Pretending to be in Italy where fisticuffs in parliament are nor anathema, members of the Nigerian House of Representatives unleashed their most rowdy and rancorous session on the beleaguered nation in early November, with the latest attempt to unseat the speaker.
MPs traded punches in the House and tore at each other's clothes as the nation watched in horror. One of the MPs, Alobi Nyambi, the All People's Party's representative from Cross Rivers State, was reportedly stabbed as attempts to remove the speaker, Ghali Umar Na'abba, took a dramatic turn.
Na'abba has been accused of "financial recklessness", but unlike his two predecessors who were removed earlier this year on similar charges, he is not going to go without a fight.
Officially the nation's No.4 citizen, Na'aaba remains the most visible icon of the Northern oligarchy that has seen its almost total influence on the country cut to near zero by President Obasanjo's 20-month-old government.
There have been previous attempts to remove Na'aaba, but charges of specific financial misdemeanour levelled against him and other top members of the House at the time, came to nought as the House would not probe itself.
The pro-Na'abba group in the House suspects that the probe is only a ploy by Obasanjo's government to kick out Na'abba because he has consistently refused to sing Obasanjo's tunes.
A move to bring back Aihaji Salisu Buhari, the erstwhile speaker whom Na'abba replaced after he was found to have forged his certificates, backfired because the Northern oligarchy saw it as an attempt to diminish the influence of Northern MPs who are in the majority in the House.
The unpopularity of Buhari, and the refusal of the North to "fight their own with their own" (Buhari is a Northerner), also did not help.
The police became the next actors on the stage when they started a full-scale criminal investigation after a report of a committee headed by Senator Idris Kuta, had made allegations of impropriety against the leadership of both the House of Representatives and the Senate. The police invited all the principal actors, but Na'abba, playing the ethnic card, refused to turn up.
Not surprisingly, Na'aaba, who had personally attended the launch of the controversial Sharia law in most Northern states, got the public backing of his Northern supporters, which came in the form of a boycott of the country's 40th independence anniversary celebrations on 1 October, by all the former heads of stare who hail...