Matters, including those that came under urgent public importance, which have been referred to some committees of the House, cannot be deliberated as membership of standing committees is yet to be constituted.
One week after the House of Representatives resumed plenary following its two-month recess, it doesn’t seem prepared for legislative business with the low attendance of lawmakers during plenary.
Recall the 10th Assembly proceeded on the break on Thursday, July 27, 2023, following a plenary session during which the Speaker, Rep. Tajudeen Abbas, announced the leadership of the standing committees of the House.
Also recall that the Clerk of the House of Representatives, Dr. Yahaha Danzaria, had conveyed in a correspondence informing the members last week Friday, 22, September 2023, of the resumption of plenary session on 26 September.
Unfortunately, since its resumption, the Green Chamber has been observed to be scanty, and failing to achieve the number required to form a quorum needed to deliberate on issues.
Going by the law, for a House of 360 lawmakers to sit and deliberate on an issue, 120 members must be present to form a quorum of 2/3 majority.
This is not the case, as less than 70 lawmakers showed up at Wednesday’s plenary, which affects participation and decision-making in legislative business. At the time of filing this report, 11.48 am, October 4, 2023, the chamber has less than 2/3 of members currently seated.
One issue that requires urgent attention is the constitution of the membership of various committees as most matters are being referred to standing committees.
Currently, committees have only chairpersons and deputies. As such, matters that have been referred to some of the committees cannot be deliberated and the year is fast running out.
Just a few days ago, the House celebrated 100 days in office without commensurate achievements.
However, the House Spokesperson, Rep. Akın Rotimi, listed the achievements of the House to include 470 bills sponsored and 170 motions being passed, adding that the House was going to waste no time in making the draft copy of the Legislative Agenda available to the public, adding that members of the committees are expected to be announced as well.
According to him, “The 10th Assembly has been very prolific, and in about 100 days since inauguration, has recorded a total of 470 bills passed first reading, and four passed second reading. There have also been a total of 175 motions considered by the House so far.
“Despite the recess, the green chamber continued to function, as various ad-hoc committees continued to carry out their crucial mandates which have generated significant positive public interest. Honourable Members also continued to carry out various constituency outreaches across the country.
“Some of the key early developments expected on resumption is the conclusion of the work of all ad-hoc committees and the submission of their reports for the consideration of the House, in line with the directive of the Rt. Honourable Speaker.
“It is also expected that the final draft of the Legislative Agenda developed by the ad-hoc committee led by House Leader, Hon. Prof. Julius Inhonvbere will be considered and adopted by the House. The draft agenda was developed following extensive consultations with critical stakeholders.
“In the same vein, soon after the resumption, it is anticipated that the membership of the standing committees would be announced and fully constituted.”