- Category: Politics
- Published on Wednesday, 04 May 2011 09:22
- Written by Admin
- Hits: 962
Over 260 members of the House of Representatives will not return in June when the Seventh Session of the National Assembly will be inaugurated. Out of the number, seven won election into the Senate. The remaining 253 members lost out during their parties primaries and the general elections.
With their failure to secure re-relection into the House, they have therefore bid bye to the monthly jumbo salary of N10.59m paid each of them from the public treasury.
The jumbo pay excludes allowances and other perquisites not listed as salary but which each legislator is believed to be getting from the public purse.
Comparatively, an Indian lawmaker needs to work for 34 years to earn what a member of the House of Representatives earns annually.
In a short address to welcome lawmakers from recess, Bankole congratulated those who were re-elected, but consoled the losers.
He said, “According to the figures made available by the Independent National Electoral Commission, about 100 serving members will return for the next legislative session.
“That is between 26 to 27 per cent (of members). Those who lost in the election, take it in good faith as the wish of God.”
Incidentally, Bankole and his Deputy, Alhaji Usman Nafada, are among the major losers. Nafada vied for the seat of the governor of Gombe State but failed.
Bankole, who represents Abeokuta South Federal Constituency, was defeated by the candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria during the National Assembly election.
Two other principal officers— the Majority Leader, Mr. Tunde Akogun and the Deputy Leader, Alhaji Baba-Shehu Agaie— also failed in their bid to be re-elected.
Out of the 260 who are not returning to the House, about seven of them won election into the Senate.
They are Abdul Ningi (Bauchi); Mr. Ita Enang (Akwa Ibom); Clever Ikisikpo (Bayelsa); Mr. Gilbert Nnaji (Enugu); Philip Aduda (FCT); Paulinus Igwe (Ebonyi State); and Mohammed Ndume (Borno). They are all members of the Peoples Democratic Party. In 2007, about 80 lawmakers returned from the 2003 set.
Bankole also commended INEC for successfully conducting the general elections in spite of the initial hitches that were recorded.
He said,” Although fraught with irregularities as well as the initial setbacks, the elections were adjudged by many observers, domestic and foreign, to be successful, with room for improvement.
“The electorate exhibited (though) an uncommon sense of commitment and enthusiasm, and must be commended for their faith in the democratic process.”
The speaker observed that the task before the House was to speed up the passage of pending bills and reports before May 29.
He challenged his colleagues to “work harder in order to fast-track their consideration and passage.”
Bankole listed the Petroleum Industry Bill and the bill to Review the Evidence Act as two of the most important bills requiring urgent consideration.
Findings showed on Tuesday that there were over 300 bills awaiting consideration by the House. Incidentally, the House has only 11 sittings days left before May 29.
It was learnt that the House would have to pass at least 27 bills in each of the remaining sitting days to exhaust the pending bills/reports, a fit considered by observers to be impossible.
Earlier on Monday, the Chairman of the House Committee on Rules and Business, Mr. Ita Enang, hinted that the House would “prioritise” the bills by giving attention to the most relevant.
Meanwhile, indications have emerged in Abuja that the South-West might still be allowed to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Our correspondents learnt on Tuesday that the leadership of the PDP and the Presidency were favourably disposed to the zone producing a successor to the current Speaker, Mr. Dimeji Bankole.
However, members of the House from the South-East have commenced intense lobby to occupy the position, which is ranked fourth in the political hierarchy of Nigeria.
The PDP source, however, said since the party was still considering maintaining the current zoning formula, it would be out of place to say the South-West would not produce the Speaker.
He added that although the party did not do well during the National Assembly elections, it was still able to produce “about four members of the House from the zone who were re-elected.”
The source argued that the fact that Bankole lost his re-election bid did not in anyway mean that the office which he currently occupied would be taken away from the zone.
The NWC member said, “The office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives was zoned to the South-West, in the same manner the office of the Senate President is zoned to the North-Central and therefore the defeat of Bankole as a member of the House of Representatives will not alter the zoning arrangement in the top political offices in the National Assembly.”
The PDP top shot added that the leadership of the party was of the opinion that if the South-West was not accommodated, the zone, which is now in the firm grip of the Action Congress of Nigeria , might be completely lost by the PDP even in 2015.
The party, he said, was of the opinion that the new speaker from the zone would be in the position to be the rallying force of the party in the zone.
He said, “We lost the election in the South-West and therefore taking away the office of the Speaker of the House of Representatives because of this, would automatically mean abandoning the zone to the ACN. This certainly will not be in the interest of the PDP.
“The South-West means a lot to the party and it is our belief that the office of the Speaker should be retained, to serve as a rallying point for the PDP in the zone.”
It was also learnt that the South-East is to produce the Secretary to the Government of the Federation in addition to the Deputy Senate President.
If the party goes ahead to retain the current zoning of political offices, the North-Central will retain the office of the president of the Senate, which is currently occupied by Senator David Mark.
Under the new arrangement, it was learnt that the next national chairman of the party would come from the North-East, because the North-West, where the incumbent chairman comes from, has already produced the vice-president.
Meanwhile, two prominent members of the House from Imo State, Mr. Emeka Ihedioha, and Mr. Bethel Amadi, have begun subtle moves to get the attention of fellow members of the House for their ambition to become the Speaker.
While Ihedioha is the current Chief Whip in the House, Amadi is the First Vice-President of the Pan-African Parliament and the Chairman of the House Committee on Aviation.
Amadi was also the former Chief Whip of the House under the speakership of Mrs. Olubunmi Etteh.
Apart from speaking to old members, it was learnt that they have also made contacts with new members, who are expected to form the bulk of the lower chamber as soon as the current House is disbanded. (Punch)