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NASS Invasion: When An Acting President Acts Decisively



During the week, President Muhammadu Buhari’s deputy, Yemi Osinbajo, once again assumed the position of acting president following the president’s vacation trip to London. It was not the first time for Osinbajo to assume full powers of the president in acting capacity but since he has been acting in the absence of his boss this is probably the most memorable of them all. It is the first time Osinbajo will be deploying the full powers of the president.

On Tuesday, Nigerians woke up to a rude shock when mask-wearing operatives of the Department of State Services (DSS) took over the complex of the National Assembly. Depending on who you are speaking with, there are different versions of what actually transpired that fateful Tuesday.

One version of the invasion as told by the PDP senators is that the invasion was a plan by the DSS to provide cover for their APC counterparts to go into the Senate chamber and impeach Senator Bukola Saraki as Senate President. Senator Ben Murray Bruce raised the alarm that APC senators were being smuggled in through the back door, a claim we all later found out to be a big lie. It was later discovered that the APC senators were not even at the premises of the National Assembly. They were said to be somewhere holding their caucus meeting.

Another version of the story is that the whole scenario was stage-managed by Saraki to gain public sympathy and paint the Buhari administration in a bad light. Proponents of this theory wonder why the same presidency that has been appealing to the National Assembly to reconvene and pass the INEC budget would still send DSS officials to scuttle the meeting between Saraki and principal officers of the National Assembly. They even cited the Senate president’s world press conference the next day as a pointer to his alleged complicity in the invasion.

Disenchanted PDP senators were seen in the National Assembly drinking whisky in defence of democracy against the mask-wearing DSS officials. While this was going on at the National Assembly that day, spokesman of the acting president, Laolu Akande, issued a terse statement containing Osinbajo’s directive on the Director General of the DSS, Lawal Daura.

“The Acting President, Professor Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has directed the termination of the appointment of the Director-General, State Security Service, Lawal Musa Daura, with immediate effect. Mr. Daura has been directed to hand over to the most senior officer of the State Security Service until further notice.”

Few minutes later, another statement containing the presidency’s displeasure followed. It noted: “Acting President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, has described the unauthorized takeover of the National Assembly complex earlier today as a gross violation of constitutional order, rule of law and all accepted notions of law and order.

“According to him, the unlawful act which was done without the knowledge of the Presidency is condemnable and completely unacceptable.

By this statement, Professor Osinbajo is consequently assuring Nigerians that all persons within the law enforcement apparatus who participated in this travesty will be identified and subjected to appropriate disciplinary action.”

With this singular action, Osinbajo won praises from Nigerians who applauded his decisive step. They said it was the very first bold step taken by the presidency against heads of security agencies, which had sent a strong signal that aberrant behaviours would no longer be tolerated under the administration.




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