There was a drama between Chris Ngige, minister of labour and employment, and James Faleke when the minister appeared before a house of representatives ad hoc committee on Tuesday.

Faleke, who is representing Ikeja federal constituency, is a member of the ad hoc committee investigating the suspension of the management of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF).

Ngige, before answering questions, had started by saying that members of the committee were hisyounger brothers, except Faleke whom he said might be up to 60.

Faleke interrupted the minister, saying he was well over 60, but the minister said the lawmaker was a “small boy” and that he is of the same age bracket with Bola Tinubu, a national leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC) who is seen as Faleke’s political benefactor.

“So you are near my age, at least I am seven years older than you. I’m the same age with your mentor in Lagos, Asiwaju,” the minister said. 

“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.”

Again, Faleke interrupted saying Tinubu “won all his elections very well.” The remark appeared to be a mockery of Nigige whose election as governor of Anambra state was nullified in 2006.

Responding again, Nigige said; “no problem about that, just like you won your own in Kogi state very well. And you are now the deputy governor and governor of Kogi state.”

Faleke, who was running mate to Abubakar Audu, in the 2015 Kogi governorship election was denied the governorship ticket when Audu suddenly died as the election was almost completed.

When Faleke asked the minister to respond to questions, he said; “I’m responding my friend, if you yab me, I yab you ten times. I am a Lagos boy, you are just a small boy in Lagos. Look at this Mushin boy, he’s talking with a VI boy. I lived in Victoria Island. Look at this Mushin boy from Kogi o.”

There has been controversy over the suspension of the management of the NSITF.

In a letter on July 1, 2020 and addressed to Adebayo Somefun, managing director of NSITF, Ngige had said President Muhammadu Buhari had approved the suspension of the management Somefun heads over “misappropriation and other gross misconduct”.

Somefun was instructed to hand over to the most senior official in the board, and face a panel that would investigate procurement dealings of the agency from 2017 to 2020.

Reacting, NSITF, however, had said the president has not given such a directive.


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