A crisis appears to be brewing in Nigeria’s House of Representatives over who presides over the 10th assembly. Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and his deputy, Ahmed Wase, clashed during the plenary session on Wednesday, leading to speculations that the race for the key position is getting messier by the day.
The Guardian reported that Wase is eyeing the seat of the Speaker and is a member of the G-7, a group of aspirants who are not comfortable with the zoning arrangement of the All Progressives Congress (APC). Gbajabiamila, on the other hand, had recommended Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu for Speaker and Deputy Speaker, respectively, leading to their endorsement by the APC.
The trouble started when Gbajabiamila asked 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 2:00 p.m. to allow members to attend an event at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS). However, members of the House were surprised when Wase cautioned the Speaker on the pronouncement, saying that the House should focus on its primary function of making laws and prioritizing citizens’ interests.
Gbajabiamila responded by saying that Wase did not appreciate the importance of NILDS like some of them do. The Speaker also clarified that the House would not adjourn to go to NILDS, but only to ensure that the sitting closes by 2:00 p.m., after which he would witness the NILDS event. Wase fired back, saying that the parliament is about us, not about “I.” Gbajabiamila expressed surprise at the Deputy Speaker’s outburst, adding that it’s the first time a Deputy Speaker would challenge what the Speaker is saying.
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Meanwhile, newly elected House of Representatives member, Ikenga Ugochinyere, and 62 of his colleagues from opposition political parties have thrown their weight behind Abbas and Kalu. Ugochinyere, who is also the spokesperson of Coalition of United Political Parties (CUPP), explained that the decision was in the best interest of the country and called on those jostling for the Speakership to set aside their interests and withdraw from the race.
The CUPP spokesman also faulted the notion held in certain quarters that the House Rules were tampered with to prepare ground for Abbas’ emergence as Speaker. He added that those opposed to Abbas’ candidature cannot get the support of members of opposition political parties in the House. Ugochinyere assured that Abbas and Kalu have the wherewithal to oversee affairs of the House, and called on all members-elect to join the prefect of the class, Tajudeen Abbas, to steer the ship of the 10th Assembly and set a record of performance and achievement for Nigeria.
The controversy over who presides at the 10th House of Representatives has caused a crisis between the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, and his Deputy, Ahmed Wase. The race for the key position is getting messier by the day, with Wase, who is eyeing the seat of Speaker, cautioning Gbajabiamila on his pronouncement to close the sitting by 2:00 p.m. to attend an event at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies. However, Ugochinyere and his colleagues from opposition parties have thrown their weight behind Abbas and Kalu, calling on those jostling for the Speakership to set aside their interests and support the prefect of the class. The controversy continues, but the nation expects the House of Representatives to resolve the issue in the interest of the country.
Source: The Guardian