The leadership of the Nigerian Senate and House of Representatives have allegedly conceded 50 per cent of the Chairmanship slots of various Committees in the two chambers to lawmakers elected on the opposition platforms.
Consequently, major opposition platforms, especially Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and Young Peoples Party (YPP) are to pick 50 per cent of the Chairmanship positions of the various Committees, leaving the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) with the remaining 50 per cent.
Godswill Akpabio and Tajudeen Abbas, had allegedly sealed the deal with the opposition lawmakers on getting half of the Committee Chairmanship slots ahead of their elections on June 13, and the sharing formula would touch on the various categories of Committees, designated as Grades A, B and C.
However, minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Kingsley Chinda, is said to have announced this to members of the minority caucus at a meeting within the National Assembly Complex, that Abbas renewed his commitment to honour the deal.
Though, the move was meant to serve as a measure of reward for the support from the opposition lawmakers and also to provide stability valves for the new leadership.
It was learnt that the 50-50 arrangement was also meant to douse palpable tension in the National Assembly, especially in the Senate where Akpabio battled strong and fierce opposition to emerge. Though, creating discomfort and disquiet in the APC, especially in the majority caucus of the Senate and House of Representatives.
“The leaders of both chambers, Senator Godswill Akpabio and Speaker Tajudeen Abbas, had this arrangement with the opposition lawmakers before their elections”.
“We thought it was just a gimmick to lure the opposition lawmakers to vote for them before the election but surprisingly Senator Akpabio and Rt. Hon. Abbas has at different meetings with the opposition caucus after their elections, renewed their commitment to honour the agreement”.
“This arrangement cuts across all categories of committees. It means APC will share grades A, B and C Committees with them at equal proportion. It is an unfair arrangement to those of us from the ruling party”.
Rt. Hon. Kingsley Chinda, after a plenary briefed on recent developments in the House, especially his recent meetings with the Honourable Speaker, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, as it affects our wellbeing and the fate of the members of the minority caucus in the scheme of things.
“Chinda said the minority caucus should work in harmony with the government for things that are good and in the public interest. He stated that the leadership of the House had no choice than to carry every member along since there was no contest in the election of June 13th. Consequently, since everyone voted for him, Mr Speaker has offered to carry everyone along.”
“That it will be 50 per cent for the majority of APC and 50 per cent for the minority. That was his promise to us before we supported his election and we are glad that he has renewed that commitment and expressed his readiness to keep that promise”.
“The minority leader also said that every 360 members, excluding those to be appointed into the appropriation committee, will either emerge as chairman or vice chairman in the emerging dispensation in the House. Clearly, he said anyone who finds himself in the appropriation committee will not serve as chairman or vice chairman in any other committee”.
“He said the elimination of members of the appropriation committee, which is a major grade A committee, is meant to create opportunities for more members to emerge as either chairman or vice chairman of the various committees”.
“To further brighten the chances of more members to clinch either chairman or vice chairman of a committee, all parliamentary friendly bodies, including inter-parliamentary, are to be upgraded to committee levels, primarily to satisfy everybody”.