Joe Effiong, Uyo,
Two former senators from Akwa Ibom State, Sen Helen Esuene and Sen Effiong Bob, have decried the seeming divisiveness and partisanship currently observed among the national assembly members.
While Bob has warned that sticking strictly to party lines in dealing with issues bordering on the national interest if not checked, could spell doom to the current democratic experience, Esuene expressed her pains at the way the members, especially, the senator politicise everything.
Bob, who is also the former chairman, Senate Committee on Services during Obasanjo and Jonathan’s administrations, said if the national assembly members were aware that they would be the first casualty of the collapse of the democratic government, they would have jettisoned their partisanship and fought in a united front.
“If the legislators knew what the institution is all about when there is a threat from external forces, they should be united to defend the institution.
“In the Senate where I was, anybody that threatened the integrity of the Senate from within or outside, they would close ranks and deal with that situation. In fact, if the Senate takes a position and you as a senator go behind to do something contrary, the Senate would suspend you indefinitely.
“The national assembly members themselves have a role to play. They should not play partisan politics because if the house collapses, nobody would be spared,” he said.
On her part, Esuene, who is also a former minister for environment, said the behaviour of some national assembly members in recent times had really killed her passion for the going back to the Senate.
“I am happy I did not opt to return to the Senate. What is happening there today is unfortunate; the infighting, backstabbing etc. In the recent past we play a more refined politics there; a member may tell you he will shot down your bill and may do so and we disagreed to agree but we were more like a family.
A few times, voices were raised, we settled amicably almost immediately.
“However, when I see the way and manner they play politics in the National Assembly today, I feel pained,” she said.
They, however, commended the PDP-led administration of Gov Udom Emmanuel for ensuring peaceful and progress-minded leadership especially in providing security, industries and political inclusiveness in the state.
The duo insisted that Emmanuel would win a second term, not only because of his performance, but also because of the tradition of second term fairness which the last two governors enjoyed.