House c’ttees: Be­tween bal­anc­ing and re­ward for loy­alty

Daily Trust - - INSIDE POLITICS - By Musa Ab­dul­lahi Kr­ishi

On Thurs­day, Oc­to­ber 22, Speaker of the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Yakubu Dog­ara an­nounced the chair­men and deputies of 95 out of 96 stand­ing com­mit­tees in what ap­peared like re­ward for loy­alty to those that sup­ported him to be­come speaker.

The an­nounce­ment of the com­mit­tees came more than four months af­ter the House was in­au­gu­rated. The com­po­si­tion of the com­mit­tees as an­nounced by Dog­ara showed that his party, the All Pro­gres­sives Congress (APC) got the chair­man­ship of 48, the main op­po­si­tion Peo­ples Demo­cratic Party (PDP) got 45, while both the So­cial Demo­cratic Party (SDP) and the All Pro­gres­sives Grand Al­liance (APGA) got one each.

From the com­po­si­tion, it ap­peared that it was a 50/50 af­fair be­tween the rul­ing APC (48) and the op­po­si­tion par­ties led by the PDP (47). The one com­mit­tee whose chair­man was not an­nounced, Niger Delta af­fairs com­mit­tee, is usu­ally the ex­clu­sive pre­serve of the PDP, so in the end, it might be that op­po­si­tion par­ties will also have 48.

Be­fore the cur­rent 8th House, the op­po­si­tion par­ties never had it so good. In fact, dur­ing the ten­ure of Aminu Waziri Tam­buwal as speaker, the op­po­si­tion par­ties com­bined got about 20 com­mit­tees’ chair­man­ship, de­spite the mas­sive sup­port they gave to Tam­buwal.

Tam­buwal, un­like Dog­ara, de­feated his chal­lenger then, also of the PDP, Mu­likat Akan­deAde­ola on June 6, 2011 with 252 to 90 votes, in a House that had about 240 PDP mem­bers back then, while op­po­si­tion par­ties had about 120 al­to­gether. The mar­gin be­tween Tam­buwal and Akan­deAde­ola was 162.

Thus, an­a­lysts say that while Tam­buwal did what he did be­cause ma­jor­ity of his then PDP col­leagues sup­ported him and con­sid­er­ing the mar­gin be­tween him and his op­po­nent, the same can­not be said of Dog­ara.

When Dog­ara be­came speaker on June 9, he did so thanks to the over­whelm­ing sup­port he got from PDP mem­bers, de­feat­ing the pre­ferred can­di­date of his party, the APC and now House leader, Femi Gba­jabi­amila.

Dog­ara polled 182 votes to Gba­jabi­amila’s 174. The mar­gin be­tween them was 8 votes, and it is be­lieved that apart from the sup­port Dog­ara got from few of his 214 APC col­leagues, all the 140 PDP mem­bers in the House voted for him as di­rected by the op­po­si­tion party’s na­tional lead­er­ship few hours to the con­test.

Con­se­quently, an­a­lysts be­lieve that should Dog­ara not re­ward his PDP sup­port­ers with com­mit­tee chair­man­ship, the ag­grieved ones among them could go into al­liance with Gba­jabi­amila’s sup­port­ers to give him trou­ble or pos­si­bly oust him. To this set of an­a­lysts, giv­ing PDP law­mak­ers 45 com­mit­tees to head was a po­lit­i­cally ex­pe­di­ent move from Dog­ara. Not only did PDP mem­bers get com­mit­tees, but they suc­ceeded in at­tract­ing more than 20 com­mit­tees termed as juicy.

Dog­ara also re­warded most of his APC loy­al­ists, who risked se­ri­ous sanc­tion from the party by sup­port­ing him, with grade ‘A’ com­mit­tees.

Ex­pect­edly, how­ever, about 90 per­cent of those that stuck their neck out in sup­port of Gba­jabi­amila did not get com­mit­tee chair­man­ship or deputy po­si­tions.

Among the juicy com­mit­tees given to PDP are agri­cul­tural col­leges and in­sti­tu­tions, Li­nus Oko­rie; air­force, Sam­son Okwu; army, Rima Shawulu; avi­a­tion, Nkiruka Onye­jeocha; bank­ing and cur­rency, Jones Ony­ereri; cap­i­tal mar­kets and in­sti­tu­tions, Ta­jud­deen Yusuf; FERMA, Jerry Ala­gaoso; gas resources, Agbedi Fred­er­ick; health in­sti­tu­tions, Betty Api­afi; NDDC, Ni­cholas Mutu, petroleum resources (down­stream), Akin­laja Joseph; petroleum (up­stream) Vic­tor Nwokolo.

As for the APC, Dog­ara’s sup­port­ers that got grade ‘A’ com­mit­tees in­clude Ibrahim Ba­bangida Mahuta, fi­nance; Ab­dul­mu­min Jib­rin, ap­pro­pri­a­tion; Zakari Mo­hammed, ba­sic ed­u­ca­tion and ser­vices; James Abio­dun Faleke, cus­toms and ex­cise; Aminu Suleiman, ter­tiary ed­u­ca­tion and ser­vices; Mukhtar Be­tara, defence; Her­man Hembe, FCT; Ahmed Idris Wase, fed­eral char­ac­ter; Aminu Shehu Sha­gari, fed­eral ju­di­ciary; Jagaba Adams Jagaba, in­te­rior; Razak Atunwa, Jus­tice and Amin Sani Isa, land trans­port.

Other grade ‘A’ com­mit­tees al­lo­cated to APC are mar­itime safety, ed­u­ca­tion and ad­min­is­tra­tion, Mo­hammed Umar Bago; navy, Ab­dulsa­mad Da­suki; pen­sions, Has­san Adamu Sheka­rau; po­lice af­fairs, Haliru Dauda Jika; pri­va­ti­za­tion and com­mer­cial­iza­tion, Ahmed Yarima; Nasiru Ba­balle Ila, House ser­vices; Mustapha Bala Dawaki, hous­ing; and Aliyu Ba­hago Ah­madPategi, wa­ter resources.

Based on the chair­man­ship list, those that got com­mit­tee chair­man­ship among Gba­jabi­amila’s sup­port­ers prior to the June 9 con­test are Monguno; Adeyinka Ajayi (aides, loans and debts); Akin­loye Baba­jide Hazeez (anti-cor­rup­tion); Pe­ter Ak­pata­son (civil so­ci­eties and de­vel­op­ment part­ners); James Faleke (cus­toms and ex­cise); Mo­hammed Sani Zorro (IDPs, refugees and North-East ini­tia­tives); Olufemi Fak­eye (in­sur­ance and ac­tu­ar­ial mat­ters); Garba Datti Mo­hammed (solid min­er­als de­vel­op­ment); Nasiru Sani Zan­gon Daura (spe­cial du­ties); Yakub Ba­lo­gun (treaties, pro­to­cols and agree­ments) among a few oth­ers.

Sim­i­larly, those ap­pointed deputy chair­men some com­mit­tees among Gba­jabi­amila sup­port­ers in­clude Ab­dul­lahi Idris Garba (agri­cul­tural col­leges and in­sti­tu­tions), Ahmed Ru­fai Chan­changi as of (cus­toms and ex­cise), Aminu Ashiru Mani (com­merce), Baba­jimi Ben­son (del­e­gated leg­is­la­tion), Mun­tari Dan­dutse (FCT ju­di­ciary), Ibrahim Abubakar Dutse (for­eign af­fairs), Diya Oye­wole Babafemi (in­ter­par­lia­men­tary re­la­tions), Mu­nir Baba Dana­gundi (labour, em­ploy­ment and pro­duc­tiv­ity), Nasiru Ali Ahmed (Niger Delta af­fairs), As­abe Vilita Bashir (women in par­lia­ment) among oth­ers.

Most staunch sup­port­ers of Gba­jabi­amila such as Aliyu Sani Madaki, Ahmed Babba Kaita, Dr Sani Muham­mad Abdu, Ayo Omidi­ran, Khamisu Mailan­tarki, Ab­dul­lahi Balarabe Salame, Abubakar Lado Suleja, Dick­son Do­minic, Philip Shuaibu, Muham­mad Gu­daji Kaza­ure, Dan­bu­ram Abubakar Nuhu, Fa­murewa Is­rael Aji­bola among many oth­ers were not given either chair­man or deputy of any com­mit­tee.

De­spite the above, how­ever, it was ob­served that Dog­ara main­tained some re­gional bal­ance in the al­lo­ca­tion of the com­mit­tees ir­re­spec­tive of po­lit­i­cal par­ties.

For ex­am­ple, while com­mit­tees such as fi­nance, ap­pro­pri­a­tion, ed­u­ca­tion, agri­cul­tural ser­vices and pro­duc­tion, cap­i­tal mar­ket and in­sti­tu­tions, army, navy, defence, ju­di­ciary, House ser­vices, in­te­rior, rules and busi­ness etcetera went to the three re­gions in the North, oth­ers such as petroleum (up­stream and down­stream,), pub­lic ac­counts, works, NDDC, power, pub­lic pe­ti­tions, lo­cal con­tent, health in­sti­tu­tions, for­eign af­fairs, gas resources, FERMA, financial crimes, avi­a­tion, cli­mate change, among oth­ers went to the South-east, South-south and South-west.

But re­act­ing to the is­sue, the newly ap­pointed chair­man of the House com­mit­tee on me­dia and pub­lic­ity Ab­dul­razak Saad Nam­das said there was fair­ness and bal­ance to ev­ery­body and all sec­tions of the coun­try in the chair­man­ship of the com­mit­tees.

From the com­mit­tees’ list, it was fur­ther ob­served that about eight mem­bers re­tained their com­mit­tee chair­man­ship from the pre­vi­ous 7th House. They are Monguno (agri­cul­ture); Aminu Suleiman (ed­u­ca­tion) Jones Ony­ereri (bank­ing and cur­rency); Nkiruka Onye­joecha (avi­a­tion); Aminu Shehu Sha­gari (ju­di­ciary); Nnenna Elendu-Ukeje (for­eign af­fairs); Aliyu Ah­man Pategi (wa­ter resources) and Ni­cholas Mutu (NDDC).

It note­wor­thy to note that the pub­lic ac­counts com­mit­tee, which is the only House com­mit­tee rec­og­nized in the con­sti­tu­tion, is usu­ally headed by an op­po­si­tion law­maker in both the Sen­ate and the House.

But all said and done, ob­servers say there may be some form of sub­tle protest from law­mak­ers that thought they de­serve com­mit­tee chair­man­ship or deputy but were not con­sid­ered.

Speaker Dog­ara

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