By Tordue Salem
ABUJAâ€” SPEAKER of the House of Representatives, Mr. Dimeji Bankole, yesterday, dropped some committee chairmen and swapped others.
The decision of the Green Chamber helmsman came at a time Vice-President Namadi Sambo was pledging to have a cordial relationship with the National Assembly.
The action might, however, not be unconnected with the row Bankole had, Wednesday, with a member, Mr. Independence Ogunewe, which almost degenerated into a physical assault between the two, but for the timely intervention of other members who were around.
Responding to questions from journalists over the reshuffled committees, spokesman of the House, Eseme Eyiboh, however, denied any link between the minor shake-up and the altercation between Bankole and Ogunewe.
He described the action as a routine exercise by the House which was usually based on performance of the committees, geographical consideration in line with the federal character principle, as well as the subsisting structure of the House.
The reshuffling was effected even as the House adopted the 40 amendment clauses to the 1999 Constitution.
Bankole announced before the close of plenary that â€œthose committees which new chairmen and deputies are not announced yet would be announced in due course.â€
Those consumed by the new development include the former Chairman, Intra and Inter-party Relations Committee, Gbenga Oduwaiye, and former Deputy Chairman of Niger Delta Committee, Gbenga Onigbogi. Also dropped were Kayode Amusan and Asita Honourable Asita, former deputy chairmen of Housing and Habitat and Anti-corruption respectively.
Patrick Ikhariale is now chairman of the House Committee on Power, which had been without a leader since the ouster of Ndudi Elumelu over the controversial power probe report, while Yakubu Dogara was moved from the committee on Customs to that of House Services.
Similarly, Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, who was former chairman of the Committee on Capital Market and Institutions was moved to the Information Committee, while Khadijat Bukar Abba Ibrahim is now Chairman Committee on Privatisation and Commercialisation.
Others include Onyema Chukwuma, Works; M. C. Tahir, Army; Amal Kura, Housing; Mr. Faruk Abdulahi Umar, Customs; Chinedu Elemunor, Cooperation and Integration in Africa.
Umar Buba Jibrin was moved to Capital Market and Institutions, while the former Deputy Chairman, Poverty Alleviation, Rufus Omeire took over as leader of the committee on Intra and Inter-party Relations.
Using electronic voting process, 250 members of the House okayed passage of the Bill for an Act to alter certain provisions of the 1999 Constitution, while two voted â€œnoâ€ and three members abstained. Bankole, after the voting to pass the Senate-House harmonised version announced that the report would be forwarded to the 36 state Houses of Assembly for ratification.
Sambo hosts NASS members
Meantime, Vice-President Namadi Sambo has pledged to have a cordial relationship with the National Assembly.
Sambo gave the assurance when he hosted, in his Aguda House residence on Wednesday, senators and members of the House of Representatives from the North-West zone, led by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Bankole, to a cocktail dinner, as part of efforts towards fostering cordial relations between the two arms of government.
Sambo also expressed delight in the acceptance of his invitation by the legislature and thanked them for confirming his nomination as Vice-President, adding â€œI have no words to express my appreciation.â€