A former governor of Imo State, Senator Rochas Okorocha (APC, Imo) last week, during Senate plenary, advocated for reduction in the number of senators from 109 to 36 to reduce the cost of governance in the country. “I want one senator and three House of Representatives members per state, this will cut expenses,” the senator said. However, opinions of a cross-section of Nigerians sampled in Abuja yesterday, was varied.
Bilya Yaro Lawan, 27
Well, this is a very good observation, taking into consideration the poor economic state the country and high rate of youth unemployment. Look at the huge amount they are receiving as their monthly salary. N36m each what for? Are they the only citizens of the country? I support this motion 100 percent because the huge salary will be used to tackle the unemployment in the country.
Kabiru Yusuf Ado, 32
Okorocha’s suggestion to reduce the number of senators to one in each state is not realistic and not even possible. They have legal and constitutional backing. Their roles are central in policymaking process as they hold accountable whatever decisions the government makes.
If he wants the cost of governance reduced, there are other ways to do that. For example, the proposed N5.5bn cars for the senators is unnecessary. They should cut their allowances, such as leave allowance, recess and entertainment allowances because they are needless.
Abraham Okpanachi Okade, 53
My reaction is that I do not support it because if it is done the masses will not be represented. For instance I’m from Kogi State, there are many tribes and each needs to be represented in the Senate and House of Representatives. So the present number is okay for each state. So if really they want to help the country and the masses, they can cut down their salaries and allowances. The senators, governors and even the president can cut down their salaries if they really want to help. Let them cut down the number of their aides to minimize the cost.
Shehu Usman Umaru, 58
The issue of money guzzling by senators is one, that of the number of senators is another and performance of senators is another issue. They should be treated independently and separately so that we can come to a realistic conclusion on the senators. Is it not a shame that you finished as the executive governor of a state yet you are scrambling to be a senator? The reason they are scrambling to be senators is because it is lucrative.
Aminu Abdullahi, 45
My reaction to this is not to reduce their number; rather they should go back to their constituents and stay there with the masses. This will enable them to know the people’s needs. They should stop staying in Abuja. Some of them stay here for three years without visiting their people.
Aisha Muhammad Bulama, 24
I think reducing the number of senators and House of Reps members is not the solution because each of them is representing a particular community and people in that community. So the best way to reduce the cost of governance is by cutting drastically the salaries and allowances of the lawmakers.
Deborah Joseph L, 37
I think it is a wrong decision. Government should think of other ways of generating money to help the masses. The senators and House of Representatives members should put Nigeria first not themselves. So I think they should think of reducing the money they are spending and focus on making our lives better.