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House chairmanship splits H’Reps

BY BEN AGANDE
ABUJA—Presiding officers of the House of Representatives, and their principal officers have come under intense pressure from Members of the House over chairmanship positions as  composition of the standing committees is set to be announced soon.

A principal officer of the House told Vanguard yesterday that “with the composition of the body of principal officers, members are naturally agitated on which committee they either want to chair or belong to.

It has been a very hectic time for us as members of the selection committee.”

In the sixth House of Representatives, there were about 60 standing committees and apart from the Committee on Public Accounts which is constitutionally guaranteed others were created to accommodate yearnings of the members who wanted to chair certain committees.

It was gathered that apart from select committees like appropriations, house services, finance, petroleum which are seen as exclusive preserve of the speaker to nominate its leaders, some of the high profile committees would be given to opposition parties to give them a sense of belonging.

While ranking members of the House are expected to chair committees of their choice, those who supported the speaker and worked for his emergence are expected to be rewarded with choice committees.

A principal officer of the House told Vanguard  that “as soon as the issue of the House leader is resolved, we will announce the composition of the committees.

We have informed the various party caucuses on the positions that have been allocated to them and we believe that as soon as the caucuses give us their feed back, we will announce the committees”.

“We want to ensure that we effectively hold the executive arm of government accountable and the best way we can do this is at the committee level. Since the ministers are just taking off, it is important that our committees take off with them”.

Vanguard gathered that though members have been asked to indicate areas where they want to serve, ‘the competence of individual members would be taken into consideration in order to ensure that round pegs are put in round holes.

We are aware that Nigerians would critically scrutinize our activities and we are determined to ensure that we do not disappoint them” a principal officer said.


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