By EMMAN OVUAKPORIE
As the Seventh Assembly prepares to round up in less than two years from now, issues that may disrupt its smooth sailing since inception seems to have reared its ugly face from the hiccups in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
If the Speaker of the house of Representatives, Hon Aminu Waziri Tambuwal had been sleeping with one eye closed, now he may have to ensure that he sleeps with both eyes opened.
One of such major issues is the emergence of the new PDP bloc within the House.
The new bloc consisting of mainly young and energetic professionals may turn the House into a war zone as proceedings kick start today.
The bloc that initially had 58 members who on September 3 openly declared for the Alhaji Kawu Baraje led faction of PDP had boasted that by resumption today the number in their fold must have risen to 125 out of the 208 original members of the old PDP bloc.
Drums of war
What this translates into is that debates on the floor of the House in active collaboration with 137 All Progressives Congress, APC may make the House ungovernable by the Tambuwal-led leadership because 262 voices against 98 voices is a clear victory for the new PDP on the floor of the House on any issue.
Tambuwal and his colleagues need to sit tight to hold the fort for Nigerians as the drums of war starts today.
Some Reps who spoke to Vanguard anonymously described the situation as unfortunate. A Rep from one of the North Central states said, “the old PDP had murdered sleep because we are ready to treat all issues based on merit and nothing else.
”On every issue we shall go the extra mile and ensure we screen, scrutinise and plug all loopholes particularly executive bills that are always ill-prepared.
”We will not stop at that we will inch towards changing the present leadership by sweeping all old PDP principal officers from office as we have a clear majority with APC giving us all the necessary support.”
Another Rep from the North West told Vanguard that “most of us tacitly support the mission and aspirations of the new PDP in the House but we are still watching the unfolding drama.
Particularly the way and manner the old PDP is going about the resolution of the crisis.
”So far all the wrong steps have been taken via the deliberate sacking of ministers from the states of the seven governors involved in this our just cause. “Some of us are patiently waiting on the sideline, as soon the old PDP digs its grave we will properly assist in burying its coffin.”
A Rep from the South West zone also said “all we are waiting for is our resumption on Tuesday and for the first time in the history of this institution we shall carry out our oversight function like never before. We will ensure that every kobo allocated to MDAs are well accounted for in this 2013 Appropriation Act. “
Another burning issue is that of the 2013 Constitution Amendment bill awaiting harmonisation of both legislative houses. The adhoc committee led by the Deputy Speaker, Hon Emeka Ihedioha had tirelessly worked towards its successful conclusion. For almost 13 hours the lawmakers considered the bill despite hiccups from the electronic device that repeatedly failed during its consideration.
Ihedioha had repeatedly told Nigerians that “we did the best for Nigeria. We harkened to their voices and the resultant effect is what you see in our report”
Whether the constitution amendment will sail through depends largely on the agreement of both Houses.
Petroleum Industry Bill, PIB
This bill died in the 6th Assembly after lawmakers had discussed all the relevant clauses.
Chairman of the adhoc committee on PIB, Hon Isiaka Bawa in a chat recently declared that the bill may not die if all the grey areas are properly ironed out. ”The grey areas the multinational oil companies complained about is the area of royalties and payment to host communities. If we properly streamline some of these grey areas I do not see the PIB dying in the 7th Assembly,” he said.
Re-constitution of committees: Despite the lacklustre performance of some committee chairmen, the Tambuwal-led House is not favourably disposed to dropping some of the poor-performing chairmen
Spokesman of the Reps, Hon Zakari Mohammed when contacted on the likelihood of dropping some chairmen, said, “nobody in his right senses would contemplate that for now.“
Meanwhile, Zakari during a briefing last Friday said “all outstanding committee reports must be submitted by the chairmen of substantive and adhoc committees for appropriate actions. Also we shall strengthen our oversight functions to the hilt without minding whose ox is gored.“
From all indications the House is set for a showdown with the executive arm of government.
The Tambuwal magic wand: The much rumoured frosty relationship between the Reps and the executive may assume a larger than life status. Tambuwal in the last two years ably supported by his Deputy, Ihedioha had weathered all the storms and came out unscathed.
The question on the lips of most political pundits is whether the Tambuwal magic wand would remain active. All these would unfold as the House resumes today.