By Emman Ovuakporie & Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA—THREE months after the House resumed Indications yesterday emerged that the constitution of the over 94 standing committees may take place today as the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara is set to announce the composition.
It was reliably gathered that the selection committee, headed by the Dogara with all principal officers as members and representatives of the 36 states including FCT have concluded their assignment and the members met last week to put finishing touches on the list.
The House leadership also held a closed door meeting (still on-going) yesterday to put finishing touches to the final list.
The panel which was inaugurated on August 11 and has since been working towards the constitution of committees of standing committees.
Chairman of the House ad hoc committee on media and public affairs, Sani Zorro told journalists that the committee continued work even during the annual recess.
Most lawmakers had attributed the delay in the formation of the various committees to several factors including: paucity of funds, the absence of heads of ministries and the protracted crisis which engulfed the House shortly after inauguration over the choice of principal officers for the chamber.
It was also gathered that intense lobbying has been going on in the House, particularly during the six weeks recess as members jostle to get “grade A or juicy committees.”
Specifically, there have been serious lobby for the chairmanship of the committees on House services, finance, appropriation, customs and excise, banking and currency. Others are FCT, works, interior, police, defence, Housing, petroleum, gas and local content.
Other committees being scrambled for include, Army, Airforce, foreign affairs, Navy, public accounts, judiciary, national planning, agriculture, industries and anti-corruption.
But a member of the Selection Committee saddled with the task of allocating lawmakers to committees of the House, last month disclosed that because of the absence of a new rule book for the House, the selection of the members of the various panels would be delayed until new rules were approved in October.
The lawmaker said for any of the Committees of the parliament to exist, lawmakers are required to adopt a report on a set of new rules with the recommendations there in.
Also another member of the committee who spoke under anonymity last Friday said the number of standing committees allocated to each of the six geopolitical zones have been done.
He said when we meet this week, we shall be picking chairmen, deputies and members of all the committees.
“At the meeting we held on Wednesday, the distribution of committees to the various zones was approved. That has been done and the next stage is choosing the chairmen for the various committees. I think this will not take us longer time again”
The source, however, could not give further insight into the committee distribution amongst the states and geopolitical zones, it was gathered that “the least number of committee a geopolitical zone may get will be seven.”
Speaker Dogara in August declared that not all members should expect to be appointed Chairmen or Deputy Chairmen of Committees in the yet-to-be re-constituted Committees of the House.
He disclosed this when he played host to the Rivers State Caucus led by Rep. Betty Appiafi on August 11, 2015, the Speaker assured the lawmakers that the leadership will be fair to all, in the allocation of committees’ Chairmen and Deputies.
Dogara, however, reminded the members that not every member would be made Committee Chairmen or Deputy, because there are approximately 180 positions which cannot go round all the members.
He also assured that every region will be represented in the sharing of positions.