Minister of Employment and Productivity, Chris Ngige, found an opportunity to ‘scatter’ Honourable Abiodun James Faleke, who is the Chairman of the House of Representatives Committee on Finance when he appeared at the National Assembly to defend himself against allegations of abuse of office.
During a House committee investigative hearing this week, Ngige made it clear to Faleke that he was becoming quite uncomfortable with some of his grilling and choice of words; and the diss began.
“As for Faleke, they say he is up to 60 years of age, I don’t know,” Ngige told the committee while sifting through his documents.
“I am 60 plus,” Faleke hollered back.
“Aha!” Ngige exclaimed. “So, you are near my age, but I am at least 7 years older than you. I am the same age as your mentor in Lagos, Asiwaju. And I was governor with him at the same time, he was a senator, I was a senator. I am a two-time minister, he isn’t a two-time minister…”
At this point, Faleke knew he had to clap back and he did. “
But he (Asiwaju) won all his elections very well,” the legislator said, poking fun at Ngige whose 2003 Anambra governorship election victory was voided in 2005 and 2006 by the courts.
Ngige’s attempts to become Governor of Anambra in 2007 and 2010 ended in defeats as well.
Even though Ngige won the 2011 Anambra Central senatorial election on the ACN platform, he was beaten by Hon. Mrs Uche Ekwunife in 2015 as he sought to make a return to the national assembly.
Faleke’s taunt on Ngige’s electoral misfortunes rubbed the minister the wrong way and he hit back.
“No problem about that. Just like you won your own in Kogi State very well,” Ngige reminded Faleke, who was on a joint ticket as deputy governorship candidate to Abubakar Audu in Kogi in 2015.
Audu and Faleke won the majority votes cast in what was a keenly contested election.
However, Audu died shortly before the official declaration of the results, with the political party of the duo, the APC, transferring their votes to Yahaya Bello who was first runner up during the party’s primary election.
Faleke challenged the decision of the party all the way to the Supreme Court but lost.
“And you are now the deputy governor and governor of Kogi State,” Ngige wasn’t done just yet.
“Yes, yes,” Faleke punctuated Ngige’s jibes.
As the jibes flew, another member of the House committee had to remind Ngige of the day’s business. “Mr. Minister, please respond,” this legislator interjected.
But Ngige wasn’t done yet:
“You are a small boy. If you yab me, I yab you. You are a Mushin boy, I am a Victoria Island boy. You live in Mushin, I live on Victoria Island,” he declared on the floor of the National Assembly.
You are Ogborogbo. Just go. I no get time for you. Kilonshe?”
For context, Victoria Island is tucked in the noveau richof Lagos, while Mushin is located in the suburbs of the city.
He added that he was the age mate of Faleke’s mentor – Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, saying he was older than Faleke by seven years.
“I was a governor when Tinubu was governor. He was two-term governor, I was two-term governor. I am a two0term minister, he is not a two-term minister,” Ngige said.
Faleke is the one championing the probing of Ngige, whom he accused of manipulating some processes in the ministry.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK