In a dramatic turn of events during Wednesday’s plenary, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, and his Deputy, Hon. Idris Wase, engaged in an open clash over the decision to make the Order Paper lighter to accommodate the attendance of members at the official commissioning of the permanent site of the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS).
Speaker’s Announcement: Prior to adjourning the plenary, Speaker Gbajabiamila revealed that President Muhammadu Buhari would commission the NILDS permanent site along Airport Road at 3.00pm on that day. He urged the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Hon. Hassan Fulata, to ensure that the day’s business did not overcrowd the order paper, allowing for an early adjournment to facilitate attendance at the event.
Deputy Speaker’s Objection: Deputy Speaker Wase expressed his disagreement, emphasizing that the primary responsibility of the House was legislative and official business. He suggested that members interested in attending the commissioning could do so without disrupting the House proceedings.
Clash and Adjournment Decision: The Speaker defended the importance of NILDS and his intention to attend the commissioning. He highlighted that the order paper should be made lighter, but clarified that the House was not adjourning solely for members to attend the event. He expressed his surprise at the Deputy Speaker’s open opposition, stating that it was unprecedented. Ultimately, the Speaker instructed the Committee on Rules and Business to prepare a lighter order paper for the next day, announcing that the House would adjourn at 2.00pm. Members present at the plenary reacted passionately to this decision.
The clash between the Speaker and his Deputy highlighted differing views on the significance of the NILDS commissioning and the prioritization of legislative duties. The episode shed light on the complexities of balancing official commitments with ceremonial events within the House of Representatives.