‘Joy of the Senate’: Does Jonathan sanction Rigging?

by Eferovo Igho

The story of Joy Emordi’s senatorial seat theft or election rigging and attempt by her and the then Senate to frustrate legal judgment against her is within easy recall. The election tribunal told it with unmistakable constructs. But the Nigerian Senate will not hear any of it. In fact, while the case lasted in the tribunal, as far as Senator David Mark was concerned Joy Emordi was the ‘Joy of the Senate’. And you know that can be variously interpreted. Senator David Mark never stopped to recognize Emordi on the floor of Nigerian Senate as ‘Joy of the Senate’! Of course, trivialization in the process of law making was almost a norm in the last national parliament under David Mark and Dimeji Bankole!

In his Exit the King, Eugène Ionesco, the Romanian-born French playwright, noted that: “Many people have delusions of grandeur but you’re deluded by triviality.” We saw law-making being trivialized in many ways including this ‘Joy of the Senate’ thing. To the senators it appeared that the exit of Emordi would terminate their joy, happiness, and pleasure and so crudity was employed to keep Alphonsus Igbeke away. And how bad we all felt seeing Igbeke humiliated by Mark and his undistinguished friends! But the ‘Joy of the Senate’ exited the Senate anyway, despite all that suspicious support the Senate gave Emordi!

That concert of unsavoriness by the PDP members in the Senate in the face of obvious election rigging by Emordi and confirmed by an election tribunal remains one thing this writer cannot understand. And how it blatantly disobeyed judicial pronouncements and even went ahead to bar Igbeke the owner of that seat from entering the Senate chambers is even more worrying. Well, never mind that when Igbeke finally had his mandate restored due to public outcry he himself turned out to be a horrible fellow and perhaps messier at the end of the day than Emordi. But this is a chapter on Emordi.

Today, this same Emordi is Jonathan’s pick to advise him on National Assembly matters and to connect him with our national law makers. ‘Joy of the Senate’ indeed! Today, Emordi is the link between the Executive and Legislative arms of our national government. Today, Emordi is very key in making the laws that would define our Nigerianess from henceforth. What a return of ‘the Joy of the Senate’ to the Senate (and now the House of Representatives in addition) through the back door! Could Jonathan be the strength of the affront the then Senate gave the Judiciary and all of us in the matter of Emordi and Igbeke? Is this Emordi’s reward for stealing the peolple’s mandate or for sitting tight in the Senate despite Judicial pronouncement that forbade her to so sit, or for both? Is Jonathan’s action here meant to shame the electorate in Emordi’s constituency who voted Igbeke though probably a messier person or to humiliate the judiciary that stood with democracy in this matter or to rubbish the public outcry that trailed the Senate’s damnable stance? This Jonathan’s insensitiveness is reminiscence of the insensitiveness of Obasanjo that we acquiesced with for eight years of our national life. Or does Jonathan really believe Emordi is the ‘Joy of the Senate’ and could therefore propitiate the Senate and House of Representatives by this appointment that puts huge question mark on Jonathan’s professed respect for the judiciary, democracy and the citizenry? How now can Jonathan make those of us who have been standing by him with our pens to continue to believe that he will really lead with public opinion in mind?

Are there not people who have served the nation well as Senators or Representatives without stolen mandate and without rubbishing our judicial system that Jonathan can appoint as his National Assembly adviser and middle man? How can Emordi now be thought of as running rings around such persons? Emordi stole! Or, how else can you interpret rigging, especially when it is confirmed by the Judiciary? With such tainted background, can a Joy Emordi be made National Adviser on National Assembly matters in sane climes? What job has an Emordi got to do in a similar capacity say in the U.S.?

Jonathan must not be seen as saying things he does not believe in. His action would always speak better than his words. We may have believed his words and have therefore staked our necks for him in his very trying times. But one huge wrong action as this Emordi’s appointment could dry up the reservoir of trust we have for him. So, please allow election riggers and offenders of our laws know some shame. Those who think they are above our laws must know some reformation and be seen to be good citizens over time before we can consider them for such crucial offices. Emordi may have been the David Mark’ ‘Joy of the Senate’, but to many of us she was actually the ‘sadness of the Senate’ and this is how she would be seen by all Senators if this is America. This is how any American President would see her too. So, Jonathan needs to see clearly.

Emordi is like a student expelled from a school for worst of crimes, and who we all would agree without question cannot, in the very next breath, be contracted by the principal to advise him on student matters. Nothing can be more absurd in democracy if this is tolerated. So, Emordi cannot now be the bridge between the National Assembly and the presidency. This lady cannot be in the driving seat of advising and by extension of making laws that will drive the nation in the next four years and beyond including electoral laws which she already has shown a knack of sabotaging; and laws which the judiciary must interpret and which interpretation Emordi do not believe in anyway, and could disregard when it affects her, given her antecedent. So, is it the fellow at this end Emordi has been contracted to tidy up laws for?

Really, should breakers of our laws be employed to play the role Emordi has been tapped to play and be paid from our commonwealth? This is a shame; at least that is what it will be outside Nigeria. And let it be so here. It will be interesting to hear Reuben Abati defending his new boss here. Has he really any explanation that can ring true or will he now begin to speak from the other side of the jaw! Anyway, Joy Emordi is one officer in Jonathan’ new team that is unqualified before day one. She cannot ensconce on that national team. And so, Jonathan should off-load her today.

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