Femi Gbajabiamila, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, and Ahmed Wase, his deputy, had a disagreement on Wednesday during plenary.
As seen in a three-minute video uploaded on Twitter, Wase disagreed with Gbajabiamila’s directive to end Thursday’s sitting by 2:00 pm so that members could attend a commissioning at the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
He argued that the House had lost a lot of time because of incessant adjournments and the primary functions of the house outweighed the need to attend the NILDS event.
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The Speaker, who was taken aback by his deputy’s outburst, maintained that the house would be adjourned by 2:00 pm on Thursday.
Meanwhile, this clash came amid indications of a cloud of tension between Gbajabiamila and Wase.
Last month, it was rumoured that Gbajabiamila was working against Wase, who is interested in the office of the Speaker. But the Speaker debunked the claims.
Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu are the All Progressives Congress (APC)’s preferred candidates for Speaker and Deputy Speaker respectively, and Gabajabiamila, a close associate of Bola Tinubu, the party’s candidate in the February 25 presidential election who became president-elect, is expected to support them.
A TEXT OF THE DUO’S EXCHANGE:
Wase: I’m beginning to find this house that it is getting funny and funnier everyday. We have lost quite a number of period of time. We are commissioning a project for God’s sake. Why do we have to shelve a lot of the activities that we have just to go and witness the commissioning of a project of National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS)? I want to beg sir that we should do our functions. Those who have the interest to go to NILDS have the right to go there. Our main primary function in this parliament is to make law […].
Gbajabiamila: Perhaps, DS, you don’t appreciate the importance of NILDS like some of us do. I think NILDS is very important. It was set up… (Wase cuts in)
Wase: I did mention to you that I was part of those that went, so I have every information and idea about what NILDS is.
Gbajabiamila: It was set up by this same institution by statute. We are not adjourning the house to go to NILDS. What I said was let’s try and make it light and leave here by 2.00 pm. If you want, we can resume at 10. We will do our work, but we will adjourn this house at 2 o’ clock. I will witness NILDS because it is important to me.
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Wase: Thank you very much, sir. A quick reminder to the speaker and the [others]. The parliament is about us, not about I. Thank you very much.
Gbajabiamila: Mr Deputy Speaker, this is the first time in history I’ve been in this house for many years, perhaps even longer than anybody here. This is the first time in history that a deputy speaker will be challenging what the speaker is saying.
Wase: I don’t understand what you mean by challenging, sir. That I should not make my contribution?
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