BY TORDUE SALEM
ABUJA – The House of Representatives has , today, adjourned sitting till next week Wednesday, to attend to the 2011 budget and other pending bills.
But Vanguard investigations revealed that the suspension of plenary was to commence lobbying the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) hierarchy for the zoning of the Speakership position.
The House which resumed from an 8-week election recess, sat yesterday and today before it adjourned summarily, according to Rep. Ita Enang, the Chairman Rules and Business “to attend to the FCT Budget, the 2011 Budget and other pending Bills”, before the House.
The intrigues, horse-tradings and permutations are well laid ahead of the inauguration of the Seventh National Assembly in June by the President.
The sudden adjournment was necessitated by the curious absence of both the Speaker and Deputy Speaker.
After about 30 minutes of waiting by the members in the chamber, Rep. Enang announced to the House that the Speaker, Dimeji Bankole was not available to chair proceedings and his deputy, Usman Bayero Nafada was also “indisposed.”
Many members who were on their way to the chamber shortly after the announcement, had to turn back.
Four reports from the House Committees on Industry, Governmental Affairs, Foreign Affairs and the Joint Committee on Judiciary and Justice, which were on the Order Paper of the House for the day and meant for consideration, were shelved.
Enang, who spoke briefly with reporters after the adjournment, said that the Speaker was on a state assignment to Obudu in Cross River State and that the Deputy Speaker was not available to hold fort for him because he (Nafada) was indisposed.
His words: “Mr. Speaker, Dimeji Bankole is consulting with the higher authorities of the State and the Deputy Speaker is suddenly indisposed. So, instead of allowing members, he has asked that we adjourned the sitting after consultations with other member s.
“We are adjourning till Wednesday, May 11th, most of the matters we have to consider, particularly the budget of the FCT, which we read yesterday, and the budget of the NCC we are producing the papers. Mr. Speaker has directed that we use the two or three days we have to urgently produce the papers.”
Enang said the rule books of the House allow the Speaker to adjourn proceedings if and when necessary.
A member from the South-East who spoke on the condition of anonymity said “We cannot wait for our own retreat which starts in June, because of what you already know is happening. The Speakership must go to a zone, and we in the South-east cannot just stand and watch. I guess other zones are interested too, so this talk of adjourning for Budget is hardly true, he said.