‘You’re challenging me’ | ‘What do you mean?’ — Gbaja, Wase trade words at plenary

‘You’re challenging me’ | ‘What do you mean?’ — Gbaja, Wase trade words at plenary
May 24
19:11 2023

Femi Gbajabiamila, speaker of the house of representatives, and Idris Wase, his deputy, on Wednesday, engaged in a verbal confrontation during the plenary session.

A dramatic situation unfolded when Gbajabiamila before the adjournment of plenary, asked Hassan Fulata, chairperson of the house committee on rules and business, to make the order paper for Thursday not contain too many items so that the plenary would not go beyond 2 pm.

Gbajabiamila had read a notice to his colleagues about the inauguration of the permanent site of the National Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) in Abuja.

“Chairman business and rules let’s make the order paper light for tomorrow (Thursday) because we have this — it is very important — the permanent site of the NILDS. It is at 2:30. So it will be good if we close by 2 pm,” Gbajabiamila said.


Wase subsequently raised a point of order and objected to Gbajabiamila’s request that the plenary would be adjourned by 2 pm because of the inauguration of the NILDS building.

He argued that lawmakers who wanted to attend the commissioning should be allowed to do so, but that it was unnecessary to adjourn the house for that reason.

“We have lost quite a number of periods of time. Why do we have to shelve a lot of activities that we have just to go and witness the commissioning of a project of NILDS? I want to beg sir that we should do our functions,” he said.


“Those who have the interest to go (for the inspiration), they have the right to do (so). But our main primary function in this parliament is to make law and our citizens should be our priority.”

Gbajabiamila responded, saying that the deputy speaker might not fully grasp the significance of NILDS.

He said: “Perhaps deputy speaker you don’t appreciate the importance of NILDS like some of us do. I think NILDS is very important.”

The speaker was immediately interrupted by Wase who informed him that he has “every information and idea of what NILDS is”.


Again, Gbajabimaila explained why he wanted the plenary to be adjourned by 2 pm.

“NILDS was set up by this same institution (national assembly) by statute. We are not adjourning the house to go to NILDS. What I said was — let’s try and make it light and leave here by 2 pm. If you want we can resume by 10 am. We will do our work but we will adjourn this house at 2 pm. I will witness NILDS (inauguration) because it is important to me.”

Wase, disagreed with the speaker, saying: “The parliament is about us, not about I”, obviously referring to Gbajabiamila’s earlier statement.

A fortnight ago, Wase had kicked against a motion to adjourn the house because of the induction of members-elect.



Visibly offended by Wase’s confrontation, Gbajabiamila said it was the first time in the history of the house of representatives that a deputy speaker would be “challenging” the speaker.


“Mr deputy speaker, this is the first time in history. I have been in this house for many years, perhaps even longer than anybody here. This is the first time in history that a deputy speaker will be challenging what the speaker is saying,” Gbajabiamila said.

He was again interjected by Wase who retorted: “I don’t understand what you mean by challenging, sir. That I should not make my contribution?


Gbajabiamila, once again stressed to Fulata that the order paper should not be overcrowded because the plenary would be adjourned by 2 pm on Thursday.



The All Progressives Congress (APC) had nominated Tajudeen Abbas and Benjamin Kalu as the preferred candidates for the positions of speaker and deputy.

However, some lawmakers had accused Gbajabiamila of “single-handedly” imposing Abbas on them.

The nominations have been met with pushback from six aspirants who have allied to ensure the speaker is elected from among them.

The APC speakership hopefuls include Wase, Yusuf Gagdi, Muktar Betara, Sada Soli, Mariam Onuoha and Sani Jaji.


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