Henry Omunu, Abuja
The joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday witnessed a rowdy session as All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) engaged in a shouting match before the arrival of President Muhammadu Buhari to present the 2019 appropriation bill.
Trouble started when some legislators believed to be members of the ruling APC tried to prevent members of the opposition who had smuggled placards with different inscriptions into the House of Representatives chamber where the joint session held.
The placards by the opposition were meant to show displeasure over rumours that the President was to be represented by Vice President, Yemi Osinbajo.
While opposition legislators began chanting anti – Buhari songs and slogans, however, attempts to display some of the placards were resisted by APC House of Representatives members which nearly resulted in fisticuffs.
While this uproar was going on, President Buhari made a dramatic entrance into the chamber with shouts of “sai baba, sai baba” renting the air as he was escorted to take his seat.
Before presenting the highlights of the 2019 budget, the President gave an exclusive score card of his administration since 2015, gave the performance of the 2018 budget which is still in operation and finally presented highlights of the 2019 budget estimates.
The presentation was continually interjected by cheers and jeers by ruling and opposition lawmakers.
Highlights of the budget as presented by President Buhari include, a benchmark of $61 dollars and projected oil production of 2.3 million barrels per day, an exchange rate of N305 to a dollar and an estimated revenue of N6.9 trillion while the inflation rate was put at 9.98 per cent
He said that the Minister on Budget and National Planning, Udo Udoma will give a sectoral breakdown of the budget.
Reacting to the rowdiness, Buhari said that “the whole world is watching and you as lawmakers are supposed to be above this”.
Efforts to calm the rowdy situation however, proved abortive as the session was hurriedly adjourned without the House Speaker, Yakubu Dogara having the opportunity to give the vote of thanks.