The Nigerian Senate is under attack once again from Professor Itse Sagay, chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC). This time around, he also decreed that the country’s senators should not be addressed as ‘distinguished’ because they have “no honour, no vision, no integrity”.
Last week, Abdullahi Sabi, spokesman of the senate, came down hard on the senior lawyer, saying the federal government was losing many corruption cases because Sagay had failed in his advisory role.
But speaking in Lagos on Thursday, the professor of law said the attachment of “distinguished” to the names of the federal lawmakers is a “horrible bastardisation and gross abuse” of that term.
“Our current ruling class, particularly the senators has no value, no honour, no vision, no integrity, no compassion for the sufferings of fellow Nigerians,” he said.
“The attachment of ‘distinguished’ to their names is a horrible bastardisation and gross abuse of that term. Now, I reject it with contempt when anyone addresses me with that unfortunate term.”
He also expressed support for restructuring, saying “it is inconceivable for any state to grow with this type of structure that puts states on welfare benefits”.
“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 classroom 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,” he said.
“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.”
Arguing that most of the problems in the north were self-inflicted, Sagay accused the leaders of the region of suppressing their people.
He said the despite the fact a greater part of the funds being shared in the federal capital territory (FCT) goes to north, the region has been lagging behind in terms of development.
“All the local government areas receive 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 there more poverty in the north than South?” he asked.