Peace Is Yet To Return To The House Of Representatives As Femi Gbajabiamila Protests His Exclusion And Non-Consultation By The Speaker In The Composition Of Committees
There are indications that the House of Representatives is set to rumble again over the exclusion of House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila, and other principal officers of the House, from the process leading to the constitution of the 96 committees recently constituted by speaker Yakubu Dogara.
The UNION learnt also that Gbajabiamila is also unhappy that despite peace moves and pledge to work for the good of the House, he was not appointed to head any of the committees. Gbajabiamila also protested the Speakder’s action in a letter where he pointed out that the decision not to carry principal officers along in the constitution of the committee was against the rules of the House and parliamentary procedures thus setting the stage for a rumble.
Documents obtained by our correspondent shows that Gbajabiamila had in a letter to the Speaker dated October 20, 2015 protested that he was not given the due consideration in the appointments of Chairmen and their deputies to the various committees.
The letter read, “Hon. Speaker you will recall that I have on several occasions, in the last four weeks, met with you both at home and in your office to get an understanding and appreciation of what was going on with the composition and appointment of chairmen and deputy chairman of House committees. “Hon. Speaker, I acknowledge your right and prerogative to determine the leadership of the House committees and I intend to work with you after such determination has been made. “I intend and have stated on many occasions privately and publicly to work with you for the progress of the House.
“However, I am constrained at this point to ask that due consideration is given to the provisions of our House provisions of our House rules. “Order 7, Rule 10 paragraph (a) of the House Rules which states that the Speaker; shall in consultation with Principal Officers, appoint the chairmen and deputy chairmen from among the members on the committee. “On the role of the Majority/ House Leader; Order 7 Rule 27 (2) (c) says that the Leader of the House shall liaise with committee chairmen and other functionaries of the House.
“Hon. Speaker, in the light of the foregoing provisions of our Rules and in line with parliamentary tradition world over, undermining the office of the leader, or any other principal officer, would not strengthen the legislature or our democracy. “The situation where any principal officer, whether from the majority or minority party, only knows of the appointment referred to above upon announcement on the floor will not augur well for the progress of this House.
“I have taken the liberty to write to you on the matter for record purposes and in the hope that every principal office in this House it’s due (consideration) as enshrined in our House Rules”.
The UNION learnt that following the protest letter, Dogara quickly summoned a meeting for the 22nd of October 2015 in a letter dated on the 21st of October, 2015. A document, also obtained by The UNION, showed that all Principal Officers of the House, including the House Leader’s office, received the notice of meeting except for the Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Leader and the Deputy Minority Whip.
It will be recalled that the Speaker named the Chairmen and their deputies on the floor of the House on the 22nd of October, 2015. He had announced total of 96 standing committees of which 48 committees went to the All Progressive Congress (APC), 46 committees went to People’s Democratic Party (PDP), one committee each went to the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
Reps Mohammad Monguno, Nkeiruka Onyejeocha Chukwudi Jones, Nnenna Ukeji, Nicholas Mutu and Aminu Shagari retained their committee chairmanship of Agricultural Production and Services, Aviation, Banking and Currency, Foreign Affairs, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and Federal Judiciary respectively.
Eight new committees announced by the Speaker were Agricultural Colleges and Institutions, Basic Education and Services, Delegated Legislation, FCT Judiciary, Health Institutions, IDPs Refugees and Initiatives on North East, Insurance and Actuarial Matters, Tertiary Education and Services would be chaired by Reps Linus Okorie, Mohammed Zakari, Simon Arabo, Laori Kwamoti, Betty Apiafi, Sani Zoro, Olufemi Fakeye and Aminu Suleiman respectively.
Members loyal to Speaker Dogara who belonged to the consolidation group such as Reps Jibrin Abdulmumin and Adams Jagaba will chair Appropriations and Interior.
Committees such as Army, Defence, Navy, Finance, Petroleum Resources Downstream and Petroleum Resources upstream would be chaired by Reps Rima Kwewum, Muktar Aliyu, Abdussamad Dasuki, Babangida Ibrahim, Akinlaja Joseph and Victor Nwokolo.
Other such as National Planning and Economic Development, Media and Public Affairs, Police Affairs and Science and Technology will be chaired by Reps Jephter Foigha, Abdulrazak Namdas, Haliru Jika and Beni Lar amongst others. The Niger Delta Affairs committee is yet to have a chairman named.
– Dyepkazah Shibayan, Abuja