by Stanley Azuakola
Since the return of democracy to Nigeria in 1999, different houses of assembly have taken turns to informally assume the title of “the most crisis prone assembly” in the country. The Anambra State Assemblyit at some point, and so did the Ogun Assembly in the last days of Otunba Gbenga Daniel governorship.
Now, it appears that the baton has been passed to the Bayelsa State House of Assembly. Incidentally, Bayelsa State is the home state of President Goodluck Jonathan. Hardly any month passes these days without news of one controversy or another from that state assembly.
It is therefore not surprising that barely a month after the intervention of President Goodluck Jonathan in the affairs of the assembly, resulting in the reinstatement of Mr. Kombowei Benson as House speaker, a fresh altercation has occurred. This time, the dispute is between the speaker of the House, Mr. Kombowei Benson, and the former deputy speaker, Mr. Fini Angaye.
According to a report by The Punch, “There was a shouting match between Angaye and the speaker which almost resulted in exchange of blows.” A very pissed Fini Angaye reportedly stormed into the speaker’s office, banging the tables and yelling that the speaker pays up an undisclosed sum of money. He allegedly threatened to deal with speaker if the money was not paid. Entreaties for calm by other members present fell on deaf ears as Angaye refused to leave the office.
“Pay me my money now. If you don’t pay me money, there will not be sitting of this House,” Angaye was quoted as saying repeatedly.
It is still unclear which money Hon. Angaye is demanding.
Some members of the House were offended by the conduct of Angaye, who “showed a lot of disrespect to the speaker.” The matter was consequently brought to the floor of the House as a matter of urgent public importance. The House resolved to set up a five-man committee to investigate the matter and make recommendations.
The decision of the House has brought some calm, while the countdown for the next fracas has begun in earnest.