“Campaign speech”, “lies”, “noooo” rent the air while President Muhammadu Buhari was giving a speech at a joint session of the national assembly on Wednesday.
Buhari was about to lay before the lawmakers a budget proposal of N8.83 trillion for the 2019 but delivering the speech proved to be a difficult task because it appeared that some lawmakers got an opportunity to finally air their grievances.
I watched with utmost surprise as lawmakers – those jeering and praising the president – turned the budget presentation ceremony into a huge joke.
“They mean this man”, QueenEsther Iroanusi, a colleague with whom I was monitoring the budget presentation with, said. Her comment got me thinking. Why would these lawmakers want to embarrass the president?
For me, that was the most awkward budget presentation I have ever witnessed. The protocol was not followed and the session ended abruptly after Yakubu Dogara, speaker of the house of representatives, failed to give his speech. Incredible, no?
Anyway, reasons, why these aggrieved lawmakers decided to take this inglorious path, is not hard to figure out. The primary polls of the All Progressives Congress (APC) were marred with uncertainties and violence. Cut the long story short, the exercise across the country was a disaster.
Aspirants who could not clinch tickets to contest the 2019 polls after spending so much on nomination forms were not appeased and a move by the party to calm the already frayed nerves was nothing to write home about.
Instead, aggrieved party members (lawmakers inclusive) who had already gone to court to seek redress were threatened to withdraw such cases and these made a number of them defect from the ruling party.
On the other side of the divide, opposition lawmakers, particularly from the southern part (south-south, south-east) of the country, have constantly accused the Buhari government of sidelining their region and that was why during the president speech, some lawmakers could be heard asking “where is the second Niger bridge”?
Such lawmakers will not hesitate to jump on any plan to embarrass the president. The pleas by Dogara before the session and that of the president during his speech asking them to comport themselves did little or nothing to pacify these angry lawmakers.
An indication that anger was already pent-up. The lawmakers were livid over various issues even if some people argue that they were personal and do not exactly represent concerns of the people they represent.
But it will be refreshing to know that the president reflected on that day. He should be bothered that some people booed and jeered at him in the most disrespectful and despicable manner.
The president should also be careful with those who praised that day. It is a known fact that not everyone who sings your praise genuinely loves you, there might be strings attached. Dangerous ones. What happened at the national assembly is a culmination of the booing that already started long before he got there.
However, I do not think that these lawmakers are the only ones angry with Buhari. Do we have rice and chicken to celebrate the Christmas?
You can reach Shibayan on Twitter @justdyepis.