By Idoko Ainoko
The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria continues to exude the airs of a circus. A place meant to be a hallowed shrine of democracy has been reduced into an assembly where the most ludicrous farce plays out not once but on a continual basis. No wonder, Nigerians upon whom the lawmakers continually play their crude jokes have learnt not to take the selected representatives seriously anymore. The place crawls with accidental senators who ordinarily should be pursuing careers on the dark side of human existence.
The latest of such scam artists that dominate the lawmaking arm of government is the Chairman, Senate Committee on Navy, Senator Isah Hamman Misau (Bauchi Central), who has decided to point an accusing finger while forgetting that his other fingers point at him. Apparently drawing from the opacity surrounding a Senator’s monthly earnings, which Nigerians have repeatedly heard is mind boggling, Senator Misau `somehow became a mathematical wiz kid who arrived at a bizarre ballpark of N10 billion as what the Inspector General of Police, Ibrahim Idris makes on a monthly basis. That translates into N120 billion monthly or almost the equivalent of the annual budget of several states.
Misau must have, as a Deputy Superintended of Police (DSP), been extorting his subordinates to expect that his fraudulent ways run through the entire system and that the IG being higher up must be earning billions. This implies that the Senator must have been the brains behind some of those notorious extortion by policemen at illegal roadblocks and checkpoints so that they can meet the target he set for the “boys”. In a country where it is generally acknowledged that the cost of running for election is too high, perhaps Misau wants to shed some light on how he was able to pay the N3.3 million for the All Progressives Congress (APC) nomination form in the 2015 elections using his earnings as a DSP. This is not factoring the tens or even hundreds of millions needed for the campaign trail.
It is logical for Misau to claim that some benevolent sponsors foot the bill for actualizing his political goal only that this would be worse than committing robberies at checkpoints. Anyone that could sponsor a character like him to the Senate can only be from the crime world where they continually have a desire to have a stranglehold over the legislature, which ensures that no meaningful legislation that would stop criminality would ever be passed. Misau would have thus proving himself to be a proxy for criminals, an accident in the National Assembly, a mistake that must be corrected.
Talking of correcting past mistakes, one must blame the police for not alerting Nigerians early enough to the accidental senator in the Red Chamber of the National Assembly. The police should have raised the red flag even before Misau’s inauguration to inform Nigerians that a police deserter was in the upper house. The failure of police to do this promptly has enabled the senator to add the crime of forgery to his resume that reads like a charge sheet.
Whichever way the matter goes, the constituents of Bauchi Central Senatorial District must be the wiser now that Misau has exposed his true intent as someone fixated on attention seeking. He could have focused on representation of lawmaking which would have placed him in good reckoning with his people. Instead, he wanted to grandstand by making baseless accusations against men who are giving their best to make the society secured.
If the police force or the position of IGP were as lucrative as Misau tried to make Nigerians believe, one wonders why he did not stay put to attain the rank of Inspector General of Police or even Assistant Inspector General of Police so that he too can cart billions home on a monthly basis. Also, if he is truly patriotic and concerned about corruption as he now claims to be, would it not have been preferable that he stayed in the force, rise to a leadership position and make a deference as opposed to playing to the gallery. Assuming he even somehow managed to sneak a resignation letter into the archives of the Police Service Commission with accomplices doctoring an acknowledgement letter to the same effect, the very fact that he ran away at a time when he could have remained to fight the perceived rot in the system is enough proof that he has a penchant for deserting his responsibility.
Even the faceoff he got into with the police is evidence of a man who never sticks to what he signed up for. He got the mandate to represent his constituents in the Senate yet he has abandoned that very assignment to do the bidding of the highly place criminals that put him there, since his resources could not have paid for his political activities anyway.
One must charge the police to eschew the rigmarole of dealing with these pieces of information as bits for media excitement. That would be sending the wrong signal to young officers in the Police Force who will be corrupted to walk in Misau’s way and see deserting as something that would be rewarded with a seat in the National Assembly while fraudsters will think that forgery is cool since the Police did not prosecute one of their own who is guilty of the same offence. The police must therefore dispense with this media brickbat and properly charge Misau before a competent court since there is evidence of his forgery.
On his part, Senator Misau should do the Senate a service as an institution that Nigerians are constantly reminded of as being distinguished. Instead of replying to the media, who are not his accusers, he should dare step forward to the nearest police station to appropriately make his statement and hand himself in. By so doing he would get his day in court when he is charged as a deserter who engaged in forgery. He would get the chance to either clear himself if found not guilty and acquitted or pay for his transgressions in prison if convicted.
Ainoko is a civil rights activist and contributed this piece from Barnawa, Kaduna State.