Gbajabiamila Defies PDP, Drops Chinda As Minority Leader
The Speaker ,of the House of Representatives Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila yesterday 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.
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.
Briefing National Assembly Correspondents afterwards, 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.
“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. 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,” he said.