The hallmark of legislature in any democratic is adequate and proper representation of the people. In Nigeria, this constitutional role is currently affirmed by the 1999 Constitution (as amended, which outlines the specific functions of the legislature and other arms of government.
According to Dr Nwaubani Okechukwu of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, the basic functions of government as an institutional framework of control and governance revolves around three major activities of law making, implementation of laws and adjudication of disputes and interpretation of laws.
“These functions are performed by distinct governmental arms or organs commonly referred to as the legislature, executive and judiciary. The legislature makes the law, the executive implements them while the judiciary interprets them. These roles though structurally separate are all the same functionally and mutually interdependent in Nigeria,” he said.
The main idea behind legislative functions within any democratic setting is to ensure quality policy-making process, accountability and good governance through effective checks on executive “absolutism” in the exercise of governmental tasks.
By virtue of Section 4 of the country’s constitution, the legislative powers are vested in the National Assembly (NASS), which consists of the Senate and the House of Representatives, and they are conferred with powers to make laws for the peace, order and good governance in the country.
Of course, Montesquieu, a French political thinker and jurist strongly advocated in his famous work titled: “Esprit des Lois” or the spirit of the laws published in 1748 where it was succinctly argued that the three organs of government must be separated and run by different people, for liberty and freedom to be guaranteed in the process of governance. He further argued that in order to keep the three arms of government separate and distinct in structure and functions, each organ must be given a number of “checks” by which the other branches or organs can be kept in proper “balance”. Thus, the theory of separation of powers in its broadest sense implies that the political system shall consist not only of government but also of elected representatives whose duty is to “watchover” the government.
In Nigeria, the extent to which the legislature has creditably performed its constitutional responsibility is a matter of opinion. In the First Republic (1960-66), the legislature was perceptively an appendage of the executive arm of government and this no doubt affected seriously the independence of the legislature. By virtue of the parliamentary system which Nigeria practised at that time, the cabinet ministers (executive) also sat in the parliament. The parliament (legislature) more or less did the bidding of executive interest without considering national interest.
The independence of the legislature, though highly strengthened by the 1999 Constitution, is often subverted by acts of corruption.
Less than a week in office, the then Olusegun Obasanjo administration was accused of encouraging a situation that turned the election of the Senate President to a bazaar to ensure the emergence of a particular person as Senate President. Bribe money in ‘’Ghana-must-go (GMG)’’ bag were allegedly ferried from place to place and from floor to floor in a hotel in Abuja where the then senators-elect were first lodged; in order to corruptly influence the election of Evan(s) Ewerem as Senate president. The late Senator Chuba Okadigbo was then most favoured candidate among majority of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators-elect. The emergence of Salisu Buhari as Speaker of the House of Representatives followed the same trend, though not as obvious.
Hence, the foundation for a massive corrupt Senate was laid. It also set in a litany of woes and crisis-ridden Senate which are still in vogue. When Ewerem fell on November 19, 1999, on the question of his credentials and integrity, Okadigbo came on board. He did not see peace either. In a face-off between the presidency and the Senate which eventually ended in the exit of Okadigbo as the Upper House president. Obasanjo was accused of secretly funding those calling for Okadigbo’s head. He left on the basis of his own corrupt practices as Senate president.
On November 1, 2000, the spines of Nigerians went cold when Adams Jagaba, chairman of the Anti-corruption Committee in the House of Representatives tendered some N40 million in eight Ghana-must-go bags claiming it was a bribe offered some members of the House by the trio of Obasanjo, then Vice President, Atiku Abubakar and Peter Odili, governor of Rivers State. The money was said to have been shared among eight lawmakers (one GMG bag each) with the sole aim of quickening the exit of Umar Ghali Na’aba as speaker of the House of Representatives.
The instability resulting from deployment of excessive corruption weapon has seen to the fact that within a period of six years, Nigeria had five Senate presidents and three speakers of the House of Representatives.
Corruption is not only about taking money, subversion of due process is indeed the worst form of corruption. Due process was subverted in 2001 when the Electoral Bill duly passed by the Senate and Reps was purportedly altered at the point of signing it to law by Obasanjo.
In the letter NASS/S/SP/11/77 dated December 3, 1999 signed by Okadigbo to Obasanjo, the Senate accused Obasanjo of violating the constitution by its handling of the Appropriation Act of 1999. This alleged misappropriation of public funds through the non-implementation of the approved budget was the strongest point for which Obasanjo was to be impeached in 2002 by the National Assembly under the leadership of the Senate President Ayim Pius Ayim and Na’aba, the speaker of House of Representatives. The intervention of the late Alhaji Shehu Shagari and General Yakubu Gowon saved Obasanjo from becoming the first elected president to be removed from office by impeachment.
Classical Bills Passed By The Senate
There are however bills passed or not passed which led to some course of actions, or triggered some economic, political and social events of significant proportion in the country.
To give teeth to his anti-corruption crusade, Obasanjo presented to the Senate, the ‘Prohibition and Punishment of Bribery and Other Related Offences Bill’, exactly six weeks after he took office. While presenting the bill, the very first under the Fourth Republic, Obasanjo noted that: “we believe this law is morally right and politically correct and necessary to change the attitude of Nigerians”
The bill was also in part, a fulfilment of the provisions of the ‘1999 constitution’, which requires under Section 15(5), “that the state shall abolish all corrupt practices and abuse of power”. The decision to initiate such a law was similarly informed by the realisation that given the high levels of corruption and its current modem and sophisticated nature, existing legislations could not effectively check the menace. The law aimed to prohibit, prevent and prescribe punishments for corruption, through the instrumentality of a national anti-corruption agency modelled after those of Hong Kong, Singapore etc.
The process of the passage of the bill marked by a lengthy legislative squabble, and was finally passed into law on June 13, 2002 paving the way for the inauguration of the Independent Corrupt Practices And Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC). Again, several state governments went to the Supreme Court to challenge the legality and powers of the body. These challenges which constituted the initial obstacles threatened the survival of ICPC, raising questions about the commitment of the political class to the war against corruption in Nigeria.
This was however overcome by a June 7, 2002, Supreme Court judgement, affirming the legality, status and powers of the ICPC.
The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) is the second anti-corruption agency set up by the Obasanjo government following the passage of the bill by the Senate and Reps. Its focus is to combat financial and economic crimes. The Commission is empowered to prevent, investigate, prosecute and penalise economic and financial crimes and further charged with the responsibility of enforcing the provisions of other laws and regulations relating to economic and financial crimes, including: Economic and Financial Crimes Commission Establishment Act (2004), the Money Laundering Act 1995, the Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2004, the Advance Fee Fraud and Other Fraud Related Offences Act, the Failed Banks (Recovery of Debts) and Financial Malpractices in Banks Act 1994, the Banks and Other Financial Institutions Act 1991, and Miscellaneous Offences Act, Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act, Freedom of Information (FoI) Act, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Evidence Act, National Human Rights Commission Act, Public Complaints Commission Act, National Agency Against Trafficking in Person Act.
The EFCC was established in 2003, partially in response to pressure from the Financial Action Task Force on Money Laundering (FATF), which named Nigeria as one of the 23 countries non-cooperative in the international community’s efforts to fight money laundering
An Act to provide for the repeal of the Oil Mineral Producing Area Commission Decree 1998, and among other things, establish a new commission with a re-organised management and administrative structure for more effectiveness; and for the use of the sums received from the allocation of the Federation Account for tackling ecological problems which arise from exploration of oil minerals in the Niger Delta area and for connected purpose was enacted by the National Assembly on July 12, 2000. It is marked 2000 Act, No. 6 by which the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) was established.
Obasanjo declined assent shortly after. It remains the only Act passed through the National Assembly’s veto till date.
Following Constitution Amendment Bill forwarded to the Senate by Obasanjo’s government, the National Assembly Joint Committee for the Constitution Review (JCCR) organised a predetermined public hearing at the six geo-political zones of Nigeria. There was also an item to amend the constitution to allow the president to go for a third term.
According to Ken Nnamani, then Senate president, Obasanjo told him that he had intention to bring a bill to amend the constitution in order to contest for the third time, a plot Obasanjo later denied of being involved. “If you want to be convinced that the man is only telling a lie, pick up a copy of the book written by Condoleza Rice, the former Secretary to the Government of the United States of America. It is actually an autobiography by Rice. On page 628 or page 638, she discussed Obasanjo’s meeting with Bush, how he told the former American president that he wanted to see how he could amend the constitution so that he could go for a third term. To his surprise, Bush told him not to try it. Bush told him to be patriotic and leave by May 29, 2007’’, Nnamani said.
However, the so-called Third Term Agenda collapsed on May 16, 2016 when the Senate threw out the Constitutional Amendments Bill. According to a new book titled: ‘Too Good to Die: Third Term and the Myth of the Indispensable Man in Africa’, written by Chidi Odinkalu, former chairman of the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC), and Ayisha Osori, author of ‘Love Does Not Win Elections’, the third term agenda gulped about $500 million. N50 million to N70 million was offered as bribe to Reps and Senators to influence the passage of the bill. While some lawmakers accepted, many turned it down following Nnamani’s popular saying, “every senator must answer his or her father’s name’’.
On February 9, 2010, both chambers of the National Assembly invoked the ‘’doctrine of necessity’’ to justify extra legal actions to pass a resolution making Vice President Goodluck Jonathan (as he then was) the Acting President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces.
Both chambers of the Assembly passed the resolution after President Umaru Yar’Adua, who for 78 days had been in Saudi Arabia receiving medical treatment, refused to formally empower the vice president to exercise full powers as acting president as provided for in section 145 of the 1999 Constitution. It is worthy to note that the provision of the constitution does not empower the National Assembly to pass such resolution. But the then Senate President David Mark asserted that the Senate had been guided by the “Doctrine of Necessity” in arriving at its decision.
The National Assembly later amended Section 145 of the constitution to the effect that once a president is away for 21 days, whether he transmits a letter or not to the National Assembly, his vice becomes acting president automatically.
The Emergence Of The Saraki, Dogara NASS
On June 9, 2015, in what could be described as the perfect coup d’etat, Senator Bukola Saraki and Hon. Yakubu Dogara defied orders of their party, All Progressives Congress (APC) by emerging Senate President and Speaker of the House of Representatives in a contest that was characterised by subterfuge and skilful guile.
This was because Saraki paired with Senator Ike Ekweremadu of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to set aside APC preferred candidates and the pairing of Senators Ahmed Lawan and George Akume for the Senate President and its Deputy respectively.
The PDP had suffered a similar fate when in 2011 lawmakers on the platform of the defunct Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) helped Hon. Aminu Tambuwal and Hon. Emeka Ihedioha to defy the zoning formula of the PDP to emerge speaker and deputy speaker in the House.
That act of defiance by its members was later to haunt the PDP, resulted in the eventual defection of Tambuwal along with several other PDP lawmakers to the APC, and was one of the factors that led to PDP’s woeful performance at the 2015 polls.
The stage was set for the epic battle when Saraki and Dogara rejected APC’s adoption of Lawan and Gbajabiamila as the choice of the ruling party for the leadership posts in the National Assembly.
However, the party’s decision to throw up Lawan and Gbajabiamila led to a schism among APC lawmakers, enabling the PDP to captilise on the division and determine the outcome of the June 9, 2015’s election.
The outcome of the parliamentary election also handed the national leader of the ruling party, Bola Tinubu, a bloody nose after his attempt to foist his preferred choice of candidates to lead the National Assembly failed.
After arm-twisting the legislators, the presidency and the APC leadership ensured that Senator Ahmad Lawan and Hon Femi Gbajiabiamila emerged the president of the Senate and speaker of the Lower House respectively of the ninth NASS.
One striking characteristics of the Nigeria Senate is the high rate of turnover of senators after successive national elections. There is no term when 50 per cent of the senators ever return to the chamber after each general election.
Results of the senatorial election of February 23, 2019 and subsequent re-runs indicated that 64 serving senators were not re-elected for the June 10, 2019 inauguration of the 9th Senate. In other words, only 45 senators were returned. In 2015, 79 senators couldn’t return to the red chamber as only 30 were re-elected.
House of Representatives And 21 Years Of No Dull Moment
Since its inauguration in 1999, the House of Representatives has evolved from infancy to maturity in spite of the challenge of not having the requisite manpower, infrastructure and experience to guide its functions at inception. Building from scratch, the House has not only come to be synonymous with the people, it has emerged the most vociferous, dynamic and stabilising force in championing the voice of the ordinary Nigerian and the independence of the legislature.
Since 1999, the House has strived to assert its independence as an institution by setting boundaries and ensuring that hard as the executive arm of government tried, it does not succeed in meddling in its in-house affairs especially as it relates to its leaders.
Upon the country’s return to civil rule, the emergence of its first set of speakers, Hon. Salisu Buhari, who was forced to resign his position and membership of the House over cases of age among others, Hon. Umar Ghali Na’Abba, his successor and Hon. Aminu Bello Masari, who emerged speaker of the 5th House were without rancour.
However, Na’Abba’s tenure would prove to be a tumultuous one which consistently saw the House at loggerhead with the Executive. All through his tenure, the House ensured a robust defence of the independence of the legislature, ensured that the principle of separation of powers was maintained and the rule of law was respected in its dealings leading to a chain of events which included the overturning of the President’s veto on a bill and threats to impeach the president over alleged misrule. The Executive on its part, fought back by attempting to clip Na’Abba’s wings through bogus allegations, intimidation and impeachment.
Notable among the feat of the Na’Abba-led House in 2003, was its rejection of the tenure elongation project presented to the National Assembly by President Olusegun Obasanjo despite reported inducements. The ambition was largely perceived as “undemocratic”.
Recalling that feat, immediate past speaker of the House, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, once described the legislature as the stabilizing force that saw to the end of the third term ambition of Obasanjo, adding that that singular act saved the country’s democracy.
Dogara, who stated this while articulating the contributions of the legislative arm to the growth and sustenance of democracy since 1999, at the inaugural edition of National Political Summit organised by Save Democracy Group, said, “perhaps one of the greatest achievements of the legislature in Nigeria and its biggest contribution to democratic consolidation in Nigeria is the rejection of the third term bid of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
While the overbearing Obasanjo succeeded in his control of the Senate especially as it had to do with its leadership, the House on the other hand, made it clear that it would not allow the executive rule the roost. Safe to say that since that outstanding show of independence by the House, the Executive has always sought ways of influencing the leadership selection process in the National Assembly.
The sixth session kicked off on a historic note with the emergence of the first female speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Patricia Etteh. However, this feat was cut short as the House faced its first crisis. Soon after she emerged speaker, allegations of financial misconduct were levelled against her by some of her colleagues and eventually led to her removal paving the way for Hon. Dimeji Bankole on 30th October, 2007.
In his acceptance speech, Bankole showed that he meant business by stating that his first task was building confidence and assuring Nigerians that “we are still their representatives. I want an independent House that Nigerians will be proud of”.
This was reflected mainly in the House’ oversight functions which ensured unspent budgeted funds were returned by Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) to government coffers.
Bankole’s inability to get a return ticket to the 7th House and possibly retaining his position given that the then ruling PDP, zoned it to the Southwest zone, gave an opening for another female, Hon. Mulikat Adeola-Akande to become the speaker. The executive in its usual meddlesome manner, attempted to obtrude a candidate on the legislators.
However, Adeola-Akande’s candidature was rejected by a group of lawmakers cut across party lines, they challenged the zoning arrangement by nominating Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal as their preferred candidate for the position despite pressure and intimidation. At the end of the day, Tambuwal defeated the party’s candidate, Hon. Mulikat Akande-Adeola at the election.
Predictably, a similar scenario would play out in the 8th Assembly (the Senate) despite the emergence of a new ruling party All Progressives Congress (APC). In the Lower chamber, the position of the speaker was also zoned to the Southwest by the party and Femi Gbajabiamila as the preferred candidate. Once again, the House presented its candidate, Yakubu Dogara, who defeated Gbajabiamila much to the chagrin of the party.
In the same vein, the tussle for the position of the speaker of the 9th House of Representatives was without drama as the ruling APC once again, retained the position to the Southwest, and re-named Gbajabiamila as its preferred candidate. Only this time, Gbajabiamila had the support of majority of the legislators. He had as his opponent, a Umaru Mohammed Bago who not challenged the party’s position, but wanted the North Central region rewarded with the position. Gbajabiamila won the election emerging the current speaker.
From 1999 till date, the House of Representatives in line with its constitutional mandate, and promoting good governance in Nigeria, has passed several critical legislations. These legislations which spread across various areas include the National Agency for the Control of AIDS (2000); Child Rights Act (2003); Small and Medium Scale Industries Agency Act (2003); Medical Laboratory Science Council of Nigeria Act (2003); National Health Act (2014); Minimum Wage (Amendment) Act 2011; Sovereign Investment Authority (Est. Act, 2011); Pension Reform Act (2014) and Tertiary Education Trust Fund (Est. Act 2011).
Others are, the Infrastructure Concession Regulatory Commission (Est.) Act 2005; Federal Roads Maintenance Agency Act (2007); Electric Power Sector Reform Act (2005); Petroleum Products Pricing Regulatory Agency (Est.) Act 2003; National Space Research and Development Agency Act (2010); Public Procurement Act (2007); Independent Corrupt Practices (and other related offences) Commission (Act 2000); Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (Est.) Act 2002; Money Laundering (Prohibition) Act 2011; Fiscal Responsibility Act (2007); Federal Inland Revenue Service (Est.) Act 2007; Debt Management Office (Est.) Act 2003; Terrorism Prohibition Act (2013); Cybercrime Act (2015); Finance Act (2019).
Additionally, it passed the Freedom of Information (FOI) Act; Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) Act; National Agency Against Trafficking in Person Act, Pension Reform Act, Electoral Acts (2002, 2006, 2010); Northeast Development Commission Act (2017), Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI) Act; Violence Against Person Prohibition Act, Local Content Act, Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offence Commission (ICPC) Act, Administration of Criminal Justice Act, Evidence Act; Gender and Equal Opportunity Bill, Protection of Persons with Disabilities Bill, Minimum Wage Bill among others.
Over the years, the House has beamed its searchlight on the activities of MDAs, as well as various sectors of the economy which points to the fact that it is more conscious of its role in the input towards the country’s growing democracy. In the 6th House, under the leadership of Bankole, oversight functions of the House resulted in the return of N1 trillion unspent funds. Subsequent Houses have maintained this tradition thereby exposing fraud in these sectors and saving the nation money.
These included power sector probe; N195billion Pension Scam; N64 billion NMA second runway; the chairman of Pension Reform Task Team; Kerosene subsidy scam; Police Pension Fund Fraud; N255 million armoured car scandal by Stella Oduah; missing N20 billion oil money; $15million private jet/arms scandal; Immigration scandal; Malabu Oil’s $1.1billion scandal; N33 billion NEMA contract scandal; Recovery and utilisation of Abacha loot and the N9trillion PenCom probe.
More funds have been returned to government coffers through the activities of the House Public Account Committee (PAC) as stipulated in Section 4(1) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended). The committee is saddled with the responsibility of examine the accounts showing the appropriation of the sums granted by the House to meet the public expenditure, together with the auditor’s report.
In the 9th House, the committee recorded some successes in its activities by treating a backlog of reports on the accounts of MDAs from 2010 to 2014 and, for the first time in the history of the House, had its report considered and passed by the House
Beyond legislations and innovations, the House on several occasions, had cause to intervene in other constitutional and civil matters.
In 2010, the House in collaboration with the Senate, invoked the “Doctrine of Necessity” by passing a motion making then Vice President Goodluck Jonathan the acting president.
The 8th House under the leadership of Yakubu Dogara held sectoral debate on aspects of the economy. The debate was consistent with the 8th Assembly agenda and was part of its legislative initiative to address national problems. The debates led to the crafting of new bills as well as amendment to existing ones. It also held such debate on the Ajaokuta Steel Company in view of addressing issues that has caused the complex to remain
Following Nigeria’s return to democracy in 1999, and the proclamation of the 6th National Assembly, Salisu Buhari emerged the speaker of the House of Representatives. Weeks later, a scandal ensued on allegations of certificate forgery and falsification of age following a news and an investigation by a Newspaper on 16 February, 1999. The investigation revealed that Buhari was born in 1970, and not 1963 as he claimed, and also that he was never a student or graduate of the University of Toronto, Canada. The falsification of his age with regards to his position as Speaker of the House, was in contravention of section 65(1) of the Constitution of Nigeria which disqualifies anyone below the age of 30 from contesting in the election to the House.
Following the scandal, Buhari was forced to resign both his position as the speaker, and member of the House leading to his resignation. He was later convicted of certificate forgery and sentenced to two years in prison with an option of a fine. He paid the fine and was later pardoned by President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Also, in August 2007, a news broke alleging that then speaker, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh spent $5 million to renovate her official residence and that of deputy speaker, Babangida Nguroje. An investigation into the allegation was consequently launched by a panel of the House.
Etteh emerged speaker in June 2007. She is the only woman to have held this position in the Nigerian government. In addition to the $5 million spent to renovate two official residences, the speaker approved another $1.4 million for 12 official cars. A move lawmakers at the time said the spending was not approved in the 2007 budget and the award of the contracts did not follow established procedures.
In September 2007, she faced a committee of the House over the allegations, while calls both within and outside the parliament for her to resign her position remai
While the scandal which led to several fisticuffs on the floor of the House lasted, one of her supporters, Hon. Aminu Shuaibu Safana, slumped and died during one of the brawls on October 17, 2007. On 30 October, following weeks of pressure, Etteh resigned her position as speaker. Her deputy, Nguroje, also resigned. However, she was never officially indicted.
After Etteh’s resignation from the post on 30 October, Hon. Terngu Tsegba was appointed speaker pro-tempore. On 1 November, Dimeji Bankole was elected to succeed Etteh. The new deputy speaker was Usman Bayero Nafada.
One week after his election, political opponents alleged that Bankole had not completed his mandatory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, and called for his resignation. Bankole however dispelled the claims by presenting his NYSC discharge certificate.
On June 20, 2010, Nigerians watched as lawmakers exchanged blows when Hon. Chile Ogbuagu attempted to move a motion in line with the order on privileges wherein he cited some sections of the constitution and the rules and order of the House, stating that his privileges as a member had been badly bruised by remarks credited to some members.
In his motion, Ogbuagu said that the said members were making allegations that the House was corrupt thus, calling for their suspension indefinitely. The lawmaker had hardly concluded his observation when some members booed him, while some walked up to him and snatched the paper from him leading to a commotion and a free-for-all.
Some members were beaten while the sergeant-at-home shielded the mace. Honorable Doris Uboh and Dino Melaye were forcefully taken out of the chamber when they tried to resist the decision to suspend them. Consequently, speaker Bankole announce the announced the indefinite suspension of the eleven members involved in the allegations.
The Speaker of the 7th House, Rt. Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal ditched the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP,) for the then main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC). This would be the first time a presiding officer will defect from his party to another.
Prior to the formal announcement of his defection on 28 October, 2014, there had been widespread speculations of the speaker’s intention, owing to his body language. Soon after he made the announcement, Tambuwal adjourned the House.
However, trouble was soon to follow after the House cut short its recess to reconvene on November 19, following a letter from the the then President Goodluck Jonathan, seeking the legislative approval for the extension of emergency rule in some states of the North east region. Heavily armed policemen had invaded the National Assembly complex, fired tear gas and attempted to prevent members of the House, including speaker Tambuwal from entering the complex.
This forced some of Tambuwal’s supporters to scale the fence of the complex in other to gain entrance into the chamber for their legislative duties.
Like his predecessor, speaker of the 8thHouse, Yakubu Dogara on January 30, 2019, officially announced his defection from the APC to the opposition PDP. Dogara had alongside Senate President, Bukola Saraki, had defected since July 2018 without announcing their defections on the floors of the House and senate. Predictably, the feathers the duo’s defection ruffled didn’t go unnoticed as masked personnel of the Department of State Services (DSS), on 7 August, 2019, invaded and a mounted stern wall at the entrance of the National Assembly complex preventing lawmakers, staff as well as journalists from gaining access into the complex.
However, as pressure mounted and confrontations took place, the legislators who were mostly PDP members, were eventually allowed into the building but not into the chambers.
In his letter, the former speaker cited the crisis that afflicted the PDP which led to the creation of factions which “negatively” affected him. “Accordingly, this is to formally inform you that I have since gone back to the party under whose platform I was elected to the House, and which has articulated a clear programme to rescue to Nigeria-that is the PDP”, he said!