Written By Bolaji Akinola
So politics change people or is it people that change politics. I was taken aback when I read of Senator Ali Wakili’s babariga dragging incident with another Senator last week over the composition of Senate committees. It’s still a bit difficult for me to understand the concept of ‘juicy’ and ‘non-juicy’ committees that has polarized the upper legislative chamber of late; distracting the ‘distinguished Senators’ from the crucial task of making laws.
I have known Ali Wakili for a fairly long time, I suppose about 16 years now. He was a Customs Comptroller who served at various times as Area Controller of Murtala Muhammed Intentional Airport Command, Tin Can Island Port Command and Federal Operations Unit – the Lagos-based anti-smuggling arm of the Nigeria Customs Service. In all the years that I have known him, the once youngest Customs Comptroller in Nigeria, portrayed the picture of a perfect gentleman.
You can then imagine my surprisation (apology to Chief Zebrudaya) when I read of the mild drama that played out between Senator Kabiru Marafa (APC, Zamfara Central) who has been critical of Senate President Bukola Saraki’s leadership style and Wakili (APC, Bauchi Central) at the Senate Press Corps secretariat shortly after Marafa walked out of the red chamber in protest of his being ruled out of order by the Senate President when he reopened debate on the recent formation of the Senate standing committees.
The entire drama, which sounds like a Nollywood comic scene, is a good portrayal of how our lawmakers ‘represent their constituencies’. Enjoy.
Wakili: You have come here to disgrace the Senate again. Is this what you want to do for the next four years?
Marafa: I will, I will. Because I am not working for you.
Wakili: You cannot sit down there and fight against the Senate.
Marafa: I am representing Nigeria and representing my people. And let me tell you, even the nonsense thing they are saying about suspension, nobody can suspend a senator.
Wakili: You are playing to the gallery. You are playing your script. Who has ever spoken about your suspension?
Marafa: Let us talk about issues.
Wakili: I have discussed all these your issues in today’s Mirror.
Marafa: Mirror, which kind Mirror? Let us do it (address journalists).
Marafa: Who, my own?
Marafa: Ku samun Mirror (Get me National Mirror). I will respond to it. We raised issues. And we give orders (rules) and point of constitution order.
Wakili: That is not what your constituency sent you here (to do).
Marafa: Are you one of them?
Wakili: We are talking of poverty, education. You are wasting your energy here on useless point of order. I am warning you.
Marafa: It is not useless. You can’t say that order is useless.
Wakili: I will go to your constituency and see what you have done there.
Marafa: Go back. I will go to your own. I was in politics before you when you were wearing uniform (both senators started dragging each other’s attire at this point).
Wakili: Gentlemen of the press, there are issues bedevilling this country…. (Marafa interrupts him).
Marafa: Even if you are not God-fearing, because they made you chairman, a bloody newcomer chairman of a committee. That is why you are talking this way. I am not doing anybody’s game plan. I am speaking the minds of Nigerians.
Wakili: Come, you are a storm in the Senate teacup and a gadfly.
Marafa: I told you I was in politics when you were wearing uniform (still dragging Wakili’s attire).
Wakili: Leave me, look at it. That is not the issue. How old are you?
Marafa: It doesn’t matter.
Wakili: Let go.
Marafa: (Talking to journalists). He said he raised issues in National Mirror. Let him say the issues. I will respond to them here.
Wakili: You see, your experience has not helped you. It (Senate rules) says that where such a matter has been decided, you cannot raise it again.
Marafa: That is nonsense!
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