BY TORDUE SALEM
The worst was almost let loose Wednesday, as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole and his long-time adversary, Rep. Independence Chiedoziem Ogunewe almost exchanged blows at the entrance of the Green Chamber. The time was 3:21pm.
The duoâ€™s mutual grudge peaked Wednesday, shortly after the Speaker rose from a three-hour meeting in Hearing Room 1(House Wing) with Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen of the 83 committees of the House.
Both dressed in immaculate white caftans, the Speaker and the latter who represents Ahiazu/Ezinnihite Federal Constituency of Imo State, had met at past 3:00 0â€™clock at the entrance and a dialogue ensued in a low tone, before it jolted to a hot exchange of disagreements.
Bankole in a conciliatory tone said: â€œI was in your House yesterday, I met your wifeâ€.
But Ogunewe, retorted â€œYou are not welcome if you come to my House to see my wifeâ€, but just before they could part ways to hit the chambers, Ogunewe added that â€œlook at this madmanâ€, and the angry Speaker made a furious U-turn to take his pound of flesh, before Reps. Muhammed Ali Ndume and Mrs. Khadijat Abba Ibrahim intervened for calm.
An earlier meeting involving the Speaker, Vanguard gathered, was to plead with the members to eschew their grievances against Bankoleâ€™s stewardship. The meeting it was gathered also singled out avowed opponents of the Speakerâ€™s leadership style for appeasement.
The Chairman, House Committee on Labour and Productivity, Rep. Ado Dogo(PDP/Kaduna), in an exclusive chat with Vanguard said the meeting was held to plead with members to cease fire on incendiary statements about the House, especially on issues involving the finances of the Green Chamber.
â€œThe meeting was just to appeal for stability in the House. The Speaker was just appealing to us (members) to allow stability in the Houseâ€, Chairman of the House Committee on Labour and Productivity, Rep. Ado Dogo Audu.
Dogo added that â€œSome of the things we discussed there bother on this allegations of money for members. The Speaker is worried that each time we discuss about the finances of the House members will go to the public with itâ€, he said
Some of the grouses the lawmakers have against Bankole, Vanguard gathered are his â€˜personal arroganceâ€™, â€˜miserly dispositionâ€™, and the suspicion that his office may have â€˜leaked out a report portraying other House members as greedy for an increment in their allowances, salaries and other perquisitesâ€
The Speaker was said to have personally visited his colleagues in their houses last night, to plead foir understanding and pardon.
The House after throwing out a Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila-motion sponsored against the Central Bank of Nigeriaâ€™s decision to â€œarbitrarily over N500billion to private airlines and Industriesâ€, took a few reports, deferred consideration on a harmonized report of amendments to the 1999 Constitution, and went into a closed session that lasted for more than two hours.
As at the time of filing this report, the House was still in an executive session.