House of Representatives Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila on Tuesday tongue-lashed a lawmaker from Benue state, Hon. Mark Terser Gbilah representing Gwer-East/Wager-West federal constituency over unsavory comments made in the media against him and others.
The verbal chastisement by the Speaker came on the heels of motion on a matter of privileges brought by Hon. Pat Asadu, who prayed the House to investigate an alleged breach of his privilege and those of his colleagues from Enugu and Ebonyi state by the Benue-born legislator.
Asadu while moving the motion had cited a publication in Sun newspaper wherein Gbillah was quoted as maligning both the governors of Enugu and Ebonyi states that they instructed members from their States to work against PDP’s choice in the speakership election.
He also quoted the member as saying that the PDP should discipline the two governors for working against the party.
Asadu said Gbillah’s comments questions his right as an elected representative of his people.
He said his privilege and those of Enugu and Ebonyi caucus were breached as he finds the assertions “unacceptable, provocative and offensive”.
He called on the House to refer the matter to the committee on ethics and privileges for investigation.
Deputy majority leader, Hon. Toby Okechukwu (PDP, Enugu) also reacted to the publication, saying that the comments cast aspersions on his credibility as a member elected to represent his people.
He said it was ‘uncharitable’ for a member of the House to bring in an extraneous person in matters of the parliament.
According to him, the said member, Mark Gbilah had no capacity to make allegations because he couldn’t remember being told by his governor how to vote on the floor of the house.
At this point, Gbajabiamila intervened saying: “let me say that Hon mark Gbilah, of late you’ve been making several unsavory comments both in prints and on TV, many of which touched me, my personal integrity.
“You’ve made these comments without recourse to the rights of the people you talk about to protect their privacy.
”If you remember Hon. Mark Gbilah, not too long ago, there were very weighty allegations levelled against you, very weighty allegations! And all of us in this House, particularly me, rose in unison to defend you because those allegations were made without proof.
“But all of a sudden, you turn around and begin to make issues out of nothing all in the name of politics,” Gbajabiamila noted.
He, however, urged his colleagues to let the issue go as the erring member would be warned to desist from making further derogatory comments.
“So Hon. Colleagues, I want us to let this lie in the spirit of reconciliation so that Hon Mark Gbilah would take stocks of what he’s said and how they affect the integrity of colleagues and the House in general.
“And that it also serves as a window of reflection on his part that everyone has the right to protect and that when violated by unguarded utterances could lead to consequences.
“So Hon Mark Gbilah, let this be the last time we will hear of things like these from you and any other member because if we do, we would be applying the rules as deemed necessary”, the speaker warned.
The motion for investigation was therefore withdrawn.
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