The House of Representatives on Wednesday suspended its earlier plan for a briefing by President Muhammadu Buhari, after it became clear the president would no longer honour the House’s invitation.
At plenary Wednesday, the House failed to mention an item on its order paper to admit Mr Buhari into the House chamber.
It was the clearest evidence Mr Buhari, who was billed to explain the terrible security situation in the country to lawmakers, had cancelled the plan, confirming a PREMIUM TIMES exclusive he would back off.
All Progressives Congress (APC) governors had urged Mr Buhari to shelve his scheduled appearance.
At a Tuesday night meeting between the governors and the party’s caucus in the National Assembly, those in attendance argued for hours on reasons for and against the appearance of the president before the house.
PREMIUM TIMES was briefed on the deliberations at the meeting by multiple sources present.
The governors were said to be concerned because their state houses of assembly may want to take the opportunity to “harass” the governors by seeking frequent appearances.
On Wednesday, the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, who presided over the plenary deliberately skipped the item.
It was tittled “That the House, pursuant to Order 19, Rule 8 (1) and (2) of the Standing Orders, do admit into the Chamber, the Ministers of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the Service Chiefs and other dignitaries for the purpose of receiving an Address by the President and Commander–In –Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria on the Security situation in the country”.
It was supposed to be taken by the house leader, Alhassan Doguwa under the item “Admittance into the Chamber”.
Mr Gbajabiamila did not give reasons why the item was not called.
The House Chief Whip, Mohammed Monguno, told TVC news the president had changed his mind.
According to Mr Mohammed, the president’s appearance was cancelled due to concerns opposition PDP lawmakers planned to embarrass him. He did not immediately respond to PREMIUM TIMES telephone calls.
The governors had also claimed to have received hints that report that the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members were planning to embarrass Mr Buhari.
The lawmakers had in their reaction to the November 28 gruesome murder of 43 rice farmers in Zabarmari, Borno State, resolved to summon the president.
The motion was for the president to address the lawmakers on the killings and the general insecurity in the country.
The attack on the farmers, in particular, by the insurgents had sparked outrage on social media with many Nigerians calling for the resignation of both the service chiefs and the President Buhari.
The president agreed to address the joint session of the two chambers on the matter.
The presidential spokesperon, Garba Shehu, responded to the enquiry by PREMIUM TIMES through a message that simply confirmed the president’s readiness to speak to the parliament.
Mr Gbajabiamila also confirmed the development to journalists, but said the date would be announced later.
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