When he first arrived the Senate in 2007, Senator Smart Adeyemi won a nickname among some Senate correspondents as Man of God.
He was so described on account of his revulsion at the state of things in the polity and even in the Senate.
It was said that when senators gathered privately to discuss issues of “Ways and Means” that is, matters of welfare and Senator Adeyemi was sighted coming, that the senators would quickly change the topic of discussion.
That was generally because of the allegation that he was the one who leaked to the media, issues that senators preferred to keep private.
At sessions where Adeyemi on account of his status as a senator could not be excluded, senators would end the discussion by saying that if it leaked that they know where it came from.
They would say it to his hearing ‘we will know where it leaked from if what we have discussed comes out in the newspapers.’
The perception of Senator Adeyemi inevitably led to the situation that he somewhat started avoiding reporters.
However, whatever imputations his colleagues held of the former national president of the Nigerian Union of Journalists, NUJ, Adeyemi at that time did not give up on using the Senate floor to speak out in the defence of the common man and the ungodly state of affairs in Nigeria.
As such, till the Dino Melaye interregnum, he held on to the nickname of ‘Man of God.’ He was seen as a man who spoke truth to power irrespective of the fact that he belonged at that time to the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. That was then.
So, when ‘Man of God’ now a member of the All Progressives Congress, APC last Tuesday took to the Senate floor to chastise Governor Okeize Ikpeazu of Abia State as a drunkard, some would have seen it as part of his calling as God’s servant to speak against debauchery.
But Senator Enyinninya Abaribe who represents Ikpeazu as Abia South Senator was quick to rebuff the allegations and demand a retraction.
But Adeyemi did not. It was later alleged that Adeyemi’s tirade was meant to even scores with Senator Abaribe who had years ago lambasted Governor Yahaya Bello as a youth unfit for leadership.
Abaribe’s tirade came after senators who went for an empowerment programme in Kogi State were ambushed by thugs during the event.
The point of the two senators fighting proxy wars for their governors must be shocking, especially two governors who are not held in esteem in terms of delivery of democracy dividends.
While some say that Bello is not as bad as he is painted and that his negative image is a product of some of his aides, others will say that Adeyemi’s duty if he has any, should be to pray for him as a ‘Man of God.’
If not, then to expose the aides who have given Governor Bello the bad image with which he is viewed in the country.
Senator Abaribe’s defence of Governor Ikpeazu is also seen in the same light. Few would forget how a few months ago a son of Governor Nasir El-Rufai went on Twitter to call out Governor Ikepazu over the bad roads in Aba, chiding as unbelievable that Abia has a governor!
If Nigerian senators had been reduced to defending the worst of governors, a former governor turned senator last Sunday, actually presented the sorry diminishment of the institution.
Senator Rochas Okorocha’s escapade on Sunday when he stormed Owerri to repossess property seized from him by the present administration was an undistinguished conduct. The viral video of an S.A. to Governor Hope Uzodinma patting him on the back and the two men exchanging words must have been very condescending.
The humiliation of Senator Okorocha according to eyewitnesses was more than what the viral videos showed. The gist of the former governor running and hiding as thugs from the opposite camp approached was the butt of joke in some quarters.
A son-in-law who was the target of the thugs from the other side was said to have leaped over the fence.
Further humiliation of the Senate came on Wednesday when members of the Senate Committee on Niger Delta visited Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
After hailing the governor for his infrastructure projects, the governor rebuked the senators over their endorsement of the former service chiefs as ambassadors.
Like many people of rational disposition, Wike wondered why those who were found complicit in their last major assignments were being rewarded with new duties. The Senate had indeed asked them to be fired at least three times!
It is noteworthy that the visiting senators did not raise any issue over the way they were rebuked by their host. That is because that has become the norm with the present Senate.
That fact was again brought to bear when within a week of the nomination of Abdulrasheed Bawa as chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, the Senate confirmed him for the position.
Though celebrated for his scholarship, the Senate, many observed, did not pay due diligence to issues surrounding the nomination and quickly went on to confirm him without as much as putting an exercise in rigorous interrogation of the nomination.
Remembering the Chuba Okadigbo, David Mark, and preceding Senates the diminution of the glory and splendour of the institution is indeed glaring.