ABUJA, Nigeria — A political storm is brewing in the House of Representatives following the abrupt adjournment of a scheduled plenary session on Wednesday, May 17, 2023, by the Speaker, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The unexpected action comes amidst rumours of an impeachment plot, sparking tensions among the lawmakers.
Rep. Gbajabiamila, who returned to preside over the House following a lengthy recess, cited an ongoing induction program for new members as the basis for the adjournment.
However, in conversations with the News Agency of Nigeria, NAN, anonymous sources from within the House alleged that the speaker’s fear of possible impeachment was the real catalyst behind the surprise adjournment.
Unrest within the House intensified when it emerged that plans were allegedly in motion to impeach Gbajabiamila over the imposition of Rep. Tajudeen Abbas as the consensus candidate for the 10th House of Representatives Speaker.
“I respect the view of distinguished colleagues, Rep. Ibrahim Isaka, who moved for the adjournment, but I think, Mr. Speaker, this institution has a lot of memories,” said Deputy Speaker, Rep. Ahmed Wase, who openly opposed Gbajabiamila’s decision.
“There has never been a time because of induction the House suspended plenary.”
Wase also pointed out that the induction could occur simultaneously with the plenary, mirroring the Senate’s practice.
His remarks echo the mounting frustration among several lawmakers who perceive the adjournment as a calculated move to forestall a potential impeachment.
A group known as G-7, comprising members unhappy with the choice of Rep. Benjamin Kalu (APC-Abia) as the consensus candidate for Deputy Speaker, has emerged.
Rep. Abubakar Nalaraba (APC-Nasarawa), a G-7 member, confirmed knowledge of alterations in the house rules, seen as a ploy to favor Gbajabiamila’s preferred candidate.
“Some members promised to bring it as Order of Privilege in the house so that members would discuss why would the insertion be in the House rule in the 10th Assembly,” Nalaraba said. “I think that might be the reason why he adjourned the house.”
While the House of Representatives remains on hiatus, Gbajabiamila is now under scrutiny for allegedly manipulating the rules of the House to favor his chosen candidate, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas.
His spokesperson, Mr. Lanre Lasisi, has not yet responded to requests for comment.
As the days tick away, the Senate continues its sessions, unphased by the induction activities.
However, the House remains silent, heightening anticipation for when the gavel will next strike and what revelations might come in its wake.