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Alaba Ogunsanwo: speaks the truth to power

The National Assembly is made up of looters – Alaba Ogunsanwo

A former Nigerian High Commissioner in Belgium and professor of political science Alaba Ogunsanwo declared that the National Assembly was filled with looters who have been “conspiring to loot to since 1999”. For them it was all about “sharing and looting”, according to Ogunsanwo.

He was interviewed on a Lagos TV station after Senator Dino Melaye and Representative Rotimi Agunsoye both of the All Progressives Congress (APC) had spoken about the resolution of the crisis in the National Assembly. Both legislators made reference to the sharing of positions in “juicy” committees such as works, as part of the means towards resolving the crisis.

Ogunsanwo said it was instructive that they were both speaking about “juicy” committees, because membership of such oversight committees provides opportunities for members of both Houses to “collect money from the executive”.

In response to whether the truce between the different factions of the APC in the National Assembly would hold, Ogunsanwo said there was “honour among those who want to share the loot as long as they keep their promises.”

Continuing he said “there is nothing about governance” in their discussions and it was just about sharing the loot. He said Nigeria had “put in place structures for looting. The whole system is corrupt. When something is built on corruption, corruption can’t kill corruption.”

On whether the National Assembly would help President Muhammadu Buhari in his alleged crusade against corruption, Ogunsanwo argued that they would only help as long as “he doesn’t step on their toes”.

According to the former ambassador, the “do or die” manner in which the legislators were elected was because of “what was at stake. They were not talking about how to bake the cake, but talking about how to distribute it” among themselves.

He thought it was a waste of time talking about the salaries of legislators since most of the money they awarded themselves was in terms of allowances.

Representative Agunsoye later tried to save face on the issue of “juicy” committees by claiming unconvincingly that he meant that they were the sort of committees in which legislators had oversight over projects that they could steer to their constituencies.

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