The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, and the Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Wase, clashed in the chamber during the plenary on Wednesday, May 24.
The clash occurred after the speaker announced that the Order Paper for Thursday be made lighter to allow members attend the official Commissioning of the permanent site of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies(NILDS).
Gbajabiamila had also asked the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business to ensure that the order paper is not clouded with the day’s business so that the House can adjourn early enough for the event.
However, the Deputy Speaker Idris Wase, who was angry with the announcement, said the primary business of the House was lawmaking.
He stated that the commissioning of NILDS headquarters was not enough to adjourn the House.
He added that members willing to attend the commission could do so while the business of the House is not disrupted
“Mr Speaker, I’m getting to see this is 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.”
Gbajabiamila who responded to this said “Perhaps, DS, you don’t appreciate the importance of NILDS like some of us do. I think NILDS is very important.” However, the Deputy Speaker interjected, saying “I have every information and idea of what NILDS is!”
The Speaker further stated,
“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 two.’
” If you want, we can resume by 10(am). We will do our work but we will adjourn this House at 2pm. I will witness the NILDS (event) because it is important to me.”
Rising again, Wase replied the Speaker, “The parliament is about us, not about ‘I.”
Shocked by the Deputy Speaker’s outburst, Gbajabiamila said, “Mr Deputy Speaker, this is the first time in history…I have 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 fired back, “I don’t understand what you mean by challenging, sir. That I should not make my contribution?”
Turning to the Chairman of the Committee on Rules and Business, Gbajabiamila said: “make the order paper light for tomorrow. This House will adjourn at 2.00pm” while members present at plenary chorused “carried”.
Recall that the endorsement of Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker of the 10th House has created a sharp division between the Speaker and his Deputy.
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