Senate, Reps to unveil committee chairmen Thursday-


The Senate and House of Representatives will set up their remaining standing committees on Thursday.

Sunday PUNCH reports that Thursday will be the last plenary before the lawmakers will proceed on their annual vacation.

According to sources among the lawmakers, the reason for choosing to announce the remaining committee chairmen and members that day is to prevent aggrieved members from protesting.

A lawmaker noted that the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, and the leadership deliberately decided to announce the committees’ chairmanship on the last day of plenary so that the lawmakers would be without a choice and by the end of the holiday, the tension would have died down.

The senator said, “The committee members will be named on the last day of the plenary session before we embark on our annual holiday.

“This is because a lot of people will be shocked and there won’t be any opportunity to do anything about it.

“By the time the plenary resumes towards the end of September, the tension would have died down and calm would have been restored.”

Akpabio had on July 11 named the chairmen and members of the special committees of the Senate.

Members of the Senate Selection Committee mainly composed of the presiding officers and principal officers of the upper chamber include Akpabio, Barau Jibrin, Opeyemi Bamidele, Ali Ndume, Dave Umahi and Lola Ashiru.

Others are senators Simon Mwadkwon, Oyewumi Olarere, Darlington Nwokeocha and Rufai Hanga.

Akpabio named Adeola (APC, Ogun West) as the Chairman of the Senate Committee on Appropriations and Ndume (APC, Borno South) as the vice-chairman.

Senator Titus Zam (APC, Benue Northwest) was named as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Rules and Business, with Bamidele (APC, Ekiti Central) as vice-chairman, while Senator Sunday Karimi (APC, Kogi West) was appointed Chairman, Committee on Senate Services, with Senator Williams Jonah named as his deputy.

Others are the Senate Committee on Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions with Senator Okechukwu Ezea (LP, Enugu East) as chairman, and Khalid Mustapha as vice-chairman.

Also named was Senator Ahmed Wadada (SDP, Nasarawa West) as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Public Accounts and Senator Onyeka Peter Nwebonyi as the vice-chairman.

The Committee on National Security and Intelligence has Senator Shehu Umar (APC, Bauchi South) as chairman and Senator Asuquo Ekpenyong as vice-chairman.

In addition, the Senate Committee on Legislative Compliance has Senator Garba Maidoki (PDP, Kebbi South) as chairman, and Senator Ede Dafinone as vice-chairman.

The Senate Committee on Media and Public Affairs has Senator Adeyemi Adaramodu (APC, Ekiti South) as chairman, and Senator Salisu Afolabi as vice-chairman.

Akpabio added that in accordance with the Senate Standing Orders 95(b) as amended under sundry matters and in anticipation of the possibility of receiving the Supplementary Appropriation Bill, the Selection Committee also resolved to set up a committee on appropriations.

Both chambers have recently named ad hoc committees, which may be a pointer to the fact that the chairmen can eventually head substantive committees.

For instance, Senator Francis Fadahunsi (PDP, Osun East) was on Wednesday named Chairman of the ad hoc committee on Customs to investigate the issue of open firearms. Other members of the committee are Shuaibu Lau (PDP, Taraba North); Kawu Suleiman (NNPP, Kano South); Tony Nwoye (LP, Anambra North); Umar Sadiq (APC, Kwara North ); and Akpan Samson (PDP, Akwa Ibom South), among others.

Also, on Thursday, Akpabio named Senator Danjuma Goje (APC, Gombe Central) as Chairman of the Committee on Internal Security. Other members of the committee include senators Sunday Marshall, Fadeyi Olubiyi, Elisha Abbo, Peter Jiya and Sunday Karimi, among others.

Our correspondent learnt that Abdulaziz Yar’adua (APC, Katsina central), a retired colonel and brother to the late President Umar Yar’Adua, would be the chairman of the Defence on Committee.

According to sources in the Senate, all the All Progressives Congress lawmakers would chair one committee or the other.

One of the sources, an APC lawmaker in the North-Central zone, noted that when all the 59 lawmakers on the platform of the ruling party, excluding the principal officers, had been sorted, the People Democratic Party and other minority parties would find their way around the rest.

The source also stated that even some principal officers would not be left out of the headship of committees.

The lawmaker specifically pointed out that Bamidele and Ndume as principal officers and were made vice-chairmen of Appropriations and Public Accounts committees, which buttressed his point that every member of the APC would be treated well.

The source stated, “The remaining committees will be announced on Thursday, July 27, which is going to be the last plenary day before we go on our usual long vacation.

“All the 59 APC senators will chair one committee or the other. Once we are all settled, the PDP and the other opposition parties can now have the rest. That is the plan on the ground.

“We know that all the APC lawmakers will get something; we are not just sure of who gets what.”

Another lawmaker from the South-East stated that on the issue of committee chairmanship, the APC would be fair to all, but priority would be given to lawmakers from the ruling party.

He said, “The party will be fair to all, but top priority will be given to lawmakers from the ruling party.

“Whether you are in Yari or Akpabio’s camp, everyone will get a good share. The rest can then be given to the opposition parties.”

Reps official cars

Also in the House of Representatives, the Speaker, Tajudeen Abbas, will name the committees and their chairmen on Thursday.

It was also learnt that members would be given their official cars once the standing committees were constituted.

Some of the juicy committees are Appropriations, Army, Defence, Navy, FCT, Finance, Public, Air Force, Police Affairs and Niger Delta Development Commission, among others.

Abbas had two days after his emergence as Speaker announced the constitution of seven special committees.

While announcing the leadership and membership of the transition committees at the close of plenary last Thursday, Abbas noted that they would be in place “for a period of time pending the time when we constitute proper committees.”

The Speaker explained that the ad hoc committees “will assist in the running of this House until such a time when proper committees will be constituted.”

Chairmen and members of the panels were drawn from the ruling APC and three out of the seven opposition parties in the House, namely the PDP, LP and the New Nigeria People’s Party.

The committees include Internal Security headed by Mohammed Danjuma, Selection chaired by the Speaker himself, and Media led by Buka Ibrahim.

Others are the Legislative Agenda Committee chaired by Prof Julius Ihonbvare; Rules and Business Committee led by Igariwey Iduma; Welfare Committee headed by Wale Raji; and Ethics and Privileges Committee chaired by Tunji Olawuyi.

Khadijat Buka-Abba, who heads the ad hoc committee on Media and Publicity, had on July 12 during an interactive session with journalists, lamented that she would not want to come back as the chairman when the Speaker finally unveils the standing committees.

Lawmakers in the Green chamber said they were in the dark as to who gets what.

PDP lawmakers helpless

Meanwhile, senators in the PDP have lamented what they refer to as the level of injustice they are suffering in the 10th Assembly.

The lawmakers noted that their situation was worse because the party was not there to come to their aid.

They stated that in the choice of the Senate Minority Leader, the PDP was relegated.

A senator from the North-East said, “The PDP lawmakers are very helpless in this administration of the 10th Assembly.

“Public Accounts committee was given to the Social Democratic Party that has just two members. This has never happened before,” he stated.

The lawmakers lamented that the PDP was no longer active as individuals were only fighting for themselves.

He said, “There is no PDP anymore; we can’t collectively do anything anymore, because there is no party to back us. Individuals are only fighting for themselves.

“Some have even taken over, calling themselves the ‘new generation lawmakers’; these are those who came from the House of Reps.

“They are so lawless; in fact, they have turned the Senate upside down. Our rules are no longer respected. It is such a sad thing.”

Another PDP lawmaker told our correspondent that the likelihood of the party surviving was very slim.

The lawmaker noted that even the National Working Committee of the party had been so penetrated that it was like it was being run by the former Rivers State governor, Nyesom Wike.

The lawmaker said, “Wike has taken over the PDP, nobody will fight for us. We are now being treated anyhow by Akpabio and his men.

“No PDP lawmaker will like to talk to you so as not to be used as a scapegoat. Our minority leader is subservient to the majority; we don’t have a party to fight for us.

“As it is now, we are like sheep without a shepherd.”


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