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Chaos in House of Reps over announcement of principal officers

Drama ensued at the House of Representatives when some members struggled to grab the mace as the Speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila was about to announce Minority Principal Officers of the house.

The struggle began at about 2.30 pm on Wednesday, when  Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP) moved a point of order, interrupting the speaker who was about to read a letter signed by 99 members of minority parties.

According to Chinda, Order 6 Rule 1 of the House Rules says that members of minority parties in the house shall choose from among themselves someone with experience to lead them.

He said that where the house rule was not clear on the procedure, the house should follow precedence or follow a resolution of the house.

Chinda said that the major opposition party, the People Democratic Party (PDP) had written to the speaker and had presented Rep. Kingsley Chinda (PDP-Rivers) to be the Minority Leader.

He said that Chukwuka Onyema (PDP-Anambra) was selected to be Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Yakubu Bade (PDP-Kaduna) as Minority Whip and Rep. Muraina Ajibola (PDP-Oyo) as Deputy Minority Whip.

Chinda urged the speaker to follow the precedents of the house and adopt the list of lawmakers sent by the major minority party.

The speaker, however, ruled Chinda out of order saying that there were nine minority political parties and that PDP alone could not determine who led the minority.

Gbajabiamila attempted to read the letter, which he said, was signed by 99 minority political parties but in a loud cry, members left their seats and started struggling for the mace.

Members of the sergeant-at-arms rushed in to prevent the lawmakers from taking the mace and some lawmakers held unto each other about to get into a fight.

The speaker, however, went on in a rowdy session and announced Rep. Ndudi Godwin Elumelu as Minority Leader, Rep. Toby Okechukwu as Deputy Minority Leader, Rep. Gideon Gwani as Minority Whip and Rep. Adesegun Adekoya as Deputy Minority Whip.

The speaker then adjourned plenary to Thursday, July 4 leaving some members chanting his name while others booed.

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