Leadership Tissule: PDP, ADC, AA, AGPA, Divide As Gbajabiamila Names Elumelu, Okechukwu, Others Principal Officers For Minority Parties, Chinda Kicks
Lawmakers attempt to snatch Mace
We are duly nominated Elumelu, your
nomination can’t stand Chinda,
as Kazuare opts to contest for Majority Leader
Speaker did not break any rules -Media Committee
ABUJA – It was a free for all at Wednesday plenary of the House of Representatives as members engaged themselves in verbal fisticuffs.
The latest development was consequent upon the announcement of principal officers for the minority party of the House by the Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
House of Representatives
Hardly had Gbajabiamila announced Hon. Ndudi Elumelu from Delta State as the Minority Leader, Toby Okechukwu from Enugu State, Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Gideon Gwani, Minority Whip and Hon. Adesegun Adekoya as the Deputy Minority Whip than an imbroglio ensued amongst mainly the members of the opposition parties.
It will recalled that the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and opposition caucus in the House had nominated Hon. Kingsley Chinda as the Minority Leader from Rivers State, Hon. Chukwuka Onyema from Anambra State as the Deputy Minority Leader, Hon. Yakubu Barde from Kaduna State as the Minority Whip and Hon. Muriano Ajibola from Oyo State as Deputy Minority Whip.
Defending his action, the Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila said that his position was informed by a letter he received signed by PDP and other minority parties.
According to him, the letter was signed by 90 members of the opposition parties.
This further generated tension and amidst the rowdiness, some unidentified lawmakers rushed to snatch the mace, the symbol of authority of the legislature, but were prevented by the Sergeant-at-Arms.
This however prompted an abrupt end of the plenary session.
Elumelu, others nomination will not stand -Chinda Faction
Briefing National Assembly Correspondents afterwards, the aggrieved Chinda faction of the opposition party said that the nomination of Elumelu and company as the principal officers for the Minority party would not stand.
Speaking on behalf of the group, Chinda who was flanked by some of his colleagues including the adopted officers said that some colleagues of his must have ambushed them.
Showing a correspondence, the lawmaker said that a series of inter party was held among the opposition parties where all the issues of nomination were rectified.
He said: “The issue is that of the minority leadership. It is the standard practice in parliament that minority leadership comes from amongst minority parties and the correspondence is always sent by the major minority party, in our case that was followed.
“The PDP in discussion with other minority parties agreed on our leadership in parliament and forwarded a letter to Mr Speaker dated 21st June 2019 and a copy of the letter was received on the 26th of June 2019 in the office of the speaker. Another letter was also sent to the Senate President on 21st June 2019 and a copy of the letter was received on the 26th of June 2019.
“Yesterday, the Senate in compliance with parliamentary practice read out the letter from the APC and the letter from the PDP. The Senate President advised senators who were aggrieved to go back to their parties, conclude the issues and as soon as he received any other correspondence from any of the party that he will also read it on the floor.
A different issue at House of Representatives
“However and very unfortunately in the House of Representatives the reverse is the case. We came today only to hear our dear speaker attempting to read what he termed as correspondence from a conglomerate of political parties; that some members of the house have adopted some other persons as the minority leaders outside what was forwarded to him by the party and that he would want to adopt that.
“The basis is that from our rules particularly order 7 rules 8 that members of the minority party shall amongst themselves nominate the minority leader, deputy minority leader, minority whip and deputy minority whip.
APC’s plan to decimate PDP
“We all met as members of minority parties twice, did our nomination and we all agreed that the party should go back amongst the nominees and choose from amongst them and report back to us; the party did exactly that and reconvened and received the report of the party and we left satisfied. Only for us to attend plenary today to see this ambush, it is unfortunate and we are not going to take it, we must do things properly.
“We are members of minority party, our leadership would not be determined by the majority party. We are aware of the scheming of the APC that the target is that they are going to decimate the minority parties in the parliament and that they would decide who becomes minority leader in parliament, we will not allow that to happen.
“We don’t see ourselves as opposition parties, we are minority parties ready to provide an alternative government and we can only do that when this place is managed smoothly and responsibly and so we are ready to cooperate with the senate president and the speaker of the House of Representatives to ensure that we have a smooth 9th assembly but we are also ready to critically and also responsibly look at government policies and programmes and tell Nigerians what the truth is at all time.
On my ambush remarks
“When I said ambush, ambush by some persons that we are yet to know because Mr Speaker said he has signatures that are verified and we did not see the correspondence and that is very unparliamentarily.
Next course of action for us
“We stand on the letter from the party. As far as we are concerned our leaders have been selected and appointed by the party, it is only for the speaker to read the correspondence which he has, we don’t have any issue with our leadership. And of course from the party, the leadership that have been appointed; Senate minority leader Sen. Eyinaya Abaribe, deputy senate minority leader Sen. Emmannuel Bacha, senate minority whip Sen, Philip Aduda and deputy senate minority whip Sen. Shaibu Yao.
“In the House of Representatives; minority leader Hon. Kingsley Chinda, deputy minority leader Hon. Chukwuka Onyema, minority whip Hon. Yakubu Bade and deputy minority whip Hon. Moraino Ajibola and these are the minority leaders that we have in the 9th assembly.
We have our leader in place already
“We already have our leadership in place, the obligation that the party owes the national assembly is to communicate that and that has been done and acknowledgment is here with us.
“The other duty of Mr Speaker is to read the letter that he received from the party which the Senate President has done. He is not to appoint, he is just to read the communication which he has failed to do but rather attempted to appoint minority leaders which we are saying it is not the practice.
“We hope and pray and very sincerely the speaker is experienced, we know that he will be humble enough to realise and accept that mistakes have been made and that these mistakes will be corrected.
“The letter would have emanated from some members of parliament and like I have said these members are supported and they have the backing of the majority party.”
We were duly nominated as principal officers by 90 members of the Minority Parties-Elumelu faction
In this manner, Ndudi Elumelu’s faction told Journalists that their nomination was duly endorsed by 90 members of the Minority party.
Accompanied by lawmakers from PDP, Action Alliance, AA, African Democratic Council, ADC and All Progressive Grand Alliance, APGA, Elumelu who first spoke added that that there nomination by the Speaker followed due process.
He said: “Let me clearly state that we are all from nine political parties and for some of us who are from the PDP, we are very loyal to PDP. We believe in PDP strongly. We believe in the ideologies of PDP and of course, we have no other party than PDP.
“We have followed what has happened and accepted our nomination based on order 7 rule 8 which clearly states that, ‘members from Minority parties shall have cause to nominate those who should be either Minority Leader, Deputy Minority Leader, Minority Whip or Deputy Minority Whip’.
“That is why we are here to clearly state that we have complied with that provision of the order of the rules of the House and the second one is on the issue of ranking. Everyone of us here is a ranking Member so have not in anyway violated the provisions of the rules of the House. I will ask some of the members of other political parties to also reaffirm what I have just stated here.”
Other opposition party members speak
Lending their voices, other lawmakers from some of the other opposition parties said they were on the side of Elumelu faction.
Hon. Leke Joseph (ADC, Lagos)
“Minority Leader is not for one party, they (Chinda) are making mistake of being APC and PDP in the House. We have other political parties like my own party, ADC, we have APGA, we have PRP, we have AA, we have SDP and all of us are here. From here you should be able to judge using your right senses. l personally signed for Honourable Ndudi Elumelu as my Minority Leader and I believe equally, I have my colleagues here in ADC, they did the same thing so you cannot choose a leader from your party and come and impose on us. We have to agree as Members in the House. It is the motion of the Members in the House and we have done that.
Hon. Kingsley Chinma (AA, Imo)
“We the Members of Action Alliance in the 9th Assembly have resolved unanimously and unequivocally nominated and adopted
Ndudi Elumelu as our Minority Leader for the 9th Assembly…. Let us reemphasized here that the business of electing or nominating Minority leadership in the House is solely the business of the Members and today Members of the 9th Assembly from the minority extraction have unambiguously agreed and nominated the so mentioned members that will pilot our affairs. What we did today was in accordance with the rules of the House which say that minority parties shall nominate whosoever they wish that will represent them as their Leaders. Nothing was done against the constitution of Nigeria, nothing was done against rules of the House.”
Hon. Ifeanyi Anthony Igbezi (APGA, Anambara)
“On behalf of the entire members of APGA in the 9th Assembly signed, approved and elected all the Minority Leaders of the 9th Assembly under the leadership of Right Honourable Ndudi Elumelu as the Minority Leader of the 9th Assembly and the rest of others. We want to state here that APGA as the second largest Minority party in the House endorsed and elect all the Minority Leaders. We need to inform you that this is the decision of our party and we have taken it in compliance with the rules of the House.”
Gbajabiamila acted rightly-Media Committee
Also defending the action of the Speaker, the Adhoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs of the House led by Hon. Stated that Gbajabiamila broke no rules.
Acknowledging however that the speaker received a letter from Chinda’s faction, the committee stated that Gbajabiamila was guided by the preponderance of the signature of the opposition party members.
They admitted that the position of the House as it stands now is that the principal officers for the Minority party had been nominated.
APC erred in choosing Majority Leader for us-Hon. Kauzere protests
Meanwhile, a lawmaker from the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC representing Zoni/Gwiwa federal Constituency of Jigawa State, Hon. Mohammed Kauzere has risen in protest against the nomination of the principal officers of the House by his party.
Briefing Correspondents, he said that the selection of principal officers was the business of the lawmakers amongst themselves and not the political party.
To this end, he declared his intention to run for the office, vowing not to step down for anybody.
“What the party did to us for choosing for us a leader as we heard in the press is wrong. It is the responsibility of us members to choose our leaders as we voted for speaker and deputy speaker. In terms of integrity we know our colleagues we know who are better to hold that position.
“We want to use this opportunity to advise the party and the leaders of APC that they should not impose on us leaders in the House of Representatives, we want the party to allow the members to choose their leaders and any member can show his interest.
“I want to declare my intention that I am contesting the seat of the leader of the House of Representatives because there is no member in the 8th assembly that will tell me that he is more loyal than I to the president or to this government; so I deserve to be the leader of the house.
“It is injustice for any party to impose leaders of the house on the members of the house because we need the 9thassembly to work in unity, peace and progress so that Nigeria will enjoy the 9th assembly.
“I can see some injustices in the minority as well as in the majority and this will not bring unity in the house and at last the government will not get what they want in the house because all the members of the house have rights and we are supposed to be respected by our parties”, Kauzere said.