On the Paradoxical Wailing in Zamfara


Adamu Hassan
The right word in the above caption could have been “legislators’, but with an apology to Randolf Quirk, grammar is neither my popular junk nor my palatable eatery. In fact, I pour out my reasoning unarranged and directly from my conscience. Its blunt and scathing nature is definitely intended.

The marked difference between dictatorship of all sorts and modern democracy is the provision of an institution that is called legislature. A dictator designs the laws and executes them personally through cabals. In democracy, a certain body is charged with the responsibility of making the laws while its execution is left in the hands of the executive, with a caveat of an oversight function by the makers of the law for better review. The legislature is, therefore, a powerful institution in curtailing executive rascality and in ensuring checks and balances in governance.

Alas! It has never been the case in Zamfara State. Since the advent of democracy in 1999, the state has had a legislative house. But except the executive bills, one cannot pin-point a single bill sponsored privately by any of the legislators. In fact, the laws inherited from the old Sokoto State, known as Green Books, are the only pieces of legislation operating in our courts.

Shamefully, a lawyer in court, while citing a statutory authority, will have to say “section so and so of so and so law, Cap so and so, Laws of Sokoto State applicable in Zamfara State.” This is still so 20 years after the creation of Zarnfara Sate. What an embarrassment!
The lawyers reading this piece will bear me witness.

More so, the so-called lawmakers in Zamfara State are never short-changed, whether in remuneration or logistics. In addition to the jumbo salaries they are statutorily entitled to, like others that are at par with them, they have their operational allowances.

Now if I may advise, legislative functions include law-making, representing the people, performing oversight functions, helping constituents and educating the people. I do not need to say more concerning the law-making function of the lawmakers in Zamfara State. As for representation, the adage that says “all politics is local” applies aptly to members of legislative body. These members, ordinarily, must please their constituencies if they want to stay in office. The weapon of recall enshrined in the constitution is there to be applied to punish an erring member.

Close scrutiny of the actions of members of Zamfara State House of Assembly can tell even a reasonable blind man that they care less about representing their people. They will rather represent their pockets. How could one explain their silence on all issues except the issue of their monthly allowances, disregarding the state of the nation and its economy?

I am not a mouth piece for the executive, but I have to be fair to it. In the heyday, during the oil boom, the present administration did all it could to provide the necessary infrastructure in the form of good roads, potable water, well-ventilated classrooms for learning and well equipped hospitals. Even now that the economy is down, it is still trying to meet the expectations of people regarding such public utilities.

It is the duty of members of the House of Assembly in the state, being the representatives of the people, to educate the people on this vital government policy of providing the necessary infrastructure for the state. We cannot gamble with our meagre resources. We don’t have the liberty to do like the older states. We are emerging. We are in the nursery stage.
But here they are joining the chorus that chastises the executive for not being extravagant. They ran from pillar to post condemning the executive just because, like all other sectors of the government, the money to impress their offices is not available. Impresses their redundant offices more important than the continued provision of infrastructure in these trying times, when the mono-economy of the nation seems to crumble? They should know that it is no more business as usual in Nigeria.

Why can’t they take a cue from other parliamentarians the world over? The former prime minister of the UK, David Cameron, being the head of his party in parliament for 11 years and for six years as the prime minister, had no ready accommodation when he resigned. He had to consult an estate agent after parking from 10, Downing Street. He was only helped “by a friend, Sir Alan, with an emergency accommodation because his modest family home at Notting Hill was rented out. He is from the conservative, a capitalist party. All the members of the House of Assembly in Zamfara are from APC, a party that seems to be tilted to the wishes of the masses.

Now hear this from me: nemesis will catch up with you for abandoning the masses and for reacting at the wrong time for a wrong cause. Nemesis will catch up with you for misleading your people to believe that you have a good cause and painting the executive bad just because of your self-aggrandisement. Nemesis will catch up with you when the masses turn against you, when they know their rights and, therefore, demand from you what they deserve. Nemesis will catch up with you, ultimately, in 2019, when you need another mandate to come back to the legislative house or seek for another political office. Finally, nemesis will catch up with you when the readers of this piece share my emotions and feelings and so are no longer paradoxically wailing.