in the world yet Nigerians do not feel the impact of these legions of law makers who much of their work is to drool in the house and go home with jumbo salaries for doing nothing. Instead of enacting viable laws that will consolidate the process of good governance, much time and energy is dissipated championing laws that will stifle and suppress eloquent voices that will rise to question the irresponsible actions of political demagogues in the country.
Your actions and statements in recent times have categorically betrayed the principle of separation of powers in government. You have proven to be a dumb puppet who doesn’t deserve to head the Senate. Without shame you made Nigerians to understand that the Parliament can’t act on their own but will only function according to the whims and caprices of a power intoxicated executive arm. Remember, this is a representative democracy and both the three arms of the government must be accountable to the people, and not to any group of primitive omnipotents whose wish is to run the people down for no just reason.
Across the globe, law makers are justling tirelessly to enact laws that will put the interest of their people in the front burner while in Nigeria, law makers are rather instigating laws that will drain and suffocate millions of hapless masses who are fed up with an unworkable system. The Senate is supposed to channel much energy sponsoring bills that will remove millions of Nigerians from the threshold of poverty and not the one that will muzzle and cage their fundamental human right. This is to say that the HATE SPEECH BILL is an absolute misplacement of political priority. It lacks weight and sense and therefore should be completely discarded.
The root cause of HATE SPEECH in Nigeria is very glaring. If the leaders in Nigeria are doing what other responsible leaders in other parts of the world are doing, you won’t find millions of angry Nigerians venting and insulting each other. The reason why hate speech has persisted in Nigeria is because of failed leadership, which you as the Senate President is knowingly aggravating. If an angry civilian who criticises the government because of bad road, lack of electricity, insecurity, human right abuse and insincerity will be sentenced to death what will now happen to a politician who loot billions of naira and stash it in foreign banks?
Sir, you must understand now that Nigerians are angry and fed up. I wonder what will happen next if the Senate should go ahead in pushing the HATE SPEECH BILL to it’s final bus stop. To me, it is nothing but a well calculated attempt to protect unrepentant economic thieves in the country at the expense of the poor masses. When this sinister mission is achieved, looters can gloriously run to any rendezvous of their choice to enjoy their loot while poor Nigerians will remain mute because if one should bark against the looters it will become a HATE SPEECH.
The HATE SPEECH BILL will not stand. And the Senator that sponsored it should be suspended for chasing what ought not to be. He is more of a mischievous fellow, an enemy of democracy and human right. He does not deserve a place in the legislative chamber. He and his likes should be recalled and sent to one of the motor parks in Niger State. That is where he belongs. By now, world leaders will be making caricature of Nigeria’s legislative chamber. They will understand the fact that it’s present configuration is bereft of the needed mojo to change situations in the country for better.
Sir, for obvious reasons, the National Assembly should be answerable to the people and not to any individual. Your relationship with the President shouldn’t erode the general interest of Nigerians. Buhari is not God and neither does he have the power to dictate the future of Nigerians. He is a mere mortal and representative of the people. Therefore, it will amount to weakness and misdirection for the Senate to take instructions from a clueless President.
Nigerians are tired of wasting their taxes on individuals who know next to nothing about the art of law making. The Senate must rise and do what the people desire. When I say what the people desire, it means, stringent laws should be made that will strangulate thieving leaders and those of them who do not respect court injunctions. In fact, the National Assembly should make a law that will criminalise the habit of travelling abroad to seek medical treatment. And also a law which will compel political leaders to have their children schooling in the country instead of overseas should be enacted as soon as possible
There are a lot of issues the Senate should stand and address rather than chasing shadows. The HATE SPEECH BILL is a subtle means of caging FREEDOM OF SPEECH which is antithetical to the spirit of democracy. Enacting a law to arrest the problem of HATE SPEECH is so irresponsible. With good governance in place, HATE SPEECH will die a natural death.
In conclusion, Sir, I want to remind you and others in the legislative chamber that there will be life after politics. What will history say about you and others when this phase has come and gone? Do you choose to be remembered as one who led a rubber stamp Senate that hammered freedom of speech to death? Or a Senate President who choose to do things that will make the President to see him as a loyal dog? Do you wish to be remembered as one who stood so firm with the people and say no to tyranny? The ball is in your court. Choose where you will want Nigerians to rank you in the near future. There will be consequences for every decision you take now. Thread with caution.
Going ahead with the HATE SPEECH BILL shall be your greatest political undoing. You will be terribly hated and despised for it. Even the so called Buhari you are sheepishly fighting to please will not be there to save you when the bubble will burst. Be wise and don’t let yourself to be used against the people. You will regret it at the end. Considering the dust the bill has raised so far, I will suggest you withdraw it from the committee it was sent to and the sponsor of the bill adequately reprimanded for subjecting the Senate to such a disgraceful charade. There is no alternative to my suggestion because the whole of the Senate is accountable to the people and not to any person or group.
If you fail to recall and kill the HATE SPEECH BILL, concerted efforts will be made to galvanize Human Right organizations within and beyond Nigeria with the sole aim of ensuring that all the lawmakers who assented to this notorious bill will receive visa ban from America and other European countries. We won’t allow the rubber stamp Senate which you lead to mess with our right. And there is no way 109 lazy and unproductive lawmakers will defeat the interest of over 180 million Nigerians.
We are ready for the show down! Listen to the voice of reason before the Senate will crash over the stupidity of one man.
Kalu Nwokoro Idika is a political analyst, investigative and freelance; journalistKalunwokoroidika@yahoo.com