Reps spoil for war with Dogara over committees


The House of Representatives may be heading for another crisis as various interests in the chamber have vowed to fight  Speaker Yakubu Dogara over composition of committees.
On resumption of plenary next month, Dogara is expected to name chairmen and deputies of  the 95 standing committees of the House.

The Speaker may announce the composition on September 29 when the chamber resumes.

Amid the intrigues, it was gathered that a fresh standoff may be in the offing as some members have threatened to confront the Speaker if they do not get chairmanships of committees of their choice.

Specifically, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus may have given the Speaker a list of committees for its members, a move confirmed by a member of the caucus from the South South who declined to be named.

He said: “We have sent our list to the Speaker; we expect him to oblige us our request… If he refuses to listen to us, we will let him know that we can bark and bite…”

Before the chamber went on recess, Dogara had said he will allocate the 95 chairmanship positions based on zones and states. Although the PDP caucus has no problem with such arrangement, the source disclosed that ranking members of the caucus will reject chairmanships of committees that do not befit their status.

“We approve of the plans by the Speaker to adopt zonal and states’ arrangement in the sharing of chairmen and deputy chairmen of committees. But, we also want him to be guided by the fact that we have some ranking members; they deserved to be given chairmen of certain committees…
“I don’t expect these lawmakers who are either on their third or fourth terms not to be given the honour of chairing

‘A’ class committees. If that does not happen we will reject the selection arrangement,” he said.

It is not only the PDP caucus that is threatening fire and brimstone over chairmanships of committees…

Some members of the defunct APC Loyalist Group, those who supported and promoted the APC’s endorsement of Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila for the position which Dogara now occupies and later, for House Leader, are also threatening to tackle him if they are neglected or not given juicy committees chair.

A ranking member of the group, who was privy to the agreement reached before a truce was brokered in the House some weeks ago, disclosed that Gbajabiamila would be allowed to nominate chairmen of some class ‘A’ committees.

The lawmaker who does not want his name mentioned, claimed that the body language of the Speaker does not suggest that he is keen on keeping to the said agreement.

“We have an agreement in place; the Majority Leader will nominate some chairmen of key committees. We want to see that happen. So far, the Speaker is acting in a manner that suggests that he is not interested in keeping to the agreement.

“We will go back to the trenches if we are pushed to the wall. We are waiting for him. If they like, they can take the list to London or America, at the end of the day, we will still know what they are plotting”, the lawmaker said.

Meanwhile, Dogara’s Media Adviser, Turaki Hassan, in his reaction, said his boss believes in fairness and justice and would be guided by that in the constitution of committees. “Mr. Speaker is committed to taking decisions that would take the House to loftier heights (and) that of chairmanship of committees will not be different…,” he saud,

Distancing Dogara from any untoward acts, an aide to the Majority Leader, Smart Olarewaju, said Gbajabiamila will not back any move that is at variance with the goal of the House.

The chamber is presently on a six-week recess.

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