Prominent Nigerians have continued to react to the chaotic event that took place at the legislative chambers Thursday, when the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon Aminu Tambuwal and opposition party members of the APC, were locked out by security operatives, purportedly to prevent them from deliberating on the Federal Government’s decision to extend the state of emergency rule in the three north-eastern states, Yobe, Adamawa and Borno.
The incident which occurred in the Abuja capital, as President Goodluck Jonathan marked his 57th birthday, at a cake cutting ceremony in Aso Villa, attracted comments from Nigeria’s former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who described the incident as a “siege mentality” of Jonathan’s administration, which he said poses a great threat to democracy.
“Obviously, the emergency rule has failed to stem the unrest. The Federal Government must work with, rather than against those who understand and have been elected by the people to govern,” said Atiku, the All People’s Congress Party presidential contender.
In a statement signed by his media office, Atiku cautioned President Jonathan against heating up the polity by using power arbitrarily, stating that he was elected to unhold the constitution.
“It is not too late, however, for President Jonathan to pull the plug on these assaults to our democracy because it is inconceivable that the show of shame at the National Assembly is what he wanted as a birthday present,” said the Adamawa born politician.
The lawmakers in daring moves – some, in spite of their heavy bodyweight – had scaled the gate to gain access into National Assembly, as security operatives failed in their bid to disperse the Tambuwal loyalists with tear gas.
Chief of staff to the Edo State governor, and former member of the House of Representatives Senator Patrick Obahiagbon, compared the operation of the security men with the ‘Entebbe raid’.
“The presidential invasion of the National Assembly which was unscrupulously executed by its pursuivant inspector general of police had all the trappings of an entebbe raid and executive rascality which is deservable of an acidic excoriation and corrosive pummeling. The impeachment gambit is however a frankeinstous yoyo with a potency for an erebus prone whirligig,” Obahiagbon in his usual humorous style.
Meanwhile, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN) and constitutional lawyer Mr.Mike Ozekhome, on Thursday called on Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, Speaker, House of Representatives, to resign for peace to reign in the legislature.
Ozekhome said that the tension and desperation of some lawmakers to get into the National Assembly, could be as a result of fears that there convening of the House would lead to Tambuwal’s impeachment by his former party members.
“My advice is that Tambuwal should honourably and voluntarily resign as Speaker of the House of Representatives in order for peace to reign in the National Assembly.
“Having defected from the political party on which platform he got to the National Assembly and became the Speaker, he should stop his present grandstanding because he cannot have his cake and eat it.
“Whether the courts have declared his seat vacant or not, whether he has been impeached or not, and whether it is constitutional for him to do so or not, he owes a moral obligation to resign now.
He said, by virtue of Section 53 (2) of the Nigerian Constitution, the Senate President, David Mark “is the Chairman of the National Assembly and so is empowered to regulate the legislature which is bicameral.”
Tambuwal became the subject of major controversy after the ruling PDP party for the opposition party APC, announcing his intention to run for the Presidency in the next election, a decision that has almost cost him his office as Speaker, leading to the withdrawal of his security aides, which he has since challenged in the Abuja Federal Court.