Majority leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila has written to the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, complaining of his total sideline and ignorance in the formation of the 96 House Standing Committees announced a fortnight ago.
Gbajabiamila’s letter, dated October 20, preempted the scheduled announcement of the committees by the speaker, which was made on October 22 and sought for the observance and respect of the provisions of the House rules ahead of the announcement.
Ever since the announcement of the 96 committees by the speaker, which saw an increase of seven committees from the previous 89, criticisms have continued to trail the sharing of the committees, where the ruling APC got 48, while the PDP got 46.
The APC lawmakers have been unequivocal in their displeasure over the number of committee, including those termed as “juicy” allocated to the opposition PDP by the speaker.
But the speaker’s office has defended the allegation in a letter signed by Dogara’s chief whip, Jerry Manwe and addressed to all principal officers for a consultative meeting scheduled just hours before the announcement on the floor.
The speaker’s letter, dated October 21 and titled “Notice of meeting of Principal Officers of the House of Representatives” was annexed with another, showing the attendance of the meeting by the principal officers.
It indicated against all the nine listed principal officers their attendance signature, where the House leader’s name was also written against his position as an attendee.
Gbajabiamila’s letter to Dogara, which was copied to the APC national chairman, said severally, the House leader had held meetings with the speaker both at home and in office to be acquainted with the situation of committees’ composition, as a member of the selection committee.
“I did this because of the incessant rumor that some had been composed. On each occasion, you assured me that nothing had been done. From all indications however it appears that an announcement of the Chairmen and Deputy Chairmen is imminent and such may be done this week,” the letter had said.
Gbajabiamila cited Order 7 Rule 27 (2)c of the House rules, which underscored the explicit role of the House leader to work “with committee chairmen and other functionaries of the House.”
He called on the speaker to consider the House rules and the parliamentary tradition globally to avoid undermining the office of the majority leader if the legislature is to be strengthened.
Spokesperson of the House, Rep Abdulrazak Namdas (APC, Adamawa) told Daily Trust after the meeting that despite being invited, the House leader did not attend the speaker’s meeting with the committees chairmen.
On the letter by Gbajabiamila, the spokesperson said “the truth of the matter is that House leader was properly consulted in the composition of the committees.”
Consequently, he said, the speaker will on Monday inaugurate all the 94 standing committees, without the solid mineral and special duties committees, whose appointed chairmen, Muhammad Garba Datti (APC, Kaduna) and Sunday Adepoju (APC, Oyo) respectively resigned last week.