The acrimony between the Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila and his deputy, Ahmed Wase, over the former’s endorsement of the All Progressives Congress consensus candidates, Tajudeeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu, has deepened as the two exchanged words on floor of the House on Wednesday.
Wase had challenged Gbajabiamila after an announcement requesting that the content of Thursday’s Order Paper be reduced to allow members attend the official Commissioning of the permanent site of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies.
He asked the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Abubakar Hassan Fulata, that the order paper should not be much loaded with the day’s business to enable the House adjourn early.
However, the deputy Speaker reminded the Speaker that the primary constitutional responsibility of the House was to make laws and other official tasks saying that the commissioning of NILDS headquarters should not be a reason to adjourn the plenary.
He noted that members willing to attend the commissioning could go without stopping the activities of the House.
But the Speaker clarified saying that the commissioning was not the priority that warranted his request, but it is to reduce the content of the Order Paper to give room for other activities for members.
“DS (Deputy Speaker), 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,” he said.
But the deputy Speaker fired back, saying the House is not about the Speaker alone but for all the members hence his suggestion to allow those willing to attend to leave while the House goes on with the business of the day.
“Mr. Speaker, the House is not about I, but us,” he said.
However, after speaking to Wase about the importance of NILDS to the parliament, the Speaker turned to the Chairman, House Committee on Rules and Business and said: “Make the order paper light for tomorrow. This House will adjourn at 2.00pm.”
There have been an uneasy calm between the Speaker and his deputy since the endorsement of Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu as Speaker and deputy Speaker of the 10th House.
Wase who is a frontline aspirant has been at loggerheads with Gbajabiamila over the endorsement.
The deputy Speaker was said to have shun leadership meetings being held before plenary and has not been seen in the Speaker’s procession to the Chamber.
Before this time, Wase and Gbajabiamila were seen as the best combination and his deputy in the last three years until the issue of Speakership contest.