OrderPaperToday – Leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus in the House of Representatives, Mr. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers), has given reasons why his members walked out of plenary on Tuesday over the controversial Twitter ban by the federal government.
He said members were wrongly ruled out of order and not given opportunity to properly ventilate themselves on the issue, adding that the speaker’s pronouncement is not a resolution of the House as envisaged by the House Rules and the Constitution of the country.
The Members of the PDP caucus in the House staged a walkout from plenary after Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila turned down an order on privilege upon which Mr. Chinda wanted to make additional prayer to the decision to investigate the ban.
According to Chinda, the Speaker was wrong to have held that “we cannot revisit a resolution of the House because his speech is not a House resolution,” especially since he was raising an issue of privilege “which can be raised at any time.”
It would be recall that the Speaker of the House in the course of his resumption speech from the constitutional review break asked relevant Committees of the House to probe the Twitter ban.
However, about an hour after the decision of the speaker, Mr. Chinda raised a point of order seeking a review of the decision but was ruled out of order.
Briefing the media after the walkout, Chinda vowed that “we the members of the PDP caucus of the House will continue tweeting, if they want to jail us they should. We surrender ourselves on behalf of Nigerians.
“The speaker presented a speech to us this morning. There was no debate on that issue. Resolutions of the House are always arrived at by majority vote , so in essence what happened this morning was the decision of the leadership and that’s why I said we agree with the decision of the leadership but we still have the right if we have further things to add to it.
“We are not angels, our leaders are not angels. it’s not against our rules, there was no debate and no vote was taken on those issues, so it’s not sacrosanct.”
Responding to a question on whether he thinks the leadership of the House preempted what the PDP caucus wanted to do and came up with that decision, he said he would have been surprised if the Speaker had not captured the #TwitterBan in his speech.
“Sincerely I will be surprised if the leadership of the House did not take that step, so we expected it and we agree, we are just saying that there’s nothing wrong in adding another prayer, which was what we sought to do. That’s why we said, ‘also urge the executive arm to rescind their decision in the interim, pending the outcome of interaction between the legislature and the executive. We expected it, that’s what ordinarily any Speaker would do but there’s nothing wrong in adding additional prayers.”
However, the Rivers lawmaker who seems unbothered insisted he acted in order and for the interest of majority of Nigerians.
“Like I said what we did is covered by our rules, we didn’t offend any section of our rules. However to show sincerity on our part we will still bring a motion but I can tell you it won’t be taken, even when it’s taken I will also say that they will all arrange to kill the motion. What we are saying is that let us have our say and let the majority have their way. Let Nigerians know our position all the time.”