By Umar Puma
The ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has attributed the rowdiness that characterised President Muhammadu Buhari’s budget presentation at the National Assembly to lawmakers from the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
The party, which condemned the action, made this known in a statement by its publicity secretary, Lanre Issa-Onilu on Wednesday evening.
APC blamed the chaos on the PDP describing it as disgraceful conduct. It said the action succeeded in eroding the ”remnant of the public’s respect, (if any) that the PDP has in the eyes of any respectable Nigerian”.
The party said the PDP has further confirmed its “unsavoury image” in the eyes of Nigerians.
“By law, respect for the office of the president or head of government in any clime is not a matter of choice but a civic obligation sanctioned by laws. Being an opposition party or critic is no licence for such wayward conduct by the PDP legislative caucus; most especially against the president of the country,” the party said.
The APC said Nigerians are not oblivious of the ‘inactions and inactions’ of the National Assembly’s presiding officers: Senate President, Bukola Saraki and Speaker, House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara while the president was being heckled ”by the PDP legislative caucus”.
Although Dogara tried to calm the lawmakers, the APC said the failure to rein in the ‘unruly’ PDP members clearly confirms the PDP members’ action ”was premeditated and orchestrated to embarrass the president”.
“When the APC was in opposition, Nigerians will recall statements by the PDP government that the immediate-past President Goodluck Jonathan did not personally present the budget to the National Assembly based on fears that he will be heckled and embarrassed by the opposition federal lawmakers at the time.
“The fears turned out to be misplaced as that never happened when Jonathan eventually presented the national budget,” the party said.
The APC wondered why the PDP lawmakers could not stomach what it described as the evident and verifiable achievements of the APC-led government in the areas of power, rail and road infrastructure, social intervention programmes as contained in the proposed budget.
It commended the president for remaining calm and focused during the budget presentation despite the provocation.
The APC called on the National Assembly to rise above political and selfish interests by putting the country first in its consideration of the proposed budget.