Teddy Oscar, Abuja
With an imminent government shutdown to be witnessed in Nigeria as the consideration of the 2014 Budget beckons, the All Progressive Congress (APC) lawmakers at the National Assembly have declared that it would not be the first time such thing is witnessed in party politics.
Nigerians are looking forward to the debates on the budget, consideration of the ministerial nominees, as well as the confirmation of the newly appointed service chiefs by the two chambers of the National Assembly next Tuesday.
But their hopes look to be dashed with the stern directives that have been handed over to the APC lawmakers by their party chieftains.
Rising from its 8th Interim National Executive Committee Meeting last Thursday in Abuja, APC, through a communiqué, directed its members in the National Assembly to block all proposals by the Presidency until what it described as lawlessness in politically volatile Rivers State is brought to an end in the state.
Such proposals include blockage of the consideration of the 2014 Budget (which had earlier been slated to kick-start on Tuesday), consideration of ministerial nominees and confirmation of new service chiefs, among others.
Well meaning Nigerians, including the pan-Yoruba group, Afenifere, and Civil Liberties Organisation (CLO) have, however, condemned the directive from APC to its members in the National Assembly to work against the interest of the Federal Government.
But Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, House minority leader, maintained that government shutdown, the first of its kind in the fourth republic, is not new in party politics.
“The progressive lawmakers would not truncate the country’s hard earned democracy. We will do what we need to do to ensure good governance in our country. Government shutdown or filibustering is nothing new in party politics world over.
“When government isn’t shut down, and successive budgets have been passed, of what benefit has it been to the common man?
“The end justifies the means, and the end in this context being good governance and the means extraordinary measures such as this,” an emailed statement issued by Wasiu Olanrewaju-Smart, personal research assistant to Gbajabiamila, read.
In their reactions to APC’s directive to its lawmakers, Afenifere said that the directive was tantamount to shutting down the country, while CLO described it as insensitive.