September 29, 2023

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NASS Committees: Akpabio, Abass Under Fire For Conceding 50% Chairs To Opposition

In desperate move to ensure stability in the 10th Assembly, the leadership of the Senate and House of Representatives have conceded 50 per cent of the chairmanship slots of various committees in the two chambers to lawmakers elected on the opposition platforms.

Consequently, major opposition platforms, especially Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Labour Party (LP), New Nigerian Peoples Party (NNPP) and Young Peoples Party (YPP) are to pick 50 per cent of the chairmanship positions of the various committees, leaving the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) with the remaining 50 per cent.

LEADERSHIP gathered that Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Tajudeen Abbas, had allegedly sealed a deal with the opposition lawmakers on getting half of the committee chairmanship slots ahead of their elections on June 13.

Findings further revealed that the deal had been reaffirmed at subsequent meetings between the leadership of the two chambers and the leadership of the minority caucus after the June 13 inauguration of Akpabio and Abbas.

It was gathered that the sharing formula would touch on the various categories of committees, designated as Grades A, B and C.

Last Wednesday, minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon Kingsley Chinda, told members of the minority caucus at a meeting within the National Assembly Complex that Abbas renewed his commitment to honour the deal.

He said the Speaker conceded to the agreement in his recent meeting with the helmsman of the House.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the move was meant to serve as a measure of reward for the support from the opposition lawmakers and also to provide stability valves for the new leadership.

It was learnt that the 50-50 arrangement was also meant to douse palpable tension in the National Assembly, especially in the Senate where Akpabio battled strong and fierce opposition to emerge.

But despite the lofty goals projected by the promoters of the idea, LEADERSHIP learnt that it is creating discomfort and disquiet in the APC, especially in the majority caucus of the Senate and House of Representatives.

Findings by this paper revealed that Senators and members of the House elected on the platform of the APC were not comfortable with the sharing formulae which placed their fate at par with their counterparts elected on opposition platforms.

create opportunities for more members to emerge as either chairman or vice chairman of the various committees.

“To further brighten the chances of more members to clinch either chairman or vice chairman of a committee, all parliamentary friendly bodies, including inter-parliamentary, are to be upgraded to committee levels, primarily to satisfy everybody”.

Meanwhile, Chinda neither picked calls to his cell phone nor responded to messages sent to his phone in order to secure his reaction to the report.