OrderPaperToday – The crisis generated in the House of Representatives by the allocation of leadership positions of standing committees have taken a deeper dimension as Majority
Leader, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila officially wrote to Speaker Yakubu Dogara to complain of the latter’s politics of exclusivity in the matter.

In a letter circulated to newsmen, Gbajabiamila claimed he was neither consulted nor carried along in the composition of the committee leadership, saying it is a breach of relevant sections of the Standing Orders of the House and that attempts to undermine his position and office will not augur well for the peace and stability of the House.

In the letter dated 20th October, 2015 in which he detailed several attempts he made to reach out to the Speaker on the matter, the Leader said he was not given due consideration in the appointments of Chairmen and their deputies to the 96 standing committees of the House announced about a fortnight ago.

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According to the letter, “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.

While listing out the relevant provisions of the rules, Gbajabiamila said “undermining the office of the Leader or any other principal officer would not strengthen the legislature or our democracy,” adding that “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.”

Part of the letter reads: “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”.

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 and that Hon. Gbajabiamila has at various times complained of having been excluded. The speaker had called a meeting of the House leadership on October 22 in an attempt to resolve the impasse.

(See Gbajabiamila’s letter and Dogara’s notice of meeting here)

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