Speakership Tussle: Gbajabiamila and Wase Exchange Words At Plenary

The Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and his deputy, Ahmed Idris Wase, had a verbal spat on the floor of the House on Wednesday over the commissioning of the permanent site of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).

The two leaders disagreed on whether to adjourn the House early on Thursday to allow members attend the commissioning ceremony.

Gbajabiamila had announced that President Muhammadu Buhari would commission the NILDS headquarters along Airport Road by 3.00pm on Thursday.

He asked the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Hassan Fulata, to make the Order Paper lighter for Thursday so that the House could adjourn by 2.00pm.

However, Wase objected to the Speaker’s request, saying that the primary business of the House was lawmaking and other official tasks.

He said that the commissioning of NILDS headquarters was not enough reason to adjourn the House early. He suggested that members willing to attend the commissioning could do so while the House continued with its activities.

The Speaker responded by saying that Wase did not understand the importance of NILDS to the parliament. He said that he was not adjourning the House for members to attend the commissioning, but because he would attend it himself. He added that he had been in the House long enough to know that it was the first time that a deputy speaker would openly oppose what the speaker said.

Wase fired back by saying that the House was not about “I” but “us”. He insisted that the House should not disrupt its business for the commissioning.

The Speaker ignored his deputy for a while and made some other announcements before turning back to him. He told Fulata to make the Order Paper light for Thursday and said that the House would adjourn at 2.00pm. The members present at plenary shouted “carried”.

The verbal spat between Gbajabiamila and Wase was seen by some observers as a sign of their feud over the speakership race for the 10th House.

Wase, who is one of the aspirants for the position, has accused Gbajabiamila of endorsing APC’s preferred candidate, Tajudeen Abbas, and undermining other aspirants.

He has also shunned some leadership meetings and has not been seen in the Speaker’s procession to the chamber.

Gbajabiamila and Wase were seen as a good combination in the last three years until the issue of speakership contest.

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