The House of Representatives yesterday temporarily assumed the semblance of a boxing ring as members loyal to the two factions of the Peoples’ Democratic Party, PDP, engaged in fisticuffs.
The Abubakar Baraje-led “new PDP” and seven of its governors were slated to meet with the PDP caucus of the House at room 0.28 to brief them on the lingering crisis in the ruling party.
But no sooner had the visitors been introduced, than Rep. Henry Ofongo (PDP, Bayelsa) started to chant “Point of order,” creating a chaotic atmosphere for close to five minutes.
In a bid to get him to stop, some members of the “new PDP” came forward to take him out of the venue but other members aligned to the Bamanga Tukur faction came to his rescue.
The G-7 governors, Speaker Aminu Waziri Tambuwal and other principal officers of the PDP watched in awe as blows were freely exchanged and clothes were torn. Members climbed on chairs and jumped on tables. The atmosphere was charged as the hall erupted in violence.
Baraje’s speech was subsequently made inaudible by the incessant chants of the members of the PDP.
They initially began “no! No! No!”, then changed to “Bamanga! Bamanga!
When calm was finally restored, House Leader, Hon Mulikat Akande-Adeola, made her welcome remarks which left the floor open for Mr. Baraje to deliver his speech.
But the factional chairman’s speech was drowned in shouts of “Bamanga, Bamanga. No way, no way” until when it was time for Tambuwal to speak.
However, the shouting resumed when Tambuwal addressed the visiting “new PDP” team as “our leaders”.
The Speaker called on both sides to sheath their swords and place national interest above personal ambitions adding that the crisis in the PDP has exposed the party’s vulnerability.