Abuja – Some loyalists of the Leader of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila on Monday boycotted the inauguration of Standing Committees of the House as they faulted the Committee Chairmanship distribution formula.
Speaking on behalf of the loyalists after a meeting which lasted for more than six hours in Abuja, Rep. Musa Adar (Sokoto-APC), said the distribution formula was not acceptable to them.
Adar said the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara skewed the distribution of the committees in favour of opposition parties.
According to him, the composition of the chairmen and deputy chairmen of committees is a clear manifestation of the maginalisation of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Adar said the majority Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in the 7th Assembly got 71 per cent share of the committees, while minority parties got 26 out of the 89 committees.
“Which underscores the fact that minority got only 29 per cent share of the committees.
“Under Dogara, the majority APC got 50 per cent share of the committees, same with the PDP and other minority parties which equally got 50 per cent.
“No legislature in the world had ever shared mitteescom on 50:50 bases between the majority and the minority.
“There must be clear cut margin between majority and minority parties as was done in previous assemblies’’, the lawmaker said.
He further said that the distribution formula of the committees was calculated to sabotage the majority advantage of the APC, “with the ultimate goal of rolling back the electoral victory of our party.’’
According to him, committees on Petroleum, Works, Gas, Foreign Affairs, Banking, Information Technology, Aviation, Nigerian Ports and Waterways which are crucial to the success of President Muhammadu Buhari’s Change agenda was given to PDP.
“What is the motive behind such undemocratic move, is it to derail the Change Agenda of President Buhari to ease their ungodly marriage with PDP ahead of 2019?’’, he added.
The Gbajabiamila loyalists in attendance at the meeting were; Reps. Aliyu Madaki, Musa Adar, Ayo Omidiran, Phillip Shaibu, Sunday Adepoju and 20 others.
However, members of the same support group such as Reps. Mohammed Monguno, Samil Sulieman and Rufai Chanchangi participated at the inauguration ceremony as Committee Chairmen of Agriculture and Solid minerals and Deputy Chairman of Customs and Excise Duties respectively.
While inaugurating the committees, the Speaker said the inauguration of all the committees at once was borne out of the need for them to hit the ground running.
Dogara also stated that the decision was necessary to save cost and reduce legislative time that may be spent in inaugurating the committees piecemeal.
“Some commentators have decried the large number of committees as being unwieldy and non-cost effective. This criticism even though, apparently well intentioned, misses the point.
“Experience gained from the operation of committees since 1999, shows that some committees’ functions and mandates are very wide indeed and cannot be effectively supervised and over sighted by a single committee.
“For instance, the House split the committee on education into two, namely: Basic Education and Services and Tertiary Education and Services.
“The old Committee on Education had a mandate to oversight the budget and policy issues of the following institutions”.
According to him, creation of many committees are not only to ensure value for money but also to ensure that laws and policies are implemented faithfully.
“The need also of more effective and efficient legislative oversight activities also informed this action.
“This reasoning also informed the splitting of other committees, like Health which has about 150 institutions. Agriculture Committee was also split for the same reason.
“There is merit sometimes in setting up specific committees to handle specific problems’’, Dogara stated.
It will be recalled that Gbajabiamila had in a letter to Dogara protested against not being carried along in the formation process of leadership of various committees in the House. (NAN)