#ElishaAbbo: Nigerian Senators And The Many Controversies Surrounding Them

Senators and controversies appear to be two entities that always get to be mentioned together.

The recent incident surrounding one of the youngest senators in the 9th Assembly, Senator Elisha Abbo readily comes to mind here.

According to Wikipedia, legislative violence broadly refers to any violent clashes between members of a legislature, often physically, inside the legislature and triggered by divisive issues and tight votes. Such clashes have occurred in many countries across time, and notable incidents still regularly occur.

Although the sight of brawling politicians is incongruous with a legislature’s stately image, its occupants, like in any other workplace, are still prone to stress and anger. The confrontational nature of politics, regardless of their location, and the high stakes involved often add to the simmering tensions.

The act of violence itself is something the Nigerian National Assembly isn’t immune of in any way although it must be stated here Nigeria isn’t the only country where acts of violence or controvercy is recorded in the parliament as several other nations across the world also have a healthy dose of such experiences.

Many Nigerians will readily recall this incidence above. The dateline is 20th of November, 2014 when lawmakers were caught on camera scaling the fence of the National Assembly because security operatives locked the entrance of the complex in a political controversy.

There are so many versions of this picture littered over the Internet, and the same thing is happening in everyone of them, grown men clambering over the gate.

Another instance is that of  June 23, 2010, where videos of the fight that broke out in the National Assembly after 11 members were suspended for accusing the speaker of corruption.

The lawmakers blew whistles as the House of Representatives read the motion, but the protest turned violent when they were told their allegations had “embarrassed” the House.

Three male representatives were dragged out of the chamber, their clothes torn in the brawl.

A woman was also ejected.

 

Interestingly, even the state Houses of Assembly are not exempted from this experience.

Several instances abound in the various State legislative houses. Some are examined below:

This is Hon. Evans Bapakaye in a scuffle with mobile police officers during the fight at the Rivers state House of Assembly in Port Harcourt. This happened on the 12th of July 2013, the video of the fight which you can find on YouTube is a testament of shame to Nigeria’s shameless lawmakers.

The Nasarawa Flying Lawmaker

The best description to give the photo above is possibly that of the Spiderman in a kaftan.

However, the question remains? Why is Spiderman in a kaftan? What is he doing at the Nasarawa State House of Assembly on Thursday, April 7, 2016? So many questions.

The picture above was taken when members of the Nasarawa state House of Assembly engaged in a free-for-all on Monday, April 4, 2016, over the appointment of sole administrators for 11 local government councils by Governor Tanko Al-Makura. The free-for-all fight occurred on the floor of the legislature barely two hours after the governor inaugurated the 11 sole administrators.

Controversial and scandalous Nigerian Lawmakers

Fighting Dino

Several Nigerian lawmakers readily fall in the net of those who have been involved in one controversy, scandal or act of violence.

Top on this list is Dino Melaye. His stint in the 8th Senate was characterised and punctuated with a regular dose of scandal both within and outside the chambers.

Many can still re-collect his repeated face off with Senator Oluremi Tinubu. During his first term in the senate, Dino Melaye was in support of the leader of the house then, Patricia Etteh, who was exposed for awarding contracts for renovations to herself, the renovations were. Dino Melaye fought literally, throwing chairs and tables, and covered with his own blood..

Senator Tinubu had back then petitioned the Senate president and the chairman of the All Progressive Congress (APC) John Odigie Oyegun claiming that her colleague threatened to rape her.

She asked the Senate to discipline Senator Melaye following the misunderstanding, which erupted between them on Tuesday, July 12.

Senator Marafa

Another senator that has had some stint of controversy in the senate is Senator Marafa. The video above shows him almost engaging in fist cuffs with another senator when the senate president refused to oblige him audience.

With these and many more that exist in the annals of Nigeria’s legislative terrain it is very obvious that Nigerian lawmakers are indeed not too far from controversies.

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