Immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, and opponents of the incumbent speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, were among those that lost out as heads of the house standing committees were named yesterday.
Among those named as chairmen and deputy chairmen of Grade A committees are known allies of the speaker, especially from Lagos, Kano and Katsina states.
A breakdown of the list indicates that the All Progressives Congress (APC) got a total of 80 committee chairmen and 63 deputy chairmen, while the major opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) got 20 and 30 deputy chairmen, while the remaining chairmanship and deputy chairmanship positions were shared by the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Action Alliance( AA) and Allied Peoples Movement (APM).
During the campaign for the speakership, Gbajabiamila promised to cede 60 committee chairmanship and deputy chairmanship to the PDP lawmakers, if they support him to emerge as speaker.
But the PDP endorsed his opponent, Umar Bago, ahead of the contest. However, a few PDP members voted for the speaker despite the party’s support for a different candidate.
Surprisingly, the chairmanship of the House Committees Petroleum ( Upstream) and Petroleum (Downstream), which were occupied by Victor Nwokolo and Joseph Akinlaja, from Delta and Ondo state respectively, in the eight assembly were given to Sakin Ader and Mahmud Abdulahi Gaya. Ader and Gaya, who are both from the APC hails from Sokoto and Kano states respectively.
Also, the Director General of the Femi Gbajabiamila Campaign Organisation, Abdulmumin Jibrin did not get any committee chairmanship. Jibrin was the chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the first year of the eight assembly, before he fell out with former speaker, Yakubu Dogara.
Prior to the announcement of the list of committee chairmen, Gbajabiamila appealed to anyone, who might feel offended with the composition to forgive him..
Immediately after the announcement, lawmakers gathered in clusters, apparently to discuss the development. Also, while some walked up to the dais to confer with the speaker, others quietly walked out of the chamber.
Those named as committee chairmen include the deputy speaker, Ahmed Wase, Constitution Review; Muktar Betara , Appropriations; Abdulrasak Namdas, Army; Benjamin Kalu, Media and Public Affairs; Babajimi Benson, Defense; while Umaru Bago, who contested against Gbajabiamila for the speakership position was named as the chairman, House Committee Cooperation and Integration in Africa.
Other committee chairmen are Khadijah Bukar Ibrahim, North East Development Commission (NEDC) and Julius Ihonvbere, Basic Education; James Faleke, Finance; Wale Raji, House Services; Ibrahim Babangida, Capital Markets and Institutions; Garba Datti, Ports and Barbour; Abdulahi Garba, Federal Capital Territory ( FCT) among others.
PDP lawmakers appointed as committee chairmen include: Wole Oke, Public Accounts Committee ( PAC); Lynda Ikpeazu , Maritime, Safety and Education; Nicholas Mutu, Gas Resources, Darlington Nwokocha Insurance.
Also, Onofiok Luke, a former Speaker of Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, is to head Committee on Federal Judiciary. Victor Nwokolo is heading Committee on Banking and Currency, while Beni Lar retained the chairmanship of Science and Technology.
However, Kingsley Chinda and Chukwuma Onyema, who are claimants to the position of minority leader and deputy minority leader respectively, were among PDP members, who did not get committee chairmanship.
While Chinda was the chairman, Public Accounts Committee ( PAC) in the eight assembly, Onyema was the deputy minority leader.
Similarly, another PDP strong member, Tajudeen Yusuf, did not get any committee chairmanship.
Meanwhile, the House , yesterday, adjourned plenary for its annual vacation to resume on September 17, 2019.