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Between Tambuwal’s ‘day of mourning’ and PDP’s rally

As President Goodluck Jonathan and other leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) converged on Kaduna, Tuesday, for the North West zonal rally of the…

As President Goodluck Jonathan and other leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) converged on Kaduna, Tuesday, for the North West zonal rally of the party, leaders of the party from the zone were well represented.
As the rally commenced in the morning, it proved to be a roll call of who is who in the party in the country as well as in the zone as, apart from President Jonathan, Vice President Namadi Sambo was there, the PDP national chairman, Ahmadu Adamu Muazu was there, chairman of the PDP Governor’s Forum, Godswill Akpabio was there as well as the BOT chairman, Tony Anenih, state governors on the platform of the party like Sule Lamido, Mukhtar Ramalan Yero, Saidu Dakingari and the deputy governor of Sokoto State, Mukhtari Shagari were there, while there were also others like the vice chairman of the zone, Ibrahim Kazaure and former acting national chairman, Dr Bello Haliru.
But the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who is from the zone, and who was to have been next to the vice president in terms of zonal hierarchy was conspicuously absent from the event.
Former minister of sports, Bolaji Abdullahi was recently relieved of his appointment on account of a rally which he did not fully participate in Ilorin, Kwara State, hence every member of the PDP is supposed to take such rallies seriously.
Initially many thought the speaker had travelled out of the country, but it was later discovered that not only was he in the country but was hale and hearty holding sessions in the House.
The suspicion that Tambuwal may have chosen to distance himself from a PDP gathering to under score the point that he was not comfortable in a PDP gathering and that his heart lies more with the All Progressives Congress (APC) resurfaced.
Tambuwal who was not unaware of the suspicion, however, chose the reconvening of plenary of the House that day, to score a point.
He explained to the House members why he chose to be with them on a day he was supposed to be with the President and other big wigs of the party in Kaduna that his mind is more on the insecurity problems facing the nation.
He stressed that the security situation in the country is grim and that he had to use the day for the reconvening of plenary to mourn those who lost their lives in the various attacks by insurgents in the north eastern part of the country.
The speaker said he was moved to address the House due to what happened on February 25, 2014, the very day the House adjourned plenary, when insurgents struck in a school in Bunu Yadi, Yobe State killing innocent children.
“On that night, about 59 students of Federal Government College, Bunu Yadi, Yobe State were killed in the most heinous manner. Some of our future national leaders were mowed down in gruesome circumstances in their sleep. Some were shot dead while many were burnt beyond recognition. That day was a day that will live in infamy in the history of this nation.
“When innocent, harmless and defenseless women and children become the targets of these heartless, murderous bandits; when the lives of sleeping children are so callously snuffed out, it becomes clear that these agents of terror have murdered sleep and they henceforth deserve none,” he said.
But almost the same time that the Speaker was trying to draw attention to the bizarre situation and the need to address the insecurity in the country, President Jonathan and other leaders of the PDP engaged themselves in other matters.
The PDP has not been the same since five of its governors left its fold for the All Progressives Congress (APC) and most of its activities are usually targeted at undermining the strength of the APC. This it seems, is what the PDP chose to do on Tuesday.
But the Speaker said he chose to operate differently due to the seriousness of the situation and urged his colleagues to put themselves in the shoes of the parents who have lost children in the attack to feel the impact.
“Picture the scene as the terrorists creep into the hostels and the children begin to wake up one after the other, with their eyes heavy with sleep, each of them convinced that this is some nightmare. Picture the chaos in the rooms and the terror on the faces of the children as they watch the murderers attack the first set of students, the ones nearest to the entrance, and the students begin to realise that what is happening is not a nightmare but a reality far harsher than any nightmare the mind of a child can construct.
“Finally, my dear colleagues, imagine that it is your own child in the hostels at Bunu Yadi on this hellish night. I can still hear the voice of the father of Aliyu Yola, one of the victims of the school massacre crying, “Aliyu was scared to go back to school after the last holiday. I forced him to resume not knowing he will never come back to me again,” he said to emphasize his point.
The House had to suspend budget defense process going on, to address the issue making the House to adjourn plenary to Tuesday next week to give the committees more time to conclude the defense as the Speaker called on the government to rise to the occasion.
President Jonathan since receiving defectors to the PDP in Imo State last month, has made it a point to tour round the geo-political zones in the country to receive defectors and campaign for the PDP ahead of the 2015 general elections even when the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had constantly reminded the political parties that it is not yet time for campaigns.
At the rally, the President said the gang up against the PDP will fail and that the party would win both Kano and Sokoto States which are in the zone.
“We allow people to continue to make changes but PDP will remain stable and committed to the development of this country. This zone is still under the control of the PDP and come 2015, PDP is going to retain the zone,” he stated.
PDP National chairman Ahmadu Adamu Mu’azu also spoke for the furtherance of the interest of the PDP, saying the opposition APC has copied its manifesto.
“The party opposing us is using our manifesto. They took part of our manifesto. I will convene a national conference to improve the party’s manifesto,” he said.
All the state governors in attendance also spoke only in the interests of the PDP sidestepping issues that would have impact on the polity.
But Tambuwal declared the day a national mourning day, explaining that he was hindered from pointing out the grimness of the situation earlier due to the fact that the House had adjourned on the very day the attack occurred.
“Whatever grievances the terrorists harbour against the government of Nigeria, Nigeria’s innocent children have nothing to do with it. Nigeria’s children bear no responsibility for either policy making or policy implementation in Nigeria. It is therefore an act of cowardice worthy of ringing condemnation to target the children, to strike at those who are not only innocent but are also unable to strike back or defend themselves. There can be no reason, no justification and no acceptable excuse for this act of mindless brutality. Whatever message the terrorists set out to send to the Nigerian government has been drowned out by the cries for justice by the blood of these innocent martyrs.
“It is to remember these innocent children and other victims of violence in this country, that the House has declared today “a day of mourning” to express our collective outrage on these killings that have gone on for far too long,” he said.
Tambuwal said in the past, the House had initiated and supported all measures needed to combat terrorism in the country and expects all arms of government to do so.
“We have passed over 20 resolutions on the issue of national security. We amended the Anti-terrorism Act, 2011 to strengthen the security agencies. We have appropriated huge sums of money for the security agencies. Only recently, January 30, 2014 the House in making its recommendations for constitutional amendment voted to include the national security agencies and the Nigerian Police on the first line charge for purpose of ensuring their financial independence and timely release of funds when appropriated.
He said the basic issue now is to ensure that the welfare of the military is effectively administered and  ensure that  they have the appropriate equipment to execute their assignment.

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