- Lawmakers to probe multibillion dollars investment in power sector
Shola Oyeyipo in Abuja
The House of Representatives Thursday announced the constitution of 109 committees and named their chairmen.
House Speaker, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, made the announcement just as the House proceeded on its annual two-month recess.
The House, at Thursday’s plenary, also resolved to probe multibillion dollars investment in the power sector.
Shortly after he announced the composition of the 109 committees and their leadership, Gbajabiamila implored those who did not make the much-awaited list of chairmanship and deputy chairmanship of the standing committees to take it in good faith.
Notable among the committee and the chairmen named were Public Accounts (Hon. Wole Oke), Public Petitions (Hon. Jerry Alagbaoso), Defence (Babajimi Benson), Judiciary (Onofiok Luke), Gas (Nicholas Mutu), Interior (Nasir Daura), Power (Hon. Aliu Magaji), Customs (Hon. Yusuf Kila) and Foreign Affairs (Hon. Yusuf Baba) while Hon. Wale Raji was named as Chairman, House Services.
Other notable committees and their chairmen are Works (Hon. Abubakar Kabiru), Media (Hon. Benjamin Kalu), Inland Waterways (Hon. Patrick Asadu), Appropriations (Hon. Muktar Betara), Finance (Hon. James Faleke), Army (Hon. Abdulrasak Namdas), NDDC (Hon. Tunji Ojo), Cooperation in Africa (Hon. Mohammed Bago), Petroleum Upstream (Sarkin Ada) and Maritime (Lynda Ikpeazu).
However, conspicuously missing on the list are the names of former Public Accounts Committee chair, Hon. Kingsley Chinda; former Minority Leader, Hon. Leo Ogor; former Chairman, Public Petition Committee, Hon. Uzonma Nkem Abonta; Hon. Tajudeen Yusuf, Hon. Chukwuka Onyeama and former Speaker, Hon. Yakubu Dogara.
Though the chairman, Gbajabiamila and Wase Campaign Organisation who midwifed the emergence of the current leadership of the House of Representatives, Hon. Abdulmumin Jibrin, was also not on the list, sources said he would be compensated by the party leadership outside the House.
Some other committee chairmen announced were: Hon. Nasir Daura as chairman House Committee on Interior; Hon. Pascal Obi as chairman House Committee on Health Institutions; Hon. Akin Adeyemi as Chairman House Committee on Communications; Hon. Aisha Dukku as Chairman House Committee on Electoral Matters; Hon. Yusuf Buba, Chairman House Committee on Foreign Affairs; Hon. Hadija Bukar Ibrahim as chairman House Committee on North East Development Commission; Hon. Tunji Ojo as chairman House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission; Hon. Tajudeen Abbas as Chairman House Committee on Land Transport; Hon. Johnson Ogbuma as chairman House Committee on Environment; Hon. Munir Baba as chairman House Committee on Agricultural Production and Hon. Adamu Faggae as chairman House Committee on Constituency Outreach.
Others are: Hon. Nicholas Mutu, Chairman House Committee on Gas; Hon. Victor Nwokolo as Chairman House Committee on Banking & Currency; Hon. Bello Kumo as chairman House Committee on Police; Hon. Garba Datti as Chairman House Committee on Ports & Harbours; Hon. Ibrahim Babagida as Chairman House Committee on Capital Markets; Hon. Kabir Idris as chairman House Committee on Civil Society; Hon. Femi Fakeye as chairman House Committee on Commerce; Hon. Ifeanyi Momah as chairman House Committee on FCT Judiciary; Hon. Abubakar Kabir as Chairman House Committee on Works; Hon. Nwokocha Darlington as Chairman House Committee on Insurance; Hon. Abubakar Ado as chairman House Committee on Information; Hon. Mustapha Dawaki as Chairman House Committee on Housing; Hon. Yemi Adaramodu as Chairman House Committee on Youth Development; Hon. Olumide Osoba as chairman House Committee on Sports; Hon. Abdullahi Salami as chairman House Committee on Poverty Alleviation; Hon. Lynda Ikpeazu as chairman House Committee on Maritime Administration & Education; Hon. Mohammed Jega as chairman House Committee on Internally Displaced Persons and Hon. Jonathan Gaza as chairman House Committee on Legislative Budget and Research.
Reacting to the announcement, Hon. Ayika Valentine Ogbonna, said by leaving some qualified members out of the committee leadership, the lawmakers would continue to query why they were left out.
“Today is a defining moment for members of the House of Representatives. It is important in history. There has been suspense in the air on whether the news of members of committee will be announced. I told the leaders in a meeting we had that they already know. My opinion is that let it be fair.
“It is 360 members and we can say how do we balance, but there is a way to balance. I am from Anambra State, I have been in the state House of Assembly, two members of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) from my state who haven’t held any political office were given deputy chairmanship but I was not given anything.
“I expected that there will be repercussion but I never knew it can be this bad. But I can’t be gagged
. This will be a catalyst for me to talk to this country about some of the nonsense that goes on in this country.
“Where members feel neglected – not carried along, people will start ganging up on how to protect their interests, because people elected you here and where you are unable to carry them along, then you have failed.
“Those who are favoured will try to defend the action but those who are displeased want to know why. Then we still want to know what committees one is assigned to,” he said.
On his part, Abonta said people should not be aggrieved by the distribution of the committee positions, saying since there are more people than the available slots, the speaker couldn’t have satisfied everybody.
“It is not possible for Mr. Speaker to satisfy everybody. People should not express shock. We are 360, he has just selected about 100 people. Even God didn’t satisfy everybody, he made some people short, some tall, some fat and some slim.
“A lot of fourth term members were either left out or in places that weren’t their choice. But that does not mean that they will not be in the House and the new ones who got, they will learn. The important thing is that there should not be hard feelings.
“It should not cause a problem. I will help to calm the situation. For me, I want a united House. The important thing is for us to forge ahead,” Abonta added.
House to Probe Multibillion Dollars Investment in Power Sector
The House of Representatives also resolved yesterday to set up an ad-hoc committee to carry out a comprehensive investigative hearing on how much money has been spent on power sector reform programmes over the years without commensurate results.
The resolution followed the consideration of a motion, moved by Hon. Sada Soli Jibiya (Kaduna, APC), on the need to review government’s expenditure on the power sector to ensure sustenance of the power sector reform programmes in Nigeria.
Jibiya moved his motion against the backdrop of the lamentation of President Muhammadu Buhari that power supply has been epileptic despite huge sums of billions of dollars spent on it.
He said investigative hearing had been conducted by the House in 2008 over the alleged spending of about $16 billion on the power sector.
“The investigative hearing revealed that contracts awarded for the Kainji, Egbin, Afam and Ughelli power stations as well as nine other such contracts totalling up to $142 million were never executed.
“Contracts awarded of over $50 million to companies that did not exist and that $2 billion worth of energy contracts were also awarded without bidding and due process,” Soli alleged.
Relying on the provisions of Section 88 (2) (b) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended), which empowers the House to expose corruption, inefficiency or waste in the execution or administration of laws within its legislative competence and in the disbursement or administration of funds appropriated by it, the lawmaker called for a probe of the power sector.