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Published On: Fri, Jul 5th, 2019

Rowdy session: Reps hold plenary under tight security

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*As Doguwa emerges House Leader
*Gogo Bright faces probe over attempt to snatch mace

By Christiana Ekpa

The House of Representatives plenary on Thursday was conducted under tight security as 7 staff of Sergeant at arms guarded the Mace and the seat of the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila in the bid to avoid break down of law and order in the Lower Chamber.
Hon. Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, member representing Doguwa/Tudun Wada Federal Constituency of Kano State (North-West) yesterday emerged Majority Leader of the House of Representatives.
Also at the plenary, Hon. Gogo Bright (PDP-Rivers) became the first casualty in the House to be referred to the Ad-hoc Committee on Ethics and Privileges for attempting to snatch the Mace during the Wednesday plenary session.
The resolution was passed sequel to the adoption of the Point of Order 6 raised by Hon. Benjamin Kalu, member representing Bende federal constituency of Abia State.
On his part, Benjamin Kalu (APC-Benue) who raised Order 6 on Privileges noted that the Legislative and Privileges Order of 2004, especially section 19(b), frowns at any member using a fowl language or threatening other members.
“I am not one of the ranking members but one of the first timers,” he said, noting that he was traumatized by what transpired in the House on Wednesday.
He also noted that a ranking member, respected so much in person of Hon. Gogo Bright went for the Mace, adding that the Mace was supposed to be on the upper bracket.
Hon. Kalu disclosed that several calls were made by Nigerians including Senator Akpabio and other well-meaning Nigerians who frowned at the unparliamentary practice which transpired on the floor of the Lower Chamber.
However, when Hon. Kingsley Chinda who occupied the seat allotted to the Minority Leader sought the recognition of the Speaker by raising a Point of Order, Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila ruled him out of order, saying: “Without even asking you what your point of order is, you’re overruled.”
When Hon. Chinda queried the Speaker’s decision, Gbajabiamila said: “I was not acknowledging you because you are not on your allotted seat.”
After the ruling, some PDP members and other minority parties who are loyal to Ndudi Elumelu’s faction, chanted ‘Gbaja, Gbaja’.
Further attempt by Hon. Jerry Alagbaso to raise a point of order was frustrated as majority of the lawmakers loyal to the Speaker shouted him down.
While reacting to the position of some of the aggrieved PDP lawmakers, Gbajabiamila said: “I’m going to make this point very clear, if you’re not on the allotted seat you will not be recognized.
“I want to say do not test the resolve of this House, if you do, you will have to regret it,” Speaker Gbajabiamila ruled.
While ruling, Gbajabiamila who noted that collective privileges of all the members were breached by the attempt to snatch the Mace, explained that the member mentioned shall be referred to the Ad-hoc Committee on Rules and Business for further legislative action.
According to him, the Ad-hoc Committee on Ethics and Privileges will be constituted before the end of Thursday plenary.
On his part, Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf (PDP-Kogi) sponsored a motion that the letter on the nomination of Minority Principal Officers which was read by the Speaker was not listed Also speaking, Hon. Mark Gbillah (PDP-Benue) who raised a Point of Order 6, noted that he considered my privileged breached which seems like a threat against a member of the House.
In his ruling, Gbajabiamila ruled him out of order noting that “there is difference between threat and warning.”
Ado-Doguwa who was the Chief Whip of the House in the 8th Assembly was adopted Monday for the position after a meeting between the National Working Committee of APC and House of Representatives Members from Kano State.
The Speaker of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila, who announced the emergence of Ado-Doguwa with correspondence from the All Progressives Congress, APC in the House named Mohammed Monguno from Borno (North-East) as the Chiejf Whip.
According to the correspondence, Nkeireuka Onyejeocha from Abia State (South -East) is the Deputy Chief Whip while Peter Akpatason from Edo State (South-South) is the Deputy Majority Leader.
Speaking on behalf of the Principal Officers, the Majority Leader, Doguwa assured that the House leadership will extend a hand of fellowship to all lawmakers and work as an entity to advance the cause of good governance and attract dividends of democracy to the people.
Doguwa who noted that crisis, injustice and lack of transparency is anti-democratic further urged the legislature to close ranks and engage the executive arm of government to ensure sustainability of democracy and still maintaining independence of the legislature.
“We would be engaged very robustly without necessarily undermining the independence of a legislature which of course is paramount. We will be very friendly of course and we will sustain that institutional understanding between legislature and the executive arm of government”, he said.

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