Indications have emerged that the All Progressives Congress (APC) members of the House of Representatives have spoken against the spread of the leadership of 96 house committees by Speaker Yakubu Dogara, claiming that he has weakened the party.
It would be recalled that Dogara had on Thursday, 23, 2015 announced that 48 committees were to be chaired by APC lawmakers, 46 for the peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one each for the Social Democratic Party (SDP) and All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA).
According to Premium Times, there is dissatisfactionn among APC legislators, especially those loyal to Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The aggrieved lawmakers claim that Dogara favoured the PDP because the opposition was instrumental in his emergence as speaker, adding that “juicy committees” were clinched by PDP members.
The said committees include: Foreign Affairs, Nnena Elendu-Ukeje (Abia State); Petroleum Resources (downstream) Joseph Akinlaja (Ondo State); Petroleum Resources (upstream), Victor Nwokolo (Delta State); Works, Tobi Okechukwu (Enugu State); Power, Daniel Effiong (Cross River State).
Others are Committees on Army, Navy, Air Force, Ports, Harbours and Waterways, went to the PDP quartet of Rima Kwewum (Taraba), Samson Okwu (Benue State), Abdussamad Dasuki (Sokoto State) and Patrick Asada (Enugu State) respectively.
Asides the alleged bias in favour of PDP, the Gbajabiamila loyalists also claimed that Dogara also favoured his loyalists within the APC caucus citing the example of Abdulmumin Jibrin (Kano), Mohammed Zakari (Kwara), Babangida Ibrahim (Katsina), Nasiru Babale (Kano) and Herman Hembe (Benue) who were given key committees like Appropriations, Basic Education Services, Finance, House Services and Federal Capital Territory respectively.
According to a source who spoke anonymously, Dogara gave only 9 chairmanship positions to members of the Gbajabiamila camp with only the following considered to be “juicy”: Committee on Customs and Excise and Agricultural Production and Services given to James Faleke (Lagos) and Mohammed Monguno (Borno) respectively.
Other committees given to the Gbajabiamila group are committees on Aids and Loans, Adeyinka Ajayi (Osun); Anti-Corruption, jide Akinloye (Lagos); Civil Society, Peter Akpatason (Edo); Financial Crimes, Kayode Oladele (Ogun); Internally Displaced Persons, Sani Zoro (Jigawa); Insurance, Olufemi Fakeye (Osun); Special Duties, Nasiru Daura (Katsina) and Treaties and Protocols (Yakub Balogun).
The source further enthused that the juicy committee handed to Faleke was a mere “smokescreen because they know Faleke would not use the seat” as he is the running mate of the APC gubernatorial candidate in the forthcoming Kogi gubernaorialelection, Audu Abubakar.
Babban Kaita, the member representing Katsina State stressed that the skewed committee headships may affect the smooth-running of the Buhari administration.
He said: “Let’s bring Gbajabiamila group out of this; this is about the difficulty that the APC government of President Buhari will face because of this composition.
“It has never been this bad. Dogara has short-changed his own party, APC, in favour of the PDP. But we are not surprised because that was the agreement they had before he became Speaker. All the critical committees that will play a role in the change mantra of President Muhammadu Buhari have been given to the PDP.
“Petroleum, Upstream and Downstream, Power, Works, Foreign Affairs; these are areas Mr. President would want to turn around in the country but they are conceded to the PDP.
“The composition should be made in consultation with the Principal Officers but none of them was invited. Even Femi Gbajabiamila, the Majority Leader, got to know about it the very day it was going to be announced.”
He went on to add that the PDP members in charge of “critical committees” may sabotage Buhari and his ministers, especially when the opposition had made a rallying charge to its members “to rise against Buhari”.
Echoing the claim was an APC lawmaker from the North East who said: “number one is that Dogara is giving everything to PDP. This is in preparation for 2019. His effort is to revive PDP in 2019 in collaboration with Saraki.”
There is also said to be some grumblings among PDP members from the South West and Ekiti State in particular.
For example Thaddeus Aina, who spoke on behalf of his Ekiti colleagues said: “Ekiti people have spoken; we are not very happy with the outcome.
“We are six in number and they gave us just one slot. It is ratio 1:6. Although we have not seen the entire composition; notwithstanding, morning shows the day.”
Another PDP lawmaker from the South West repeated the claim, stating that: “If you look at it, what came to PDP mostly went to South South and South East.”
Reacting to the allegation, a PDP lawmaker from the South East said: “Well, I am not authorized to speak for the Speaker. But let me say that South West should not complain because they already have Deputy Speaker and Majority Leader.”