Crisis Hits Reps Over Committee Sharing | Independent Newspapers Limited
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Crisis Hits Reps Over Committee Sharing

Posted: Oct 27, 2015 at 8:56 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)
….Ex-Minority Whip Rejects Committee Offered by Dogara
…He’s Been Replaced Immediately – House Spokesman
The first sign of crisis in the House of Representatives following the sharing of committees in the House emerged on Tuesday when a former member of the body of Principal Officers of the parliament openly rejected the committee chairmanship allocated to him by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Dogara had last Thursday announced the constitution of the committees of the house as he increased the house committee from 89 to 97 ostensibly to take care of the interest of people who assisted him in winning the seat in the contest against Femi Gbajabiamila who was the chosen candidate of the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the seat.
Dogara in reading out the list of committees membership virtually conceded all the “grade A” committees to the members of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) who gave him their bloc votes during the June 9 election, giving him a slim victory over Gbajabiamila.
While speculations of possible crisis in the House began to fly less than 24 hours after the list was announced,  the immediate past Deputy Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Garba Mohammed Datti set the ball rolling as he openly announced his rejection of the committee chairmanship given to him by Dogara.
He was announced as the chairman of the Committee on Solid Minerals.
In openly rejecting the committee chairmanship Hon. Datti, a former Principal Officer in the 7th House under Tambuwal alleged negligence on the part of the House leadership saying that he was not consulted before being named as a committee chairman.
Returning to the 8th House as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Datti had during Tuesday plenary session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuf Lasun, raised a point of order bothering on matters of privilege and personal explanations, after which he said he was withdrawing from the chairmanship of the committee, but was noted by Lasun.
The lawmaker who staged a walkout just after the incident however explained that his action was not based on any grievances, as he pledged his loyalty and support for the current leadership of the House, but rather on his “principled disposition” as a democrat.
The House leadership according to the chairman, committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrasak Sa’ad Namdas, has subsequently replaced Hon. Garba Datti with another APC lawmaker from Kaduna, Hon. Samaila Suleiman, a first-timer representing Kaduna North Federal Constituency.
Namdas confirmed the replacement of Hon. Datti without actually disclosing who took the decision to replace the want-out lawmaker as Speaker, Yakubu Dogara is yet to return from his pilgrimage to Israel.
Speaker Dogara had on Thursday last week named over 90 standing and special committees for the House, coming after weeks of apprehension, saying that the action was based  on the need to comply with the revised standing orders of the lower chamber of the National Assembly as well as the federal character.
Speaking outside the chamber, Hon. Datti said: “I feel as a former principal officer, I should have been consulted before my name was announced. I just heard of it on the floor. And I have my own principles. I have decided on my own to withdraw as the chairman of that committee”, he stated.
Responding to further prompting on other possible issues leading to his action, Datti who represents Sabon Gari Federal Constituency of Kaduna state further explained that his withdrawal as was a personal decision and not as a result of any external influence or considerations.
Also on why he did not decline the appointment immediately after his name was announced last Thursday, Datti said: “I have to find out what happened first before I took my decision. And it is only today (yesterday) that the approval has been given. For that reason, I decided to withdraw”.
Continuing, he said: “I should have been consulted. If the president wants to appoint his ministers, I think before the announcement he has to consult them.”
He however expressed confidence in the Dogara-led House, adding that  the Speaker was democratically elected by the 360 members of the parliament.
“I don’t have any qualms with the leadership as presently constituted, because the election was democratically done here. The election was done. I am not against anybody but I am against the decision of coming to announce my name without consulting me. That is my reason,” he submitted.