Some Nigerians have criticised Godswill Akpabio, the president of the Senate after he revealed that senators have been sent money to enable them to enjoy their recess.
In a video that went viral on Wednesday morning, Akpabio was heard saying the clerk of the National Assembly has disbursed funds to all senators to enable them to enjoy their holiday.
“In order to enable all of us to enjoy our holidays, a token has been sent to our various accounts by the clerk of the National Assembly,” Akpabio said.
Not long after Akpabio made the statement and after deliberating with some of his colleagues, he withdrew the statement, saying instead prayers have been sent to the mailboxes of respective senators.
“I withdraw that statement. To allow you to enjoy your holiday, the Senate president has sent prayers to your mailboxes to assist you to go on a safe journey and return,” Akpabio said in the statement.
Following the development, Nigerians who spoke to BusinessDay knocked Akpabio and the leadership of the country.
Many Nigerians accused the lawmakers of putting their personal interests above the nation, noting that despite the prevailing harsh economy and rising poverty in Nigeria, they had allocated huge amounts to themselves as allowances among other benefits.
Some said the senators’ conduct was disgraceful, while the Senate was rowdy and unorganised during plenary.
Reacting, Uyi Samuel tweeted that the leadership of the Senate was insensitive to the plight of Nigerians.
“They keep sharing money while Nigerians are suffering. This is an act of wickedness,” he said.
Similarly, Samuel Okon said the problem of Nigeria was leadership, noting that there was a need for a change in the current crop of political leaders for the country to move forward.
According to him, “Akpabio’s comment was a confirmation that we do not have leaders in Nigeria but politicians who are only after their selfish interests. Look at how people are suffering and they still allocate huge allowances and other benefits to themselves.
“The earliest we recognise that these men are parasites to this blessed nation, the better we have a chance of moving ahead.”
“But maybe it is what we deserve because if the election comes today, we would put sentiment, ethnic and religious coloration to it”.
Uwa Chukwudi, said there was no need for the current bi-cameral legislature because it was a waste, as most of the lawmakers were not contributing anything meaningful to the country.
He advised that Nigeria should revert to the parliamentary system used in the first republic.
“We don’t need a bicameral legislature; one house is okay. I think the current system is too expensive, I really don’t see what these guys are doing that we are paying them so much for.
“The senators are just sitting in the hall doing nothing yet they share taxpayers’ money at every given opportunity. I would suggest we revert back to the first republic system”, Chukwudi said.
Also speaking in a Twitter message on her handle, Kassandra Ugochukwu, said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) lawmakers had instituted another form of corruption and money sharing in the National Assembly.
According to her, “The era of ‘Ghana-Must-Go bags’ is over, the APC era is for tokens in their bank accounts or emails. No wonder they no longer fight on the floor of the house and none of them bring in thugs to hijack the mace to his village. It is all rubber stamps or paper marks.”
Rotimi Ebenezer said Nigerian politicians and corruption were ‘five and six’, adding that Akpabio changed his tune when he realised he was on live TV.
“He changed it when he realised he was still on national TV. God bless Nigeria”, Rotimi said.
Also, Eno Luke, another Nigerian, noted that Nigerians should learn from the mistake of voting wrong people into public office, saying that he was not surprised by their conduct.
“Nigerians have refused to learn from their mistakes. We continue voting these guys into power and see what we are getting; it is shameful to be sharing money when people can’t even afford to eat once.
“The electorate is more than the elected yet the elected eat better than the electorate, Nigeria is unreal.”
Another Twitter user who simply goes by the name Peace, on social media, said the senators’ action was shameful.
“Just look at these shameless Nigerian senators. Meanwhile, people can’t even afford to put on a generator from 7-10 pm again. A shame,” she tweeted: