Gbajabiamila, Deputy Fight at Plenary
Gbajabiamila, Deputy Fight at Plenary
House of Representatives

At the House of Representatives plenary on Wednesday, the speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase, got into an unusual altercation.

The issue was a statement regarding the early adjournment of the plenary on Thursday to allow the speaker and the members to attend the official opening of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies, NILDS, a permanent site along the airport road in Abuja.

Before adjourning plenary yesterday, Gbajabiamila requested that the order paper for Thursday be made shorter and mentioned that President Muhammadu Buhari's commissioning ceremony was scheduled for 3 p.m. As a result, the speaker requested that Hassan Fulata, the chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, make sure that there wouldn't be too many events listed on the Order Paper. At that moment, Ahmed Wase, the Deputy Speaker, stressed that the House's principal duty was to enact laws and argued that the inauguration of the NILDS headquarters was insufficient justification for an early 2 pm adjournment.

He said members willing to attend the commission could do so, while the House continued sitting.

Reacting, the speaker said: “Deputy speaker, maybe the importance of NILDS is not clear to you like it is to some of us. We are not adjourning the House for members to attend the commissioning. I said the order paper should be made lighter because I will attend the commissioning.”

But Wase retorted, saying “Mr. Speaker, the House is not about I, but us.”

For a while, the speaker ignored his deputy to make other announcements and later addressed Wase.

He said: “Deputy Speaker, I have been in this House long enough to know that this is the first time in the history of this House that a deputy speaker will openly oppose what the speaker says.’’

To the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Gbajabiamila said: “Make the order paper light for tomorrow. This House will adjourn at 2.00 pm,’’ as members present at plenary screamed, “carried”.

Beyond the surface, the development, however, gave the members the impression that the real issue was Gbajabiamila's backing of Tajudeen Abbas, the APC nominee for speaker of the upcoming 10th House. Remember that Wase had also proclaimed his desire to compete for the same position? This could have caused the speaker and his deputy to clash.




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