Dogara, Gbajabiamila feud deepens.


The disquiet in the House of Representatives over the leadership of standing committees deepened Tuesday, threatening further, the fragile peace between the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara and his main challenger, Femi Gbajabiamila.

In a protest letter from the House Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila to the Speaker, he accused Dogara of sidelining him in the selection process. The letter came ahead of the meeting between the Speaker, chairmen and deputy chairmen of the committees.

Dogara had announced 96 committee chairmen and deputies on October 22 which has drawn reservations from his opponents leading to the resignation of three chairmen so far.
The letter warned against the temptation of not consulting principal officers before composition of House leadership.

In the latter dated October 20 and addressed to the Speaker of the House, the House leader said: “You would recall that I have on several occasions in the last four weeks met with you both at home and your office to get an understanding and appreciation of what was going on with the composition and appointment of chairmen and deputy chairmen of House committees”.

“I did this because of the incessant rumor that same had been composed. From all indications however, it appears that an announcement of chairmen and deputy chairmen is imminent and such may be done this week”

Gbajabiamila further wrote: “Hon. Speaker, I acknowledge your right and prerogative to determine the leadership of the House committees and I intend to work with you after such determination has been made. I intend and have stated on many occasions privately and publicly to work with you for the progress of the House”.

“However, I am constrained at this point to ask that due consideration is given to the provisions of our House Rules Order 7 Rule 10, paragraph (a) of the House rules which states that the speaker “shall in consultation with principal officers, appoint the chairmen and deputy chairmen from among the members on the committee”, Gbajabiamila stressed.

Reminding the Speaker of his role as House leader, Gbajabiamila noted further: “On the role of the majority/House leader: Order 7 Rule 27 (2) c says that the leader of the House shall, liaise with committee chairmen and other functionaries of the House”.

“Hon. Speaker, in the light of the foregoing provisions of our Rules and in line with parliamentary tradition world over, undermining the office of the leader or any other principal officer would not strengthen the legislature or our democracy

“The situation whereby any principal officer whether from the majority or minority party only knows of the appointment referred to above upon announcement on the floor will not augur well for the progress of the House.

“I have taken liberty to write to you on this matter for record purposes and in the hope that every principal office in this House would be given its due as enshrined in our House Rules”

However, to counter the leader’s claims and allegations, the office of the Speaker said Gbajabiamila was actually consulted by the Speaker before the committee appointments were announced.

They cited a notice of meeting of the principal officers dated Wednesday October 21, signed by the Chief of Staff to the Speaker, Hon. Jerry Manwe inviting all principal officers and acknowledged by all.

The agenda of the meeting according to the notice letter was “communication of the appointment of chairmen and deputy chairmen of the House”

A close ally of the House leader however dismissed the documents noting that “the meeting of principal officers, which was billed for 9am on 22nd of October before the commencement of plenary at 11am did not hold but the Speaker went ahead and announced the appointments on the floor of the chambers”

According to him: The speaker never wanted the meeting to hold but just called for it because the House leader had earlier written to him so he just wanted to put that on record”

Meanwhile, at the speakers meeting with the chairmen and their deputies, it was gathered that Dogara appealed to those planning to resign to shelve their action because “committee appointment is for service and not pecuniary considerations”

The meeting, which began at about 2.30pm at 0.28 conference hall in the House of Reps wing of the new building lasted two hours.

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