KARIMI: The emerging ‘humourist’ of the 10th Senate

Sharon EboesomiJanuary 5, 20247 min

The 10th Senate has not been without controversies, but Karimi seems to have made more headlines on negativity than positivity

10th Senate - Sunday Steve Karimi

 Sunday Steve Karimi

The 10th Senate since its inauguration in June, has witnessed extraordinary senators who have demonstrated that they are real advocates of their citizens but not without some who appear to be unsure of their legislative responsibilities.

Over the past few months, the credibility of Senator Karimi Steve Sunday, who represents Kogi west senatorial district, has been questioned due to his sudden perceived nonchalance and vacuousness.

Karimi is in no way a newbie to the legislative sector as he had previously served two consecutive terms as a Member of the House of Representatives, representing the Yagba East & West / Mopa – Amuro Federal Constituency in Kogi State between (2011- 2015) & (2015- 2019). 

Throughout his time in the House of Representatives, he made significant contributions to the nation’s progress and, notably, to the advancement of his immediate constituency and constituents. This is evidenced by the numerous impactful bills, motions, and debates he initiated.

However, Karimi appears to be either disinterested in or indifferent to public sensitivities since his election to the 10th Assembly as a senator.

READ ALSO: REPORT: 6 viral moments in 6 months of the 10th NASS

The gaffe on SUVs

Amid the ongoing controversy surrounding the proposed acquisition of luxury vehicles by federal legislators with a substantial number of Nigerians voicing their concerns and criticising lawmakers for their actions, Karimi who is also the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Services, came out to publicly ridicule the outcry of the masses.

The unperturbed senator blatantly claimed that members of the Senate and the House of Representatives shunned Nigerian-made cars and opted for foreign-manufactured Sport Utility Vehicles (SUVs) like Land Cruisers and Prados due to their perceived “quality and durability.”

Briefing journalists at the National Assembly on Tuesday, October 24, 2023, Karimi said that the leadership of both chambers of the National Assembly decided to buy the luxury cars for lawmakers because they want vehicles that would be reliable on Nigeria’s bad roads but also be easy to maintain for four years (10th Assembly).

Also, sharing more insights during a live appearance on Channels Television’s Politics Today program he said, “If you check out the vehicles the Supreme Court Justices are using, they are using the same little little vehicles that we are talking of so what is the problem with legislators that every Assembly, Nigerians will complain about vehicles they buy for us. 

Let me tell you, we need these vehicles for oversight, we use these vehicles to travel all over our constituencies and you find out that after 4 years, the value of these vehicles depreciates and at the end of the four years, they will ask us to pay the final value and go with the vehicle. When I was in the House of Representatives, that was done.”

He also disclosed that the vehicle given to him while in the House of Representatives is still in his custody but refused to disclose how much he had paid for it.

Gale of condemnations…

Following that ignominous outing on national TV, Karimi was roundly condemned by many, including the former Education Minister Obigeli Ezekwesili, who described his response to the public outcry as “utterly disgraceful.” 

Ezekwesili, while reacting to Karimi’s statement in defense of the SUVs’ purchase, said it was insensitive to the predicament of Nigerians, whose hardship has recently gotten worse.

She took to her X account saying, “Who is this annoyingly vacuous Senator Sunday Karimi @SundayKarimi of the @NGRSenate whose sole argument for wasting public resources to purchase Luxury SUV vehicles for members of the @nassnigeria at this time of National FINANCIAL DISTRESS is, “it is not only Lawmakers that are irresponsible. Ministers and Local Government Chairmen all have 4-6 Land-cruisers so you citizens should stop disturbing us, naaa.

“Utterly disgraceful and disgusting act of tone-deafness on display.

“Let me kindly ask you and your colleagues to please read the following scriptures as wisdom appears to be away from you all on this matter that enrages your Citizens: Luke 17:27, Matthew 24:38-39.

“Continue if it pays you but do not say citizens did not help you to act wisely.”

Distracting colleagues on assignment…

On another occasion during a defense session of the 2024 budget, the chairman and members of the finance committee were carrying out their duties and interrogating the ministries in attendance. However, Karimi who was also seated as a member of the committee was seen engaging in WhatsApp chats, making calls, and diverting his colleague’s attention with his side talks.

Irritated by the show of apparent disrespect, his colleague got up and moved to another seat while stating that Karimi was distracting him.

These and other questionable conducts have been noticed in Karimi since his emergence in the 10th Senate. It is only just six months into the tenure. He would do well to represent his constituents and the country better if he turns a sober new leaf of serious-minded service. The expectation is that he would get to be noticed more for important contributions like the motion he sponsored on moribound refineries than on negativities.  

STAR Check: Nigerians, particularly, constituents of Kogi west district, can keep tabs on the legislative performance of Sen. Karimi throughout the 10th senate here.

Sharon Eboesomi

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