10th NASS: Gbajabiamila May Be Forced To ‘Step Aside’ As Reps Resume Plenary
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, may be forced to step aside over plans to investigate his role in alleged alteration of House Standing Rules regarding voting for principal officers.
The House has postponed resumption of plenary twice as negotiation on Gbajabiamila’s fate continues.
The lower house had shifted resumption of plenary from March 14 to March 21 and adjourned again to May 15, few days after it was meant to reconvene for final sitting before adjourning for the inauguration of the 10th Assembly in June.
Gbajabiamila is being blamed by aggrieved members of the house for the announcement of Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu as speaker and deputy speaker choices of the APC.
Several aggrieved members who have announced their bids for the position of the speaker have accused the Speaker as responsible for taking the names of Abbas and Kalu to the president-elect, Bola Tinubu, who then forwarded their names to the APC for announcement.
The speaker has been speculated to be Tinubu’s choice for Chief of Staff even though he won his re-election into the house in the February 25 election.
The APC had said the choice of who emerges the Senate President, deputy, speaker and deputy would be announced after Tinubu’s input.
The ruling party then announced four names for the key positions, throwing the party into crisis with other aspirants kicking against the choices.
The aspirants have been joined by various groups and ethnic nationalities in the North in their opposition while also forming the G-7 to advance their interest.
But as the house resumes plenary on Tuesday 16th May, aggrieved members are poised to resurrect alleged impeachment plot against Gbajabiamila.
Members had flown the impeachment kite a few weeks ago when the APC announced its choices for principal positions but could not see to it when induction for new members forced the house to go on recess for the second time in less than four months.
Gbajabiamila is being accused of doctoring House Standing Rules which provide for conducts of activities in the green chamber.
The section Gbajabiamila allegedly caused alteration is section 2(f)(iii). While the section provides for Open Secret, the new alteration made on the section reads, “every member voting shall name clearly and in the open the candidate of his choice.”
The current deputy speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, reportedly denied knowledge of the alteration even though he chaired the committee.
A source in the Speaker’s camp said, “Yes, there are fears that the aggrieved lawmakers may call for investigation. And you know when that happens, the speaker would be asked to step aside.
“If he steps aside, because they are angry, they might go for impeachment.”
He added that, “We are not leaving anything to chance. Negotiating is happening and if it fails, well, we see what happens tomorrow or next.”
A member-elect in the PDP told THE WHISTLER that, “That’s their headache. It’s APC’s headache not ours,” when asked about the alleged alteration.
“Whether open ballot or open secret, the majority who would vote on the floor would carry the day.
“Every elected member carries with him the independence and sovereignty as a lawmaker to the house. No one would be forced or pushed to vote who he does not want as speaker,” he added.
“You are aware of our meeting today, let’s see how it goes,” he said.