The presentation of the 2019 budget at the National Assembly by President Muhammadu Buhari today, Wednesday, December 19, turned out to be a show of political embarrassment for the President as he was met with boos and jeers.
Before the arrival of the President at the National Assembly, the House of Representatives had gone into an executive session with several media outlets reporting that the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara, had to appeal to the members to abort any planned protest that would embarrass the number one man.
However, the entry of the President generated serious rowdy situations as lawmakers from different parties not only threw caution to the wind but went into a shouting match.
Before Buhari finally made his entry into the Chamber, the trio of Senators Solomon Olamilekan, Sam Anyawu, and Godswill Akpabio were seen engaging each in a serious war of words, with each trying to shout the other down.
Shortly before then, a mild altercation had ensued between two members of the House, Babale Basir from Kano State and Diri Douye from Balyesa State, who also clashed over a placard.
The arrival of the President did not, however, quell the protests and boos as his speech was continuously interrupted by shouts of ‘lies’, ‘fraud’, ‘propaganda’, ‘no’ and ‘we have had enough of your lies’, etc.
While some lawmakers stood up to give the President a clap while reading his speech, some others heckled him with more shouts of ‘liar’, ‘propaganda master’.
A lawmaker was heard calling Buhari a ‘grass cutter’ in reference to the scandal which the last Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Babachir Lawal, was enmeshed in.
When the President was reeling out the achievements of his administration in the area of fighting corruption, some lawmakers shouted him down by saying, ‘propaganda; which corruption are you fighting?’ ‘Grass cutter’.
The apparently embarrassed President had to appeal to the aggrieved lawmakers to show some decorum by pleading with them:
“Distinguished members, please, let us conduct ourselves properly. The world is watching us; we are supposed to be above this.”