Gbaja mulls 5 new committees – Reps

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Reporters gathered that barring any last minute change of plans, no fewer than five new standing committees would be added to the existing 96 standing committees.

If the move to establish new committees in the House scales through, there would be, at least, 101 standing committees in the Ninth House, to accommodate more interests in the chairmanship and deputy chairmanship of House committees.

A source said the Ad hoc Committee on Selection has already recommended creation of   Committees on Institutional Reforms, Internal Security, North East Development Commission (NEDC), Oil Communities and Development Partners.

Lawmakers from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) have intensified lobby to head committees and they are allegedly doing all within their powers to push their individual cases and ensure they align properly with the power brokers in the House.

In the run-up to the inauguration of the House on June 11, Gbajabiamila had allegedly  promised committee chairmanship to several lawmakers; to win their support for the speakership contest.

Top among the committees allegedly used to woo lawmakers was the Appropriations Committee.

In fulfilment of the promise, another source said the speaker has already offered the chairmanship of the Appropriations Committee to a lawmaker from Borno State.

The lawmaker, who is an ally of the immediate past speaker, Yakubu Dogara, had openly identified with Gbajabiamila in the contest for the speakership, against Umar Bago, who was the preferred choice of the former speaker; as his successor.

Regardless, there are indications that this may put Gbajabiamila on collision course with APC lawmakers who are insisting that key committees, including Appropriations,  should be ceded to states that did not produce principal officers, and not Borno, which has  already produced the chief whip, Tahir Monguno.

Aside Borno, other states with principal officers in the majority party are Lagos (speaker),  Plateau (deputy speaker), Kano (House  leader), Edo (deputy House leader) and Abia (deputy chief whip).

Sources said lawmakers are angry that some of those being penciled for prime committees are those who allegedly joined the Gbajabiamila campaign train at the last minute.

Amidst concerns that committee appointments may trigger a crisis in the House, a member of the House Ad-hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Julius Ihonvbere, told reporters he is not aware that the speaker promised anybody anything, with regards to chairmanship of committees.

He said: ”Well, I have worked with Gbaja, I campaigned  for him with all my might;  he never promised me anything. And, if a promise is made to you and you don’t get it, it will not be the first time in political history, in the world. Even in America that we try to copy. It will not be the first time.

“There are 360 of us. We don’t have 360 committee chairmen available. We have chairman, we have deputy, we have members. So, for me, I think everyone should wait and let the list come out. You cannot go to court, because you were not given a committee (chairmanship). There is  no bubble that will burst anywhere.”

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“I expect, as Gbaja said,  we will put round pegs in round holes. We will look at experience, exposure, ranking, ability to deliver, provide leadership, your understanding of the basic requirements, and I am sure he will do the right thing. I have full confidence that he will do the right thing.

“And, he has the capacity to speak, if at all he made promises  to people and based on what he now knows, and what he now sees, he cannot fulfil it, he has the capacity to talk to the person, and say based on what I said,  it is not working and this is the best I can do for you,” Ihonvbere added.

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