At Plenary, Gbajabiamila, Wase Clash Amid Battle for 10th Speakership
POLITICS DIGEST – The Speaker, House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, clashed in the chamber during the plenary on Wednesday.
Towards the end of the session, Gbajabiamila asked the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Fulata, to prepare a light order paper for Thursday as the sitting should close by 2 pm to allow members to attend an event at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.
Miffed by the announcement, Wase said, “Mr Speaker, I’m getting to see this getting so funny and we have lost quite a number of periods of time.
For the commissioning of projects for God’s sake! Why do we have to shelve a lot of activities that we have just to go and witness the commissioning of a project of NILDS?
“I want to beg, sir, that we should do our functions. Those who have the interest to go, they have the right to. But our main primary function in this parliament is to make law and our citizens should be our priority.”
As Gbajajabiamila was responding, saying, “Perhaps, DS, you don’t appreciate the importance of NILDS like some of us do. I think NILDS is very important,” the Deputy Speaker interjected, “I have every information and idea of what NILDS is!”
“Last week, because of this same programme, the House…the plenary was not in session. But today, because of the plenary, I have to be here while this programme is ongoing, and I cannot be properly accommodated at the induction ground. That is why I am coming under the matter of privilege, Order 6(1), (2) and (3).
“My prayer is that the House adjourns to allow us that are participating this week to end the programme, while the House reconvenes after the programme. I am sure I am not the only victim of this circumstance. There are other members that I have seen on their faces; that have even equally complained about their privileges being breached by this House.”
However, Wase criticised the suspension of sittings for the induction ceremony.
Wase said, “I respect the view of my distinguished colleague, Hon Isiaka, but I think, Mr Speaker, this institution has a lot of memories. There has never been a time, because of induction, the House suspends plenary. And I don’t know the rate of those who are now back to the House, compared to the people who are now not returning, that we have to adjourn the House because of induction.
“I think there are many issues in the country that we need to face and tackle. We are running out. Mr Speaker, we have today and tomorrow for the week; we have lost yesterday. I want to beg my brother to reconsider his stand. It is a privilege and I believe it should not…and there is nowhere in our rules that says if we are doing induction…the days of sitting in the House are very clearly stated in our House Standing Orders. I want to beg about that, sir.”
The speaker eventually approved that the House should adjourn sitting for the induction ceremony.
POLITICS DIGEST had reported that Gbajabiamila played a key role in convincing the President-elect, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in adopting Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu for Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the coming 10th House, leading to their endorsement by the ruling All Progressives Congress.
Wase, who is eyeing the seat of Speaker, is a member of the G-7, a group of aspirants aggrieved with the leadership zoning formula of the APC, which plans to adopt a member to run against the party’s candidate.