During the presentation of the 2024 budget by President Bola Tinubu before the joint session of the National Assembly on Wednesday, November 29, Nigerians observed with astonishment as the lawmakers collectively performed an allegiance song to the President.
Their action is generating diverse reactions, with many lamenting that it was only aimed at impressing and massaging the ego of President Tinubu, a development that has been described as the height of sycophancy on the part of the lawmakers
Tinubu met with the joint session of the Senate and House of Representatives, in company with his vice president, Kashim Shettima; Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume; Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila; and other top government officials, to present the 2024 budget.
But, Nigerians were taken aback when the lawmakers, rather than concentrate on the important business of the day, turned the whole exercise to what some people have referred to as comic relief of a sort.
Soon after the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, finished presenting his speech, and said: “Distinguished colleagues, at this point, let us welcome the president; a man with track records and an alumnus of the National Assembly, to present his budget estimate,” members of the Red and Green legislative chambers relapsed into a singing mode.
They all stood up, sang and chorused: “On your mandate we shall stand; on your mandate we shall stand; on your mandate Bola, on your mandate Bola, on your mandate, we shall stand,” to the amazement and consternation of many, but also to the admiration of Mr. President and his supporters.
The president’s gladness over the development was immediately made known when he thanked Akpabio for his outstanding speech and admitted that he felt at home receiving the applause and praises.
Prior to the orchestra, the Senate President had, in a manner many have also described as an attempt to trivialise the serious business of the day, made reference to the fact that in 24 years of democracy, Nigeria was able to achieve what the United States of America, with its 247 years of democracy achieved in 185 years.
Expounding the puzzle, he noted that it was in the 185th year of democratic practice in America that the country was able to produce two former senators as president and vice president, in the persons of John F Kennedy and Lyndon Johnson, a feat Nigeria achieved in 24 years of its democratic experience by producing two former senators, Tinubu and Shettima as president and vice president, respectively.