Kingsley Chinda, a member of the house of representatives from Rivers state, on Thursday took his seat as minority leader of the house, against the wish of Femi Gbajabiamila, the speaker.
Chinda, who had been endorsed for the position by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), occupied the seat before the start of plenary.
This is despite Gbajabiamila having named Ndudi Elumelu also of the PDP, as the minority leader on Wednesday.
Chinda’s action led to a hot exchange between him and the speaker who warned him: “Do not try my resolve.”
Contrary to the PDP’s decision, Gbajabiamila announced Elumelu for the position, stating the lawmaker had been nominated by majority of the opposition lawmakers.
The decision had caused chaos in the green chamber, leading to the abrupt end of plenary.
When the lawmakers returned on Thursday, Chinda proceeded to take the seat of minority leader before Elumelu made it into the chamber in Gbajabiamila’s entourage.
After adopting the votes and proceedings of Wednesday which in effect officially recognised Elumelu as the house minority leader, Gbajabiamila received chants of commendation from some of the lawmakers.
But Chinda attempted to raise a point of order which was rebuffed by the speaker who told him “without asking you what your point of order is, you are overruled.”
At a second attempt, Gbajabiamila told Chinda “I will not recognise you, you are not in your allotted seat.”
A third attempt, however, did not go down well with the speaker who reprimanded Chinda, saying: “I want to make this point and make it clear, if you are not seated on your seat, I will not recognise you. Do not test the resolve of this, house, if you try, you will regret it … Chinda do not try my resolve.”
Mark Gbilah from Benue state stepped in, citing an order of the house rules and proceedings. “With all due respect, I consider the comment of the speaker a threat,” he said.
Gbajabiamila, however, interjected, saying “look at your dictionary, and see the difference between warning and threat.”
The plenary subsequently continued although with palpable tension among the lawmakers.