Issues relating to women and the game of power have been known to steer emotions particularly from the fair sex. It does not matter if the reasoning is right, or if the audience is being convinced, but there must be emotions anyway. And when it starts, it stays. I do not expect this piece to make me popular among women, and I would not care. Someone is carrying the banner of women wrongly and that person must have to pay a price, or all the women will pay later.
The speaker of Anambra State House of Assembly Mrs Chinwe Nwaebili is presiding over what can only aspire to hive its name. She presides over a house that had to sit for ten minutes and adjourn till the next day, repeat the same ‘feat’ the next day and follow up until her house attained the required number of sitting days enshrined in the constitution, for the year 2012.
Yet someone thinks we should clap for her, give her a chieftaincy title or award her a doctorate degree in mushroom universities or better still make a two-week old nongovernmental organization to declare her the speaker of the year 2012. Are these not some of the ways modern politicians of Nigeria put a stamp of virtue on impunity?
But why with all the problems and challenges in a state would a house fall short of its legislative days? Let’s put our guesses together. Close –door sessions, so limitless in number and time span; holidays and jamborees that are never in short supply and ,yes missing in action or looking the other way to let the executive have their way, for a price. All this while legislative duties call and the state yearn for democracy at the state and especially at the local government levels of government.
The last seems at place as all 30 members of the Anambra State House of Assembly led by madam speaker are in South Africa now. They are not there to compare notes with the parliament, or to behold the checks and balances offered by the parliament in Cape Town to the executive in Tshwane (Pretoria). They are not there to see in Etekwini Secretariats (Durban) how the counterparts of Paul Odenigbo, ex-secretary to the state government who made the house approve the sack of a state ‘independent’ electoral boss in two hours are keeping to the norms of civilized governance. They are there to watch Super Eagles in their draw soup and 15 other nations across eight venues play football. They are there on holiday that will cost the state government nothing less than N 0.5 billion and all is right and quiet and under the hand and seal of Governor Peter Obi, who they should check.
They are not away when the tide of legislative work is low. They are not there when governance for 2013 is on autopilot. They are there when the 2013 budget proposal of the executive, wishy-washy as many think the package sounds is supposed to be under serious scrutiny and deliberations so that the embedded graft of pretending to construct new roads that only require minor repairs can get the proper reaction.
They have surrendered themselves to be distracted by the executive. Before they come back, priced assets and pieces of heritage of the state would have been taken over by individuals in the state government with some jigging that surrenders only a painful minority to the common till, just like we have seen in some brewery at Onitsha.
Are you expecting anything more than a roaring: ‘A-P-P-R-O-O-V-E-D!’ when the party is over? Think again!!
Before they come back there may be no need to question why 50 citizens, able –bodied men in the prime of human capital will be found dead floating on a river that supplies water to the communities represented in the house. They would have helped to sweep the events under the carpet. Little wonder the house has not intervened on, that morbid drama, even when the Federal House of Representatives have issued a resolution?
Before they come back from this long-drawn holiday which began in the third week of December 2012 and ends in the first week of February, the false claims made by the executive in a so called good governance tour where legislators and major stakeholders in Anambra state were missing would be something of distant memory.
Before they come back, January will of course be gone, and whatever compromise remains to be signed as budget 2013 would be signed in February or March, half-way through half-hazard implementation to foist a fait accompli on a state that lies prostrate, waiting to be governed.
And yet they have a house, a leadership and a woman who is creating a bad market for those who argue that women deserve more places in government positions. And with some kindness and historical depth, she should not have done so. The last woman in that position failed to rise up to the occasion when some hoodlums broke into the house in 2005 and told her that the governors had resigned, asking her to convene a meeting to accept the resolution, and she did. Of course she was impeached. So why should the eraser be another offending pencil, even if she is not the popular choice of her constituency?
If you ask me and this is nothing personal, Mrs Chinwe Nwaebili should board the next available airplane from South Africa and return to Anambra State to resign immediately and apologies to the people of Anambra State on this development so that a new leadership can hold the executive accountable on the many flaws that Nwaebili is ignoring to protect a fading position.
I have heard many say that Anambra State has no house, but I thought that at least if they lack the conscience to do their work of checking the executive, they should be able to avoid this wholesale endorsement of the executives naked corruption, where money good enough to give the people of Anambra State water coming from taps inside their homes, rather than proposed and half-abandoned waterworks in far-between locations is lavished in a frivolous wholesale jamboree.
But then if Anambra has elected a house that neither its members through their conduct, nor the executive for obvious reasons have allowed to work, where are the fillers? Where are the pressure groups? Where are the elders of Anambra State and the traditional rulers? Where are the opposition political parties? Where are those who aspire to lead and where are those who clamor to take their turn at the governorship seat? Where are the NGOs? Where are the constituents?
Something tells me that Anambra State is bleeding financially and someone somewhere has to stop the hemorrhage. But then who? Is it you? Is it me? Is it Governor Obi? Is it Speaker Nwaebili? Hell no! In every civilized clime where the issues in Anambra today are enough to call off a holiday, she would have been on her way out of the house by now. But for now we are okay with letting someone else ‘speak’.
Over to Ndi Anambra
Dr Ozue writes from Nnewi