Members present at plenary chorused “Carried,” as Wase declared, “Mr. Speaker, the House is not about I, but us” in an unprecedented clash between a speaker of Nigerian House of Reps and his deputy
The simmering crisis over the leadership of the 10th House of Representatives boiled over on Wednesday when the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, openly clashed with his Deputy, Idris Wase, during plenary.
The development is unprecedented.
The clash was precipitated by the announcement by Gbajabiamila 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).
Before adjourning the plenary, the Speaker announced that the NILDS permanent site along Airport Road will be commissioned by 3.00pm on Thursday by President Muhammadu Buhari.
He asked the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business to ensure that the order paper was not crowded with the day’s business so that the House can adjourn early for the event.
But his Deputy who has been bearing grudges against the Speaker over the House leadership choices which Gbajabiamila supported said the primary business of the House was lawmaking and other official businesses, adding that the commissioning of NILDS headquarters was not important enough to adjourn the House.
Wase said members willing to attend the commissioning could do so while the business of the House should not be disrupted.
But an obviously irked Speaker said: “DS, may be 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 fired back saying, “Mr. Speaker, the House is not about I, but us.”
An apparently flabbergasted Gbajabiamila, who first ignored Wase, made another announcement before returning to address him saying, “DS, 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.”
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.”
Members present at plenary chorused “Carried.”
The endorsement of Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker of the 10th House has created a sharp division between the Speaker and his Deputy.
Wase is said to have avoided attending the usual leadership meeting held before plenary every day, while also shunning the Speaker’s procession to the Chamber.
He has openly accused the Speaker of backing Tajudeen for the Speakership position.