“A doubtful friend is worse than a certain enemy. Let a man be one thing or the other, and we then know how to meet him.” – Aesop
Say what you want to say about Kabiru Marafa, the distinguished Senator representing Zamfara Central constituency in the 8th National Assembly, but never call him a shy one. Since the emergence of Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki as the President of the Senate, Senator Marafa has continually and consistently made himself an attempted visible thorn in the side of the Senate President.
Just a few weeks ago, in the days leading up to the submission of the first ministerial list to the Senate, Senator Marafa’s veins became visibly protruded at the Senate plenary as he flashed handsigns of ‘Waka!’ at a few of his colleagues that opposed his point of order on the Vote of Confidence passed on the Senate President.
In the days following the announcement of the Senate Standing Committees by the Senate President, Marafa granted a well-publicized article stating that he thought Saraki had done right in the constitution of the Senate committees, and there would be no cause for alarm.
Many like me thought that this development spelled out that peace would once again rein in the Senate, and the Unity Forum and Like Minds camps, would again merge back to being one strong and united majority party. However, this was too much to ask for.
Flash-forward to Tuesday, November 10, 2015, Marafa began to (for lack of a better phrase) ‘change mouth.’ The same man, who had previously been content with his selection as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on National Identity & National Population – Grade A committee, given the population census is set to occur next year, came to the floor of the Senate armed with a new argument; he was changing his mind from his earlier statement. According to Marafa’s new point of view, Saraki had skewed the numbers of committees in favour of certain interests.
Now, given his earlier belief that Saraki had done well by the Senators in the constitution of the committees, it is difficult to take Marafa seriously anymore. As it stands, the math is clear, and the masses of Senators seem satisfied with the composition of the Senate committee leadership. However, as we have seen recently in the House of Representatives, with Femi Gbajabiamila’s immature strongman tactics, it is clear that the role that Marafa is playing is not to point out the orders that have been breached, but to constantly ‘chook’ Saraki – regardless of whether he is at fault for an issue or not.
I mean, common, with the Unity Forum frontman, Ahmed Lawan set to Chair the Committee on Defence, while George Akume, his lieutenant, set to head the Committee on Army, and other Unity Forum stalwarts like Remi Tinubu set to head the Committee on Women Affairs, it is clear that at this point, obstructionism by any means necessary is the main tactic and agenda of Marafa.
If Marafa wants to be taken seriously moving forward, he must be a spokesman of his Senate pressure group who says what he means, means what he says, and stands by what he says. Otherwise, observant Nigerians will begin to question if all the noise that Marafa makes at the Senate is for personal gain (i.e. assignment of juicy committees), or, if he is actually and truly concerned about the Senate. Only time will tell.
However, Marafa’s first words on the Senate Committee assignments still stand. And the politics that he intends to play on the floor of the Senate regarding this issue, must be monitored by Nigerians. This is because, more than six months into this APC-led government, some of our lawmakers have elected to work, while others have chosen the path of making noise, getting loud, and slowing Nigeria down through their petty squabbles at the Apex legislative chamber in the country.
John Elias is a young journalist/writer with a deep love for Nigeria.