OrderPaperToday – The crisis created in the House of Representatives over the constitution of standing committees and appointment of leadership deepened further as Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila led his supporters to boycott the official inauguration of the panels today.
The event which held at a special session of the House was delayed for over two hours after the scheduled time for commencement which was put at 10am. The Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara however arrived chambers at about 12.45pm to get the event underway.
Although no official reason was given for the absence of the Majority leader, the Chief Whip of the House and a key Gbajabiamila ally, Mr. Alhassan Doguwa, who rose to second a motion for adjournment, said he did second the motion on behalf of the aggrieved group of lawmakers. The rumblings over the leadership composition of the committees have loudest from the camp of the majority leader who felt short-changed that his supporters were not allocated so-called ‘Grade A’ committees
The special session today was attended by senate president Bukola Saraki and presidential adviser to the national assembly (senate), Mr. Ita Enang.
Recall that Mr. Gbajabiamila had officially written the Speaker to complain of having not been consulted in the process of constituting the committees, claiming that it is a breach of relevant sections of the Standing Orders of the House and part of Dogara’s attempts to undermine his position and office as majority leader of the House.
In the letter circulated to newsmen, warned that “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. 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.”
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 some members notably in the Gbajabiamila camp have turned down their appointment.
At least two members in the Gbajabiamila camp had openly rejected their appointment as committee leaders on the floor of the House: Mr. Garba Datti (APC, Kaduna) resigning as chairman of solid minerals committee and Saleh Hassan (PDP, Benue) stepping down as deputy chairman of local content committee. The Deputy speaker, Mr. Yusuf Lasun had stalled moves by others to follow suit.