After the drama that ensued in the House over the failed attempt by the minority leader, Ndudi Elumelu, to present the matter of an alleged link of minister of communications and digital economy, Isa Ali Pantami to terrorism before the House, it was expected that the Green Chamber would get its acts together and show more seriousness in considering salient national issues.
It is rather disturbing and disgusting to see the House repeat the same mistake in the same manner on similar matters. This goes to suggest that members of the House are not capable of being orderly enough to conduct their affairs.
Dear reader, before you accuse me of being unnecessarily harsh on our honourable members, let me narrate the two events which took place within the spate of one month, then you will understand my frustration and disgust.
The House lost the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding Pantami’s records of once backing activities of Jihadist leaders and deadly Islamic sects when Minority Leader Elumelu, on Wednesday, 21st April raised a motion relying on Order 6 of the House Standing Order, which borders on privilege. He urged the House to demand the resignation or sacking of the minister.
But the motion was not entertained as Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila dwelled on the technicalities of the order raised by Elumelu.
He said, “I think you came under the wrong order because you have not stated how your privilege has been breached. But your point of order is well noted. As you know, under privilege, we don’t debate such issues if it comes under privilege. Thank you.”
Surprisingly the member Abua Odual/ Ahoada East federal constituency of Rivers State, Hon Solomon Bob last Thursday relied on the same Order 6 and urged the House to debate comments credited to the attorney-general of the federation and minister of justice, Abubarkar Malami on the ban of open grazing by the Southern Governors Forum.
As expected, the deputy speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase who presided over the plenary said, “The order which you are bringing this matter is wrong. It’s either you bring it as a full motion to be debated, but coming under matters of privilege is wrong so take your seat.”
Again, the House lost another opportunity to take a position on a very important national discourse. This does not show seriousness, Nigerians certainly did not intend to vote for clowns who will deliberately commit error under their own rules to shy away from taking a stand on sensitive matters.
If we reluctantly agree that Elumelu innocently committed an error, how are we supposed to admit Solomon Bob’s attempt as another error?
The controversy as to whether or not Elumelu’s motion was rightly presented or not ought to have been trashed out by the lawmakers in one of their executive sessions so as to save the parliament from embarrassment.