Buhari, Lawan and Gbajabiamila

By Kazeem Ugbodaga

Questions are being raised as to whether President Muhammadu Buhari will appear before the joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday to brief the legislators on rising insecurity in the country.

The House of Representatives had last week Tuesday summoned Buhari to appear before it to brief the House on what his government is doing to tackle rising insecurity in the country.

The move came in the aftermath of Boko Haram’s killing of 43 rice farmers in Borno State. The lawmakers who spoke bitterly over the killing decided to summon the president.

The following day, House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila disclosed that Buhari had agreed to address the lawmakers but that a date had not been fixed for it yet.

“We have agreed on a date and he will meet with the House to address the situation. We have a fixed date but we will communicate with you.

“He is a perfect democrat; he will come to the House to address members in the nearest future,” Gbajabiamila had said.

On Monday, Lauretta Onochie, an aide to President Buhari on social media, also announcement via her verified Twitter account that Buhari would address a joint session of the

“President Muhammadu Buhari will address a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday, 10th December 2020,” Lauretta stated.

But on Wednesday, Abubakar Malami, Attorney General of the Federation appears to have punctured move by the president to appear before the joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday when he declared that the National Assembly lacked the constitutional right to invite the President over insecurity in the country.

According to Malami, security matters remained the exclusive preserve of the executive arm of government.

“The right of the President to engage the National Assembly and appear before it is inherently discretionary in the President and not at the behest of the National Assembly.

“As the Commander-in-Chief, the President has exclusivity on security and has confidentiality over security. These powers and rights he does not share.

“So, by summoning the President on national security operational matters, the House of Representative operated outside constitutional bounds,” he said.

Is the Attorney General speaking the body language of the president? Will he appear before the National Assembly tomorrow?

There may be fear that the PDP caucus in the National Assembly may decide to embarrass the president by playing politics with his appearance.

PDP’s Kingsley Chinda, had in a statement on Sunday, said the President has failed in his primary responsibility to protect lives and property in the country, and called on Nigerians to compel their representatives at the National Assembly to begin impeachment processes against the President.

The lawmaker also called on the Federal Executive Council, FEC to declare the President incapacitated.

The statement by the lawmaker has generated heated tension and bad blood among House of Representatives members, as many disowned Chinda.

Appearing before a hostile PDP caucus in the National Assembly on Thursday may be seen as counter-productive. The APC will not want anyone to embarrass the president on Thursday. So Malami’s statement may be timely to find a soft landing for the president not to appear before the National Assembly on Thursday.

As things stand, it is doubtful if Buhari will venture to appear before a joint session of the National Assembly on Thursday. Those waiting for the president to appear may be disappointed as he is not likely to do so.