Reps Fight As Baraje’s nPDP Visits Tambuwal

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THE crisis ravaging the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, surfaced in the House of Representatives, yesterday, as members of the old PDP disrupted a scheduled meeting between the leadership of the House and the Alhaji Kawu Baraje-led new PDP (nPDP) and the G-7 governors.
No sooner had the Speaker, Aminu Tambuwal  announced that ‘this communication I am going to read concerns only the PDP members”, than a rumpus erupted on the floor of the House.

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This came after he had read and reviewed proceedings of the last session in July, 2013 before the House went on vacation.
Tambuwal also read a letter from President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan on the 2014/2016 Medium Term Expenditure Framework as well as another one from Ondo State which officially communicated the death of former Governor of the State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu to members.
The development attracted one minute silence in honour of the deceased by the House.
Afterwards, the Speaker announced that the Abubakar Kawu Baraje-led nPDP had sent in a letter signed by its National Secretary, Olagunsoye Oyinlola to pay a courtesy call on the leadership of the House.
Immediately, Rep Henry Ofongo representing Bayelsa State raised a point of order during protocols, which other Reps considered unusual and pounced on him.
Chairs and all available objects were used to hit Ofongo.
However, the hefty Ofongo, who is about  6ft, 3 inches tall retaliated by throwing blows at the aggressors. His colleagues came to his aid and immediately shouts of No!No!! No!!! rent the air, followed with thunderous claps that further disrupted the meeting.
The whole House suddenly became rowdy as chants of ‘No, No’, ‘PDP’ and corresponding ‘Yes, Yes’, from supposedly members of the nPDP rent the air. The chants persisted for more than 30 minutes with members pacing about.
While some legislators went round the chamber chanting, some approached the seat of the Speaker in apparent cacophony of acceptance and disagreement.
Disruption in the House
Not even the shouts of ‘ Order, Honourable Colleagues!” and the banging of the gavel by the Speaker to arrest attention of members could calm frayed nerves. This went on until the Speaker started calling members by their first names, to settle down.
Chief Whip of the House, Rep Isiaka Bawa in a bid to restore order almost shouted  himself hoarse.
When order was eventually restored, the Speaker cleared the air, saying that the letter was not supposed to be read on the floor but in the PDP caucus meeting of the House.
Continuing, Tambuwal revealed that alongside Baraje’s request was also a letter from the  National Chairman of the Party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur who he said had “also written to address the PDP Leadership in the House but only withdrew his letter this morning.”
He then upheld the visit of Baraje’s nPDP.
At about 3.45pm when Baraje stood up to deliver his speech, claps and shouts of Tukur! Tukur! rent the air, making it virtually impossible to hear his speech.
But immediately the Speaker, Tambuwal mounted the rostrum to deliver his speech, peace and order were restored.
As soon as he mentioned  “leaders of our great party”, the old PDP lawmakers took over again, but this time, the chant  was” PDP Goodluck! PDP Goodluck!!”
We musn’t treat democracy with levity – Tambuwal
Tambuwal, however, continued with his speech saying “the recent development in our country has exposed our vulnerability. All Nigerians fought to have this democracy and many died to get it restored, let us not treat democracy with levity.

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