Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Buhari and the Assemblymen; between accountability and frustration, by Abdullahi Haruna Haruspice

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Like the pelican, he shines brilliantly again. The venue was the National Assembly, where he went to present the 2019 proposed budget- a feat he had consistently carried out since three years. His predecessor only faced the assemblymen once! Dressed in resplendently white robe, he walked into the hallowed chamber with immaculate strides admiring cheers and jeers from the lawmakers.

In ramrod posture, he took the national anthem as he began his address thus,’Auzubillahi minnal shaytani rajim’ sealing and blinding any intended evil principalities. With the naysayers caged, he went on to reel out his achievements in the foregoing year. For every good thing he said, he was greeted with cacophony chants of discord. Obviously paranoid with all he has achieved within a short time and with little resources, they fumed and regurgitated in venom. To them, he should never speak, for he has done the unusual. He has halted their ruins, no more the traditional Ghana-must-go overture, padding disappeared from our budgetary lexicon and constituency projects ceased to be. He has stepped on the Tigers’ tail and in the belly of the tiger he must reign, forgetting that the man is himself a hunter who hunts even lions.

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READ ALSO: Why we booed Buhari during 2019 budget presentation – PDP lawmakers

With sustained rapidity to provoke the man, they continue in their childish taunts, one was strategically positioned by the booming microphone to chant Ole!Ole!!Ole!!!. Push came to shove and the president had to pause and address them the way truant school kids would be addressed. With the calmness of an enigma, he poured them these chilling words, ‘The world is watching you. We have to grow above this. You should comport yourselves.’ That was a leader speaking in coated wisdom to men and women wearing the mask of distinguished and honourable.

While this discretion of the hallowed chamber was going on, the two leaders with no potent control of their colleagues watched in fascinating dexterity. To them, the white horse was being humiliated, forgetting that it is an indictment on their leadership to invite the president of Nigeria to such an embracing embarrassment. His offence was to honour them when he could have delegated his finance minister to do the presentation, like it was the tradition during the reign of Goodluck Jonathan. For being a good man who respects constituted authority, he was rewarded with scorn, spits and boos. Only Agberos do this, and the National Assembly have them in numbers.

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A president came to present a nation’s budget on the floor of the legislative arm of government to representatives of the people. Instead of hearing him talk, they booed and jeered him for carrying his duty. Is the national assembly now a campaign or voting ground where lawmakers give verdict on who wins or lose election? I thought the nation’s budget is a working template of governance for both APC and PDP members who are representatives of Nigerians?  Whether we like it or not, what happened at the national assembly was a low one for the 8th assembly. Whatever ounce of respect the world had for them vanished into the trash bin of indecency.  It was Buhari that wasn’t maligned but the office of the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria. As always, the white horse came out more stainless from the assemblage of Agberoes.

Are we edge closer to a repeat of 1953 where northern and southern leaders entered a frosty relationship following disagreement on late Anthony Enahoro’s motion for self-government in 1956? This strained relationship started with a 1953 motion for self-government for Nigeria in 1956 tabled in the House of Representatives by a member of the Action Group (AG), Chief Anthony Enahoro. The Northerners did not accept the motion. The leader of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) and the Sardauna of Sokoto, Ahmadu Bello, in a counter-motion, replaced “in the year 1956” with the phrase “as soon as practicable”. Another Northern member of the House moved a motion for adjournment, a motion which Southern members of AG and the National Council of Nigeria and the Cameroons (NCNC) viewed as a delay tactic. All the AG and NCNC members in the house walked out as a result of the adjournment motion.

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When the Northern delegates left the House, they were confronted by hostile crowds in Lagos who insulted, jeered and called them all sorts of names just like President Muhammadu Buhari was denigrated at the National Assembly. I hope we won’t have a repeat of the ugly history as the PDP goes round in her campaign? Buhari’s strong base is always the masses, I hope those who engineered the December 19th imbroglio can withstand the fury of the masses?

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