Nigeria's federal lawmakers in the House of Representatives on Thursday engaged in a free-for-all over the sharing of principal offices by the majority All Progressives Congress.
Reacting to the development, the opposition Peoples Democratic Party slammed President Muhammadu Buhari, saying ?the disgraceful act? in the House was a direct consequence of President Buhari?s lack of democratic credentials and lack of respect for the independence and sanctity of the legislative arm of government.
But the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu, insisted on Thursday that Buhari would not intervene in the leadership crisis currently rocking the National Assembly until the APC state governors asked him to do so.
Shehu said this while featuring on Sunrise, a programme on a Lagos-based private television station, Channels TV.
He said, ?When the governors met with the President, they told him that ?we are the leaders in our states and we have influence over all of these senators. They come from our places and from us and we can handle it.?
?The President will step into the crisis at the point when the governors say they can no longer fix it.?
Angry APC members on the floor of the House tore each other?s clothes, threw punches, upturned tables, threw bound copies of law books, kicked chairs and shouted on top of their voices for about 105 minutes the rowdy session lasted.
Some daring members, led by a lawmaker from Sokoto State, Mr. Balarabe Salame, actually made to snatch the mace, but the Sergeant-at-Arms and other lawmakers quickly rescued the authority symbol of the legislative House and deposited same in the Speaker?s office.
Directly behind Saleme was a member from Kano State, Mr. Ali Madaki.
Salame also made to attack the Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, but he retreated as Dogara loyalists rushed at him and threatened to throw him out of the chamber.
Amid the shoving and punching, shouts of ?Dogara?, ?Dogara?, ?Give us our leaders?, ?Party is supreme??, ?PDP, power?, ?APC, change? and ?APC, shame?, were heard in a discordant manner.
The bone of contention, was the non-announcement of the names of principal officers of the House as directed by the leadership of the APC.
The party, had in a letter dated June 23, asked the Speaker to announce Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila (Lagos State) as the Majority Leader; Mr. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa (Kano State) as his deputy; Mr. Mohammed Monguno (Borno State) as the Chief Whip; and Mr. Pally Iriase (Edo State) as his deputy.
The party had explained that it took the decision following ?consultations? with the various caucuses.
There had been tension in the House over the matter even before the Thursday?s sitting.
For example, the North-Central and South-East caucuses had protested their exclusion from the sharing of the positions.
They had protested against giving the South-West and the North-East additional positions, having produced the deputy speaker and speaker respectively already.
Thursday?s fracas was fallout of the lingering dispute in the APC following the emergence of Senator Bukola Saraki as President of the Senate and Dogara as the Speaker on June 9.