- Category: Politics
- Published on Friday, 04 June 2010 07:57
- Written by Next
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Barely 24 hours after his public brawl with a trenchant opponent, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, yesterday sacked the chairmen and deputy chairmen of some standing committees in the House and reassigned others.
Mr Bankole had on Wednesday been involved in a scuffle with his colleague, Independence Ogunewe, and it took the intervention of other members to stop the duo from coming to blows. Mr Ogunewe is said to have consistently opposed the Speaker since 2009 when Mr Bankole removed him from the chairmanship of the Aviation committee.
Those sacked include Gbenga Oduwaiye (chairman, Inter/Intra Party Affairs); Kayode Amusan (deputy chairman, Housing and Habitat); Gbenga Onigbogi (deputy chairman, Ministry of Niger Delta) and Asita Honourable (deputy chairman, Poverty Alleviation).
Both Messrs Oduwaiye and Amusan, like the Speaker, come from Ogun State but they are said to be strong supporters of the state governor,
Gbenga Daniel with whom the Speaker has had a running political battle. Mr Oduwaiye was removed as chairman of Committee on Foreign Affairs in 2008.
The new chairmen include Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Privatisation and Commercialization); Chinedu Eluemonor (Cooperation and Integration); Patrick Ikhariale (Power); Umar Jubrin (Capital Market) and Onyema Chukwuka (Works). Others are Rufus Omeire (Inter/Intra Party Affairs) and Mohammed Tahir (Army).
Those redeployed are Mohammed Al'Makura, who moved from House Services to Urban Development; Abdullahi Umar Farouk from Urban Development to Customs and Excise; Aliyu Wadada from Capital Market to Information and National Orientation; and Yakubu Dogara from Customs and Excise to House Services.
Mr Bankole said the reconstitution of the committees will continue at a later date.
A surprise move
The exercise came only a day after Mr Bankole held a two hour closed-door meeting with the chairmen and deputy chairmen of the 84 standing committees. He reportedly assured them that although the leadership of some committees deserved to be overhauled for efficiency, he was not committed to carrying out the exercise.
Members were therefore shocked when he announced the new changes at the end of the plenary yesterday.
However, on March 31 this year, the leadership of the House had announced that it will appoint new heads for some committees.
The deputy speaker, Usman Nafada said at the end of that day's plenary that the Selection Committee, which includes all principal officers, would be called back during the recess to consider those to be appointed chairmen and deputy chairmen of the vacant committees.
"Let me inform members of the Selection Committee that their attention may be needed during the break for the reconstitution of the committees lying vacant. The leadership and membership of the committees may be reconstituted during the break. So, they (members of the Selection Committee) may be asked to come back for this purpose," the deputy speaker had said.
Although he did not name the committees, those without chairmen then were Information and National Orientation, Power, Privatisation and Commercialization, Lake Chad, Women in Parliament, Cooperation and Integration in Africa and Works. Their chairmen had either resigned, died or were removed.
Yesterday's exercise was the second time Mr Bankole would reconstitute standing committees since he assumed office in November 2007. He had, on October 9, 2008, reconstituted the 72 committees he inherited from his predecessor, Patricia Etteh. He had dissolved them on July 31, 2008.
During the 2008 exercise, he raised the number of the committees to 84 - apparently to compensate members of the Integrity Group who played a major role in his emergence as Speaker.
The composition, among the parties, showed that out of the 84 committees, PDP got 74 chairmanship slots; ANPP 7 and PPA 1. The Labour Party (LP) is the only party that did not secure any committee chair. Nine percent of the former chairmen and deputy chairmen were dropped, while 27 per cent were new chairmen and deputies and 60 percent were redeployed from the different committees to others. Six percent of them retained their seats as chairmen but not necessarily of the committees they headed before.