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Day of Assault on Parliament

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Thursday, November 20 was a sad day in the annals of the legislature in the country. It was a day of assault on the parliament, on the National Assembly in Abuja and state House of Assembly in Ekiti almost about the same time. In Abuja, the police fired canisters of tear gas on the House of Representatives members to prevent them from sitting and deliberating on the request of President Jonathan to extend emergency rule in three states of Borno, Yobe and Adamawa in the North-east ravaged by Boko Haram insurgency. The lawmakers, however, eventually forced their way in, with some breaking the gate and some others scaling it leading to a big commotion in the National Assembly. It was simply unbelievable. In Ekiti, seven Peoples Democratic Party members of a 26-member assembly claimed they had impeached their Speaker Adewale Omirin and his deputy and had elected new leaders. Though the law is clear that a speaker can only be removed by two-third majority of the members of the House.  Governor Ayo Fayose said he would work with the new Speaker. Meanwhile, the majority 19 All Progressives Congress members of the House met in Lagos and affirmed their support and confidence in Omirin. They vowed to return to Ekiti to continue their legislative duties.

So the attack on the parliament and all it stood for as a sacred arm of government is complete in both instances. Many believed the illegality in Ekiti will not last no matter the desperation of the authorities in the state. In Abuja, Senate President David Mark had moved to salvage the situation by quickly shutting the National Assembly till Tuesday, the first time the Senate President as Chairman of the National Assembly would exercise such power. What Senator Mark has done is very much in order as it helped to calm the situation at the parliament, though the House of Representatives still went ahead to sit and to turn down the President’s request for extension of the emergency rule. The point is the new Inspector-General of Police Suleiman Abba should be called to order to discharge his duties with order and decorum. But in what transpired at the parliament, some analysts, however, did not fail to point out the seeming differences in the way and manner Mark and Tambuwal are being treated. While Tambuwal was stopped from accessing the parliament and subjected to all kinds of indignity, Mark had easy access. Is it because Tambuwal defected to the opposition APC? As long as he remains a member of the House and the Speaker, it would be wrong and an affront on the law of the land to deny him all the respect and courtesies due to him as a member of the House and as Speaker.

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