|Blows, slaps as Dogara, Gbajabiamila’s supporters fight over House c’ttees|
ABUJA — The agitation by the nation’s federal lawmakers for supremacy and juicy committee positions boiled over, yesterday, when two members of the House of Representatives exchanged blows minutes before the day’s plenary session.
The exchange of blows caused the legislators to defer sitting and resort to caucuses during which a resolution was taken by the mainstream of the House to bring sanctions on House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila and his 23 loyalists who boycotted Monday’s inauguration of the House Committees.
That decision was, however, tempered following pleas at a closed door session between Gbajabiamila and some principal officers of the House in the speaker’s office.
Also yesterday in the Senate, muttering over the sharing of committee positions again reopened the fault lines as supporters of the Senate Presidency bid of Senator Ahmad Lawan accused Senate President Bukola Saraki of surrendering the chambers to the opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
The melee in the House was upon the bad blood that followed the boycott of the inauguration of the 96 standing committees by House Leader, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila, and his close loyalists.
Exchange of blows
It was gathered that trouble started when the newly inaugurated Chairman of the Federal Capital Territory, FCT, Rep Herman Hembe, representing APC, Konshisha/Vandekiya, Benue State, a close loyalist of the speaker, engaged Rep. Magaji Aliyu, APC, Birnin-Kudu/Buji, Jigawa State, a supporter of Gbajabiamila, over the sharing of the committees.
A slap was said to have followed when one of the two men could no longer control his emotion and the situation was said to have been quickly brought under control by the intervention of the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun.
Tempers also overflowed on account of alleged moves by allies of Speaker Yakubu Dogara and those of Gbajabiamila to effect sanctions upon the other.
At the closed door session of the APC caucus, it was gathered that members resolved to remove Gbajabiamila as House Leader and refer his 23 loyalists who boycotted the Monday inauguration of the committees to the Privileges Committee of the House.
That move was, however, rescinded after a peace meeting between Gbajabiamila and the speaker attended by some principal officers of the House.
Sources privy to the development said Gbajabiamila had entered the speaker’s office and requested for a one-on-one meeting with the speaker but the other principal officers present were said to have refused and insisted on partaking in the meeting.
Among the principal officers present at the meeting were Deputy Speaker, Yusuf Lashun; Minority Leader, Leo Ogor and Chief Whip, Ado Doguwa.
At the end of the interaction, the speaker was said to have promised to prevail on his supporters not to apply the sanctions as canvassed by the mainstream of the House against Gbajabiamila and his loyalists.
Gbajabiamila in an SMS response to Vanguard on the development said last night:“The Speaker and I, both know we will both look bad and no one will be the winner if there is ever another fight on the floor. The numbers are simply not there to remove any principal officer.”
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