The factional Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Mr Kingsley Chinda , has said the Speaker, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila , cannot stop him for expressing himself on the floor of the chamber.
Chinda , who stated that he was elected to speak for his constituents, noted that the Speaker was only a first among equals .
Gbajabiamila had in the plenary of Thursday , blocked every attempt by factional Minority Leader to raise a point of order . At different occasions , the Speaker said the lawmaker , who was in the seat reserved for the Minority Leader , would not be allowed to speak from a wrong seat . The Speaker had also warned the Chinda against testing the resolve of the House by insisting on speaking during the session .
Chinda and Ndudi Elumelu had emerged as factional Minority Leaders earlier on Wednesday , with the House and the Speaker recognising the latter .
When asked about how he felt by being shot down by the Speaker, in a chat with our correspondent on Saturday , Chinda said, “ Part of my assignment as a legislator is to speak for the people of Obio / Akpor in particular and Nigerians in general . So, ordinarily I will not feel good that I am not given the opportunity to express myself no matter the issues .
“ By the way, the issue I wanted to raise was that there were errors in the votes and proceedings , which is like the minutes of the previous sitting . I saw some mistakes in it and I wanted to correct it before the speaker approved it . In his words , even before I was heard , I was overruled and he adopted the votes and proceedings with the errors .
“ I will still make attempts to correct them because I am under a duty to so do ; maybe if given the opportunity or by a motion or notice. ”
When reminded of the Speaker’s warning against testing the resolve of the House by his insistence, the lawmaker said, “ I have a right to raise issues and he is just first among equals . We are all colleagues . I also understand the fact that he is human , perhaps his temperament went a little bit higher than the normal bounds that it should be . I don’ t think that he will be in the same mood the next time we sit .”
Responding to a question of Gbajabiamila blocking him again, he said, “ Then , I’ ll take steps to ensure that I ’m heard on the floor of the House because I have a right to be heard .
I don’ t think he will . ”
When reminded that the Speaker said he would not be allowed speak from a wrong seat , being that reserved for the Minority Leader , Chinda accused Gbajabiamila of being biased by allowing a majority All Progressives Congress member from speaking from a minority seat .
He said, “ I believe that his own feeling is that the appointment by my party was not done properly and that was why he took that position . But even at that , you also saw that with me on that front roll were some APC members who, of course , were not allotted that space. I insisted on laying emphasis on that seat because that was a minority roll ; the seats for minority leaders . So, there is nothing an APC member will be looking for there . But he still recognised one of them to second a motion that was moved the same day . So, what is the issue of ‘you are not seated in your proper seat .’”
Asked if he still believed that he was the authentic Minority Leader , the lawmaker said, “ The party had intervened ; the party has asked that we should all stay action , that the party would take care of the issues . So, I am obedient to my party; having been told that , I will stay all actions until the party resolves . If the party says, ‘Hon . Chinda , ‘ A ’ is our Minority Leader ,’ I will not raise a finger . It ends there because I was elected first as a parliamentarian , not as a minority leader. It is nothing to me . But I will always defend the position of my party. ”
The lawmaker denied that he had any link with the one -month suspension of Elumelu and others by the PDP , accusing them of disrespecting the party.
He said, “ No , it is not about those who rebelled against me . The party invited all of us to a meeting and all of them that were placed on temporary suspension – I think it is just for one month – did not answer to that call . In fact , some of them got their aides to write to the National Executive Committee of the party, which is insulting. I think it was based on that , that the party placed those persons who did not or who ignored or treated with contempt and levity, their invitation, on suspension pending the conclusion of the matter .
“ It was not that they suspended them for me or for anything. If they had responded , I am sure that the issue of suspension would not have arisen .”