As Gbaja cautions Wike on unguarded comments
By Levinus Nwabughiogu
ABUJA—The Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, Mohammed Monguno, yesterday, at plenary, stopped a move by the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to compel President Muhammadu Buhari to appoint ministers.
Deputy Minority Leader of the House, Toby Okechukwu (Enugu State) had in a motion anchored on Section 147 of the 1999 Constitution (as amended), drew the attention of the House to the fact that since inauguration on May 29, 2019, the president was yet to form his cabinet.
Okechukwu said the delay in appointing ministers was delaying the smooth take-off of governance as there was uncertainty on whom to conduct official businesses with at the ministries, adding that contracts were also being awarded without due process.
Midway into his motion, a shout of point of order came from Monguno.
Relying on the same Section 147 of the constitution, Monguno, who read the provision, said there was no mention of any timeline within which the president should appoint his ministers, and, therefore, submitted that the motion was dead on arrival.
“In clear terms, there is no time limit within which Mr. President must appoint minister. I think the motion is an academic exercise,” he added.
Given another opportunity to speak, Okechukwu stated that the motion was to support the President to ensure that government was up and running.
Ruling on the matter, the Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila, said Monguno was right, adding: “I think Monguno was in order; there is actually no obligation. The constitution says the President ‘may.’’’
Gbaja cautions Wike on unguarded comments
Earlier on a point of order under Matters of Privileges by Jide Jimoh (Lagos State), the speaker cautioned Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State to be guided on his utterances about the leadership of the House.
Jimoh had called the attention of the House to comments credited to the governor, castigating the House on the constitution of principal officers, arguing that his rights and privileges as a member of the House had been breached.
Reacting to the order, Ossai Nicholas Ossai, a member of the PDP, said Jimoh was crying more than the bereaved.
In his ruling, Gbajabiamila said the rule of the House didn’t say either minority or majority but collectively.
“The rule does not say minority or majority. It says collectively. What touches one touches all,” he added.
Sets up c’ttee to probe Rivers pipeline explosion
The House at plenary also set up an adhoc committee to investigate the cause of pipeline explosion and fire in Kom Kom and Izuma communities of Oyigbo Local Government Area of Rivers State that resulted in loss of many lives and property.
The resolution followed a motion by Chisom Dike from the state.
Attributing the incident to pipeline explosion, the lawmaker added that “the said explosion occurred due to the negligence of the Pipelines and Products Marketing Company, PPMC, and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, as they were unable to carry out maintenance work on the leakage of their facility several days after the leakage was reported.’’
Adopting the motion, the House urged NNPC and the PPMC to quickly ensure thorough repairs of the pipeline.