Column Opinion

Nigeria, Cubana, And Our Donkey Business

By Prince Charles Dickson PhD

Proposed law on donkey ranching divides senators, Bill on Donkeys tears Senators apart, Senate Divided over Bill on Slaughtering, Breeding…Senate sets aside constitutional point of order for donkey business bill

Whichever headline suits…the crux of the matter is that last week a constitutional point of order during consideration of a bill to regulate donkey business in Nigeria was set aside yesterday following disagreement among senators.

As reported, the bill was passed despite disapproval from Senate Minority Leader Enyinnaya Abaribe and Senate Spokesman Ajibola Basiru (APC, Osun Central).

The bill tagged: ‘An Act to regulate the slaughter of donkeys and establish the breeding and ranching of donkey’s through the export certification value chain to mitigate the extinction of donkey’s and related matters, 2021’, was sponsored by Senate Leader Yahaya Abdullahi (APC, Kebbi State).

Basiru, a lawyer, reminded the chamber that no portion of the exclusive and concurrent components of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) gave the National Assembly powers to legislate on livestock.

He clarified that only state Houses of Assembly were lawfully empowered to handle the issue, stressing that further deliberation on the legislation was unconstitutional

As soon as the bill came up for consideration, Abaribe, relying on Section 4, 17-20, said the Senate lacked the powers to legislate on livestock and animal husbandry.

But Senate Deputy Chief Whip Aliyu Sabi Abdullahi failed to quote any section of the constitution to back his claims, insisting that the passage was necessary, despite the clear provisions of the law.

Senate President Ahmad Lawan however ruled in favour, saying: “If we are looking at the economic value of the donkey, not in terms of selling it, but in terms of keeping the environment balanced, I believe we have the jurisdiction to legislate on that.

“And based on our Standing Order 25, which gives me the chance donated by you to interpret the rules, I rule that we can go ahead and take this bill.”

Lawan, thereafter, referred the bill to the Committee on Agriculture and Rural Development to report back in two weeks.

Now with that out of the way we greeted with the Obi Cubana, and all the Ali and Biodun Cubanas of Nigeria, everyone went on overdrive regrading the fanfare, or better still the Naira rain that trailed the burial of the big boy hotelier Obinna, Nigerians sought to outdo themselves on opinions regarding how one should bury his mom, or how to spend money and why the monies was not expended or spended like a former Minister once put it.

Nigeria is a country of donkey business, cow business, fowl business and all businesses but we never seem to get it right in the business of good governance or development. We major over minor, while every nation is leaving us behind. We have stayed with donkeys as worsening insecurity exposes our lack of a governance structure, we have a nation on the brink, and are more bothered about donkeys, the business of killing them, and cubana.

We have forgotten the Islamiyya children, scores of them are sick, and we are more fixated ‘cubana-ing’. Meanwhile truth be told, one of the many lessons that one can pick from the Cubana and Donkey business is that Nigeria may not be breaking into the proverbial pieces or the Biafra, Odua, and Arewa Republics are nowhere close.

We need the foolishness that comes with discussing donkeys at the National Assembly, and the Naira rain of Oba Burial to understand a little about what our values are. We need to understand that in all the donkey business of the National Assembly, if you take the Senate as an example, you would notice despite the hue and cry, not a single Senator has been kidnapped, no legislator at the National Assembly has suffered the trauma of a kidnapped wife, girlfriend, sidechick, son or daughter, so why would ewe not discuss donkeys.

Cubana things came and went, no unknown gunmen, no kidnapping, there is something delicious about Nigeria, such that it is not only the rice that taste nice, but even the charcoal used in cooking is sweet, so no matter how much lamentation, every week provides a break from the reality of our nation.

What feedback gets to our leaders, do they reflect, do our leaders set aside ego, or they see themselves as demigods. And when we scold our leaders and make all sorts of demands, who are we as a people?

It has lately been called the bribe-for-job scandal, most people are talking about it like it is new but really is it new, or is it a case of business gone sour, business as usual or simply put, it is escalating? Well, let me say in my admonition that it comes in many shades; do not mind our dramatic nature, now the National Assembly seems to be so interested when indeed they are equally involved. My fellow Nigerians do not worry, nothing will change, at least not anytime soon, but we will keep talking, let’s not give up.

We are pontificating on Obi Cubana, and the Cubanas, when in reality, we are all the Cubanas, that is why our senators can comfortably be discussing donkeys…

Let me put it this way, all the Cubanas complaining about Obi Cubana are the same people that do bribe-for-job, bribe-for-admission, bribe-for-marks, bribe-for-promotion, bribe-for-transfer, bribe-for-nysc, bribe-for-justice/injustice, bribe-for-treatment, bribe-for-bail, bribe-to-lead, from private to public sector, our Cubanaism has no religion, to say the sarcastic least, while Christians and Muslims fight, if the matter is bribe related, they all become pagans, if the bribe is in millions, both Yoruba and Igbos, Niger Delta and Hausa persons claim to be patriotic Nigerians…it’s one thing that unites us; Cubana and Donkeys!

Nigeria and her Cubana culture has left us as a nation in a state of neither here nor there. Many Nigerians feign ignorance of this phenomenon that has not just eaten into our moral fabric but has equally torn it into different bits, shreds and pieces.

A family has a health emergency and it runs to the National Hospital or any of the many docile general, teaching and specialist hospitals littered across the country and the first question you are asked is “hope you know someone”? You must know at least a messenger, at best a doctor, a nurse or auxiliary staff before you will be attended to. You need to facilitate the process or you have yourself to blame. After paying, you bribe-for-bed, bribe-for-drugs, bribe-for-a-good-doctor, it is almost a case of bribing your way all through to the great beyond.

You must know Cubana or you are a donkey, Cubana will give you a letter or complimentary card from some Minister, ‘big woman or bigger man’, with some phrase like “assist the bearer he is from me”.

Let me explain the donkey business that berths the cubana thought process, a parastatal has an opening for 2000 workers–The National Assembly gets 500, Ministers get 60, another 40 is shared around, governors get a 100, and then the ruling party and bigger beings get 1000, we have barely 300 to go through several hundreds of thousands that have applied.

These slots are sold for money, racketeered by syndicates, sold for sex, sold for who your dad, mom, uncle, aunt or family is, it is sold for where you come from, and other favors. We then end up complain that some people are discussing donkeys, and wail that Cubana and his friends were vain in his mom’s burial, truth is until we do a cubanaout of the business of governance, and start discussing great developmental strides, what we become—Only time will tell

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