…as Plateau Reps’ caucus, Datti pass vote of confidence in Deputy Speaker
By Levinus Nwabughiogu-Abuja
Nigerians in Diaspora have again descended on the deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ahmed Idris Wase, challenging him to show evidence that the video clip where he rejected the petition from the association of Tiv people in the United States was doctored.
This was as members of the House from Plateau State also passed a vote of confidence in the deputy speaker.
Similarly, another member of the House representing Sabon Gari federal constituency of Kaduna State, Hon. Garba Mohammed Datti also threw his weight behind Wase on the rejection of the petition.
It will be recalled that Wase had in a reaction to the outrage that greeted the rejection of the petition presented by Hon. Mark Gbillah representing Gwer East/Gwer West Federal Constituency of Benue State penultimate week said that the video was doctored.
He said: “Our attention has been drawn to a piece of news item circulating on social, electronic and other conventional media concerning a legislative encounter between the Rt. Hon. Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase and another Member, Hon. Mark Gbillah during plenary of Wednesday, 10th March, 2021 with the Deputy Speaker presiding.
“Let it be categorically stated that the coverage and reportage of the incident have mostly been doctored, slanted and bent to give political and ethnic coloration to an event that was otherwise strictly based on Rules of Parliamentary Procedures.”
Reacting to the statement on Monday, Nigerians in Diaspora Organization, NIDO said they found the “excuses lame and an insult on our collective intelligence as Diaspora.”
The statement was jointly signed by Dr. Bashir O. Obasekola (Chairman, NIDO Europe); Chief (Engr.) Obed Monago (Chairman, NIDO Americas); Engr. Prof. E. C. Ejiogu (Chairman, NIDO Asia); Hon. Gary Linus Unamadu (Chairman, NIDO Oceania); Dr. Obinna Kingsman (Chairman) and made available to Vanguard in Abuja.
It read thus: “While we patiently wait for the official statement from NASS on the derogatory statement against the Nigerian Diaspora by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Wase, we are compelled to respond to his accusatory statement of video doctoring contained in his press statement, “the media report of the matter had been doctored, slanted and bent to give political and ethnic coloration to an event that was otherwise strictlybased on Rules of Parliamentary Procedures”
“The Deputy Speaker, in an attempt to rebut, doubles down on his defiance by going further to accuse the Diaspora, the media and or Hon. Gbillah of doctoring the original video clip.
“NIDO is apolitical and does not harbor any ill against our dear country, that would warrant the doctoring of the video clip as alleged. We strongly demand, at this time that the deputy speaker produces his version of the encounter to buttress his allegation of doctoring.
“There is a saying that “bad excuse is worse than silence.” We found his excuses lame and an insult on our collective intelligence as Diaspora. Nonetheless, please be advised that our contention and effusions do not border on issues of parliamentary procedures and protocols, but rather on the Deputy Speaker’s statement that categorically denies the locus standi of diaspora Nigerians in litigating issues of national interest, notwithstanding our dual citizenships.
“The Deputy Speaker by his utterances, totally displayed a degree of ignorance of the law that will not be tolerated even from a freshman lawmaker, considering his 16 years of service at NASS.
“One would have expected a country like Nigeria to respect and value its diaspora as a strategic partner in harnessing foreign human capital and an indispensable resource in light of their significant fiscal and social contributions to national development.
“On the contrary, we are receiving such an asinine and insidious remarks from someone in such a hallowed position in government. To allay the fears of the Diaspora, we once more call on the Deputy Speaker to make bold and take back his statements, either personally or through the instruments of NASS. A ZOOM conference with the Diaspora will suffice.
“We are using this opportunity to humbly urge the various arms of our government to not only establish standards and policies that seek to embolden the diaspora discourse, but harmonize our common interests.
“We are still hoping that we would hear from the Rt. Honorable Speaker before the expiration of our 14 days notice.”
Also in a statement signed by the leader of Plateau State caucus, Hon. Beni Lar on Monday, members of the House passed a vote of confidence in Wase.
“We, the entire members of the Plateau State Caucus in the House of Representatives to reiterate our full confidence in the Leadership of the Deputy Speaker, Rt Hon Ahmed Idris Wase.
“Our resolve has become imperative following an unfortunate incident between the Deputy Speaker and another colleague during plenary which has since gone viral on social media.
“The incident has since been given an ethnic and political coloration which ought to be a purely parliamentary affair
“Let it be noted that the Rt.Hon Idris Wase is a seasoned legislator who has over the years represented the people of Wase, Plateau, the North Central and the entire nation effectively.
“During this period he has enjoyed the tremendous respect of his colleagues and his people.
“He has sponsored many bills and motions that have been key to the development of our nation and enhanced governance.
“As a Presiding Officer, he is known to have listening ears and accommodating of all views.
“We in Plateau State and the North Central have witnessed the infrastructural and human development attributed to the Deputy Speaker such as Roads, medical facilities, rural electrification, exploration of mineral resources, employment opportunities and countless gestures attributed to his diligence and passion for the entire North Central that he represents and the nation at large.
“As colleagues, he is passionate about the growth of our constituencies too.
“We as a caucus therefore implore the public not to misunderstand the intentions of the Deputy Speaker who is known to act in accordance with laid down procedures”, the statement read.
Lending a voice to the issue, Hon. Datti said Wase was right in his action.
“I was not in the House but I think, may, because of the way the petition was presented. They are in diaspora but taking about what’s happening in Taraba, Benue and Nassarawa States. What he was trying to state was that the right people to make that complain are people who are living in those states, not people who are about 5000 to 6000 kilometers away. Some of them, may be in the last 20 years, they have not been to the country. May be, they just read social media and decided to come.
“They are not talking about Nigeria. They are talking about only Tivs. So, I think what the deputy Speaker tried to do was to say no, let people who are within, directly involved, victims, let us hear from them. Not people who are in their comfort zone, don’t even know what is happening, some of them based on rumors, social media and many other form of news to speak. It is either the deputy Speaker was misquoted or people decided to twist what he was trying to say. Let us not always bring sentiments to issues. For me, the deputy Speaker was very right. I support him”, he said.