The Federal Executive Council yesterday had an unusual start to its weekly meetings when video of the fracas that occurred in the Rivers State House of Assembly on Tuesday was played at the Council Chambers of the Presidential Villa, Abuja.
Wednesday’s meeting was presided over by Vice President Namadi Sambo in the absence of President Goodluck Jonathan, who is currently on a state visit to China.
As soon as ministers started arriving the council chambers venue of the FEC meeting, Aso Rock technical members started playing the video which was beamed on the big screen inside the chamber as well as the smaller screens placed on the well polished desk in front of each minister.
Minister of State for Education, Nyesom Wike, who is considered a key actor in the political upheaval in the state, was already in the chamber at the time the video was being played. Also, Minister of Housing and Urban Development, Ama Pepple, who is also from the state, was also in attendance.
As soon as the part where the state lawmakers engaged in a free for all fight was being aired, some ministers, including the Minister of Labour, Chief Emeka Wogu; Minister of State, Power, Zainab Kuchi and the Director-General, Bureau of Public Procurement, Emeka Ezeh, quickly gathered around Wike, who is believed to be the pillar behind the five lawmakers who incited Tuesday’s show of shame.
Some of the Ministers were heard telling Wike that the general impression was that he was the brain behind the crisis to which he quickly replied, “Did you see me there? I was in Abuja here when it was happening.”
As some of them twitched and screamed in unbelief as they saw how a lawmaker was hitting his colleague with a broken maze on the head, Wike was overhead saying the crisis was part of politics.
“See the governor, see the governor’s ADC on the floor of the Assembly. That is the gov’s ADC on the floor of the house,” Wike repeated as they all fixed their gaze on the big screen.
The elderly Pepple, however, had looks of regrets on her face as she kept quiet while the embarrassing video was being aired.
At a point, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator Pius Anyim, also entered the chamber and joined in watching the video clip.
Upon sighting Anyim, Wogu shouted from where he was standing, “Secretary to the Government, I hope you are seeing your Assembly men (in reference to Mr. Anyim’s time as a Senator and former President of the Senate).” The minister later joined the SGF where he was standing to watch the video.
The men continued their discussion with the video still playing before Vice President Namadi Sambo walked into the council chambers to signal the commencement of the meeting.
After the meeting which lasted for barely an hour, Wike was approached by State House correspondents at the corridor leading to the Council Chambers to seek his opinion on the developments in his state but he replied, “Gentlemen, I will be with you, let me see the Vice President in his office, I don’t want to keep him waiting, I am coming back”.
He never returned as promised as he was later seen making frantic calls before leaving in his official car.