Ah, the Nigerian senate is a peculiar machine. It cares for itself so much, it allocates for itself a budget more than that of at least sixteen states of the federation (based on 2015 estimates), and senators don’t like being questioned or even asked to open up on how they spend the money allocated to them from our common wealth.
Yet, you still see hearing rooms like the one in the photo below inside the complex. Then you want to ask: Where is all the money? But you know they won’t answer you.
Senators resumed this week after a long recess, the type of which, 99 per cent of working class Nigerians are not entitled to. At its hearing room 2, our friends at OrderPaper.Ng saw the chairs below.
If the senate was open with its budget, we probably would have seen that last year, monies were budgeted to maintain or refurbish these chairs, yet see how they look.
This is why Nigerians really need to hold Bukola Saraki and Yakubu Dogara to their words and demand that once we get past this phase of missing budgets and an actual budget is passed, the national assembly must open up that budget to the public for scrutiny.
By the way, it’s not hard to tell why these chairs look this dreadful. Senators do not sit on these ones. Their place in these hearing rooms is on the “high table” – the chairs on the high table are well maintained. As for the MDAs, groups, journalists and others who attend the committee briefings and hearings in these rooms, they can sit on these things for all our distinguished senators care. From their perch above, they’ll be looking down on the mere mortals in the dilapidated chairs and would say in their heart in Don Jazzy’s voice: “If it’s the nice seats you want, come and collect it.”