Nigerian Senators not deserving of being addressed as 'distinguished' - Sagay
The faceoff between Senators and Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Itse Sagay (SAN), continued on Thursday as the latter tongue-lashed the Federal lawmakers, saying that they were bastardising and abusing the word ‘Distinguished’ they were addressed as.
It would be recalled that the senators and the Professor of Law, Sagay have been at daggers drawn for some time with Sagay alleging the senators of milking the nation of its meagre resources while the lawmakers described him as a loose cannon, urging President Muhammdu Buhari to call him to order.
Sagay gave this latest onslaught while speaking at the Hallmarks of Labour Foundation Re-union in Lagos, saying that Nigeria was blessed with limitless natural resources but had failed to optimize the fortune.
According to him, the problem has further compounded by political elite, including senators who have lost value for integrity and honesty among others.
“Our current ruling class, particularly the Senators has no value, no honour, no vision, no integrity, no compassion for the sufferings of fellow Nigerians. The attachment of ‘Distinguished’ to their names is a horrible bastardization and gross abuse of that term. Now, I reject it with contempt when anyone addresses me with that unfortunate term,” he said.
Sagay, who agreed with the former President Olusegun Obasanjo on the need for mind restructuring in the country, contended that it would be inconceivable for any state to grow, giving the current system of government the country was running currently.
“It is a known fact that some governors spend more time in Abuja than in their respective states and at the end of every month, the 36 honourable commissioners of all the states of the federation will assemble in a class room at Abuja presided over by the Federal Minister of Finance to share money in the Federation Account based on a formula no one really understands.
“This money comes from three major sources, oil money from Niger Delta, duty collection and VAT from Lagos State. After sharing, the commissioners will head back to their respective governors for allocation sharing based on what they consider priorities and wait for the next monthly allocation. It is inconceivable for any state to grow with this type of structure that puts states on welfare benefits,” he said.
Speaking further, the chairman of PACAC pointed out that the plight of northern population were completely self inflicted , saying the elite and ruler in the region continued to suppress their own populations and keeping them down.
According to him, this was in spite of the fact that more of the national funds being shared in Abuja goes to Northern part of the country.
“All the Local Governments Areas received Federal allocation and with 419 LGAs in northern part as against 355 in southern part and 19 northern states as against 17 southern states, the bulk of national fund goes to the North. So why is more poverty in the North than South?” he queried.
Chairman of the occasion, former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, lamented that Nigeria as country had never been so divided as being witnessing lately, blaming the scenario on lack of historical knowledge by younger generation.
“The most regrettable aspect of it all is that history is no longer taught in our schools which mean that the younger generations are growing up unaware of the society values that existed earlier in this country. They are growing up not knowing the differences in ethnicity and religious in Nigeria,” Anyaoku said.
On his part, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Hallmark of Labour Foundation, Emeritus Prof Umaru Shehu, said that the body had in the last 21 years been recognizing exemplary men and women who against all odds had embraced hard work and integrity.
According to her, a total of 51 role models have been identified and recognized so far, adding: “Since inception, we have identified and recognised 51 role models.”
Also speaking, the Executive Secretary of Hallmark of Labour Foundation, Mrs Patricia Otuedon-Arawore, said that the foundation had continued to give Nigerian Youth positive choice and encourage them to follow the part of handwork and patriotism through character emulation.
“We invest in education through scholarship, youth empowerment. We also carried out health awareness. The foundation seeks support for their ongoing projects spread across the country,” she said.