House Crisis: Bankole to suspend Ogunewe


UPDATE: Eleven anti Bankole members assaulted and suspended – Austin Nwachukwu a member of Melaye group who came in with tear gas that he wasusing during the fracas was beaten and stripped naked before camera for refusing to leave the chamber after s…uspension.

Melaye’s dress was equallly torn while Hon. Igwe a supporter of Hon. Dimeji Bankole had his hand dislocated by Nwachukwu after using tear gas on him. Doris Uboh a member of the Melaye group collapsed in the fray and was carried out. Hon. Independence Ogunewe escaped through the back door to escape beating. – details here

Indications have emerged that the leadership of the Nigeria House of Representatives will move to suspend Independence Ogunewe when the House reconvenes tomorrow morning.

This comes as the Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mrs. Farida Waziri, Monday in Abuja said the agency will shortly raise a panel to investigate alleged mismanagement of N9billion by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole and nine other principal officers.

Ogunewe is one of the arrow heads of a group of Representatives known as the Progressives. Recently, Bankole and Independence Ogunewe almost came to blows following their frosty relationship.

The Speaker also reshuffled the various committees in what was seen as an attempt to get rid of the opposition. And tomorrow Ogunewe risks suspension for “bringing the image of the House to disrepute”.

Waziri spoke after receiving a petition from a delegation of ‘The Progressive Forum’ (anti-Speaker’s faction in the House), led by Mr. Dino Melaye. She said no suspect would be spared as the law is not a respecter of any person.

She said she is worried about recurring scandal in the House adding: “For the National Assembly, the House of Representatives in particular, I have been worried, I think most Nigerians have been very concerned, because there have been scandals upon scandals in that House.

“I read in the papers just like any other Nigerian that a petition was coming and to be presented personally by Honourable members.

“And this morning, I saw an advert in ThisDay newspaper and with the EFCC Secretary we were going through and we discussed it. I was just sending for the Director of Operations that we don’t even have to wait for you to bring in a petition before we look into it. We will look into this.

“And I was talking of setting up a committee of diligent and loyal and hardworking officer to look at this, I was told that you were around.

The Progressives had earlier issued a seven-day ultimatum to Speaker Hon. Dimeji Bankole to resign or risk being disgraced out of office.

But latest information from the House indicates that the leadership of the House has gained the upper hand in the crisis as several regional caucuses declared support for the Leadership of the House.

Observers believe the mistake the rebels made was taking on the entire leadership of the House. “it would have been easier for them if they had taken on only Bankole” said one insider.

“But charging against the entire leadership was an impossible task”, he added

Bankole had earlier dismissed allegations of corruption as absurd and advised the aggrieved lawmakers to explore internal mechanisms to seek redress.

The group of progressives demanded the resignation of the Speaker because of alleged corruption.

The arrow head of the group and former Chairman House Committee on Information Hon. Dino Melaye alleged that Bankole has not only ran a corrupt leadership since he assumed office in 2007 but has through his style of leadership generated rift and disharmony between the House and the Senate; displayed high-handedness and disrespect for members and frequently breached the rules of the House.

In a widely advertised Press Conference June 9, 2010 Melaye said:

“The public perception of the House of Representatives has ingloriously declined. The perception of the House of Representatives, specifically under Hon. Dimeji Sabur Bankole has nosedived. Therefore we are asking Rt. Hon. Dimeji Bankole to resign immediately as the Speaker of the House of Representatives within seven days.

“We are also asking him to resign because of his high-handedness and disrespect for members which are not just a breach but frequent breaches of the rules of the House. His sweeping and unsubstantiated public statements have also caused disaffection amongst the various arms of government.

“We have overwhelming evidence and information on his activities and we are going to release them to the media at the appropriate time. We are also going to write petitions that every member you see here and even those that are on recess will sign and we will physically, personally deliver them to the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the State Security Service (SSS), the National Security Adviser, the Presidency and indeed to the National Headquarters of the Peoples Democratic Party”.