There was drama in the National Assembly Wednesday as senators and Reps booed President Muhammadu Buhari while he was addressing them, with Buhari reminding the aggrieved lawmakers the whole world was watching.
This happened as the President presented an appropriation bill of N8.83 trillion for 2019 before a joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday. The breakdown of the appropriation bill presented by the President is as follows: Recurrent – N4.04 trillion, Debt service – N2.14 trillion, Statutory transfer – N492.36 billion, Sinking fund – N120 billion, Capital expenditure – N2.031 trillion.
The proposed budget shows that about a quarter of the sum (N2.14 trillion) will be used for debt servicing while capital expenditure is expected to gulp N2.031 trillion.
The jeers from the lawmakers made the president pause at different intervals with some of the legislators even accused Buhari of making false claims.
When the President said the economy and security have improved under his administration, some lawmakers shouted “Lies! Lies!”.
He was shouted down when he started talking about the strides of his administration as taunt of propaganda can be heard. At first, Buhari tried to maintain his composure but the aggrieved lawmakers continued interjecting him.
At that point he said, “May I appeal to the honourable members that the world is watching us… we’re supposed to be above this.”
But rather than reason with the president, the angry lawmakers continued heckling him.
Members of the President’s party – the All Progressives Congress, APC, however supporters cheered and clapped in solidarity, the voice of his opponents resonated within the chamber.
Senate President Bukola Saraki and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, watched as the aggrieved lawmakers kept shouting on top of their voices. Dogara had pleaded with lawmakers in the lower legislative chamber not to embarrass Buhari during the budget presentation.
As soon as Buhari concluded his speech, the session turned rowdy again. It was time for Saraki and Dogara to present their speeches but while APC lawmakers chanted ‘four more years,’ their PDP counterparts screamed, ‘no more years.’
After more than 10 minutes into the drama, the Presidential Guards Brigade band suddenly to play the National Anthem, even while Buhari was still seated.
The anthem marked the end of the ceremony, with Saraki and Dogara yet to present their speeches as is customary.
Security operatives whisked the President out of the chamber leaving the lawmakers behind.
Saraki later led senators out of the House chamber. Earlier when he arrived, supporters of the president welcomed him by chanting “Sai Baba! Sai Baba!