“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…” – Ngige fires back at Faleke.
The House of Representatives was again in the news for the wrong reasons just two days after the fainting episode at its NDDC hearing. This time around, it was the embarrassing face-off between Honourable Abiodun James Faleke and the minister of Labour Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige.
Things got out of hand when the duo engaged in an all-out altercation.
This altercation happened at the House Ad-hoc Committee hearing on the suspension of the management of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF). It began with both men trading words. Dr. Chris Ngige was forced to descend on Faleke.
He reminded Faleke that he (Ngige) and Faleke’s mentor (Tinubu) belonged together as peers and therefore Faleke is well beneath to attempt to embarrass him.
Dr. Chris Ngige responded to the personal attacks by Faleke, which he had described as an abuse of parliamentary process. But it is very important to attempt to decipher why Faleke left the business of the House hearing to launch his tirade and personal attacks.
For example, the performance of APC in Idemili North Local Government where Ngige hails from had absolutely no place in the House hearing. It was the duty of the Committee Chairman to call Faleke to order but she didn’t. What that meant is that the personal attacks and impugning of the integrity by the honourable were captured in the records of proceedings.
Honourable Abiodun James Faleke has been known to be a staunch member of the Tinubu camp, which sponsored him to the House of Reps and equally his ill-fated governorship election bid in Kogi in November, 2015. Though he contested and won the House of Reps from Lagos State, he also contested to become deputy governor of Kogi state. An absurdity in itself, he became a running mate to the late Abubakar Audu who died before both could be sworn for the reason that their election was declared inconclusive by the INEC.
Faleke had wanted to inherit the mandate of Audu since it was a joint ticket but there was no legal basis for him to foot it. He demanded to complete the race in the runoff election but the APC in Kogi could only allow him to remain the running mate. Rather than return to the poll to complete the race with the current governor of Kogi State, Yahaya Bello, he returned to the House of Reps.
Faleke again returned to Lagos in 2019 and contested again to return to the House of Reps the second or third time. He did not want to represent his people of Kogi; the same people he said he wanted to govern but chose Ikeja federal constituency people of Lagos state. Those who see the decision of Faleke to represent Ikeja federal constituency, Lagos state, rather than his People of Kogi as an aberration need to understand that the man’s political roots are in Lagos. He was bred in Lagos and honed by the Tinubu political machinery.
One of Tinubu’s right-hand mascots no doubt.
His ill-fated mission to Kogi, his actual state of origin, was supposed to be an extension of what the Tinubu camp has done all over the South West, where former commissioners under Tinubu as governor of Lagos State became governors of their states. Ogbeni Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola and John Olukayode Fayemi are examples and Hon. James Faleke would have been one more such as Kogi State governor.
But the million-dollar question is: Why did Faleke embarrass Chris Ngige at the House Hearing days ago?
He did it for Tinubu and Ngige understood it and fired back along the same line.
The macabre dance was therefore about the 2023 presidential election and the efforts of the Tinubu camp to clear the obstacles in the way of their principal – Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu.
Recall that on the 25th of May, Dr. Chris Nwabueze Ngige hinted his intention to run for Presidency or even vice-presidency in the upcoming 2023 presidential elections. So what Asiwaju ‘Jagaban’ Tinubu is trying to do is to indirectly silence any voice in the Southeast that he fears might be an opposition to him.
The altercation from Faleke no doubt is an eye-opener to how Chris Ngige is portrayed in the eyes of his fellow political juggernauts. For an underdog to call him out on National Television shows that this is just a tip of the iceberg compared to what awaits him in the future if he doesn’t get his act straight.
AFRICA DAILY NEWS, NEW YORK