Congratulations are in order for the newly inaugurated members of the Kogi State House of the Assembly. More so, for the elected Principal Officers of the 8th Assembly – The Speaker, Rt. Hon. Umar Aliyu Yusuf; Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Enema Paul; Majority Leader, Hon. Suleiman Abdulrazaq Sariki, and amongst others.
There is no doubt in the fact that these set of lawmakers have been in tune with happenings in the political atmosphere of the state for the past years. Even if any of them was not aware, by now, he must have asked why their inauguration event was held at the Speaker’s Lodge, instead of the appropriate complex along crusher road. The answer to that query forms the basis of this piece.
Dateline: October 10th, 2022 – The state woke up to the sad occurrence of a mystery fire which razed down the complex while the members were on public holiday. The immediate past Speaker of the 7th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Matthew Kolawole who made the first on the spot assessment, said his attention was drawn to the incidence by his Chief Detail Officer, and he called the security agencies to mobilize to the premises.
Meanwhile, the incidence occurred at a period whence the state was enmeshed in an ownership battle with Dangote Cement Company Obajana, and its Chief, Aliko Dangote. The period was enormously heated and tangled by the involvement of the last Assembly, such that when the former Speaker was questioned by journalists at the scene of the fire incidence on the possible link to the battle with Dangote; he said on quote, “it might be, it might not be. So I want to leave this to the security agencies. Then definitely I can tell you that I’m being threatened but I believe it’s only God who gives life. To me, I’m doing my job as the head of the legislative arm of the government, and I’ll continue to do the best I can do. For now, concerning whether linking this to what happened, I can’t really say but it might be, it might not be.”
Responding to what seemed like an indictment, the Dangote Group in a statement signed by the Chief Branding and Communications Officer, Anthony Chiejina, dispelled a press statement issued by Kogi State Government accusing the company of sponsoring arsonists to set the House on fire. “Dangote Group would never stoop so low as to sponsor thugs to destroy any property, belonging to either a government or an individual. This runs contrary to our business ethos and everything we stand for as a leading manufacturer with teeming customers and consumers across Nigeria and Africa,” the company quoted partly, stated.
The essence of establishing this background by taking the readers on a quick throwback, is to set the new lawmakers on a path of recovery that entails a burden, but not too heavy a task for them to carry. They are mostly young, intuitive, filled with innovations and ready to explode with the ideas they have bore for long to execute. In the Nigerian pidgin cliché, “their blood dey hot.”
However, they cannot make too many a progress in an environment such as the Speaker’s Lodge that is too tight to accommodate every other human resource outside the members, required to grace a proper plenary. These include the retinue of beat journalists, essential staff, legislative aides, and even guests of the Hallowed Chamber. To cut to the chase, the present atmosphere is less of befitting for lawmakers that must work. It was contemporary Turkish playwright and novelist, Mehmet Murat Ildan who stated that “man can work anywhere and under any condition, but working in a very beautiful place under very beautiful conditions will surely create superior things.” Thus, because we have higher expectations from this very set of members, and would desire them to do superior legislative works, it is only right that in solidarity, we also let them know we want them to succeed, before our criticisms set in.
Therefore, this is my first citizen motion to the leadership of the 8th Assembly, that;
– The currently running budget is not an accuse to further forestall the restoration of that complex. Whether a provision was made for it or not, with special arrangement, Muhammed can always access the mountain. Graciously, Governor Yahaya Bello happens to have a smooth relationship with the House, and that can be exploited before the expiration of his tenure.
– It was on record that the security agencies were conducting an investigation into the fire incidence that brought the complex to this state. There is a need to know the outcome of such investigation, and what safety measures to be put in place to forestall a reoccurrence.
– Emphasizing on the above, the need to invest on digital systems cannot be overemphasized. The very basic an assembly complex should have is a CCTV that runs through the length and breadth of the environment; a fire alarm system, and a comprehensive firefighting package Perhaps, if these had existed, level of damage would have been reduced, and even perpetrators apprehended.
– There should be a provision for digital documentations of motions, bills, laws and oversight functions. This is possible because the majority of youths who form the present assembly, are people who are not bereft of the present digitalization of the world. As citizens who cut across the world, we should be able to learn our laws and make contributions while boycotting the barrier of location.
– Lastly, that crusher road which leads to the assembly complex, and also connects the town to important institutions and infrastructures in the state, like the CBN, WAEC, Confluence Stadium, Police Command and amongst others. Get it fixed as soon as possible.
I so move!!!