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Gbajabiamila’s Standing Committees of Change

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House of Rep Speaker-Femi Gbajabiamila
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By Orkula Shaagee, Abuja

Last week Thursday, Speaker of the House of Representatives Femi Gbajabiamila announced the chairmen and deputy chairmen of 109 standing committees of the green chamber.

The committees, from all indications appear that Gbajabiamila is out to effect some changes in the way standing committees of the House of Representatives are usually constituted.

The announcement, which was generated mixed-feelings, saw some ranking members sidelined in the headship of the standing committees.

Political watchers believe the leadership of the standing committees was an indication that the pre-election squabble between the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC), a well as the Gbajabiamila camp and the ex-Speaker Yakubu Dogara camp was still alive.

Besides the failure of Gbajabiamila to honour some ranking lawmakers with committee chairmanship appointments, some standing committees which are the preserve of the south-south lawmakers were given to lawmakers from other regions.

For example, the committee on Petroleum Resources (downstream) is headed by Mahmud Abdullahi Gaiya (APC, Kano) instead of a southern lawmaker. Even the committee on Petroleum Resources (upstream) is chaired by Musa Sarki Adar (APC, Sokoto).

Similarly, Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is now headed by Tunji Ojo instead of a lawmaker from the south-south.

The list shows that Gbajabiamila’s loyalists allegedly benefitted highest.

Shockingly, Abdulmumin Jibrin, who was the director general of the campaign organisation that assisted Gbajabiamila become speaker, was not named as head of any committee.

But political commentators still believe that the action of Gbajabiamila to leave of his close man in the headship of a standing committee was a clear way of departing from the past way of compensating friends after every election.

The speaker is also said to have disappointed the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members in the House by reneging on his alleged promise to give the party at least 60 standing committees. The PDP got 21 positions as committee chairmen and 30 deputy slots.

Prominent among those who did not get the chairmanship position of any of the standing committees was immediate past Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara and ex-minority leader of the chamber, Leo Ogor, lost out.

Also, a former chairman of the committee on public accounts, Hon Kingsley Chinda, and his counterpart in the committee on public petition, Hon Uzonma Nkem Abonta were among those that lost out.

It is believed that Chinda’s failure to get a standing committee chairmanship slot was because of his openly confrontation with Speaker Gbajabiamila for rejecting his nomination for Minority Leader position by the PDP leadrership.

It was observed that while some members jubilated over the announcement, others wore long faces. Some of them also approached the Speaker to shake hands with him while others either remained on their seats or left the chamber before adjournment.

It was also observed that while some states like Kano and Lagos got multiple chairmanship appointments, others like Rivers State, whose Governor Nyesom Wike is openly opposed to the APC-led government got only a vice-chairmanship position.

For the chairmanship positions, the ruling and majority All Progressives Congress got 80; Peoples Democratic Party, 21; All Progressives Grand Alliance, 2; Allied Peoples Movement, 1; and Action Alliance, 1.

For the 104 vice-chairmanship positions, the APC got 63; the PDP, 30; APGA, 3; the ADC, 3; the PRP, 2; the SDP, 1; the ADP, 1; and AA, 1.

Gbajabiamila’s speakership campaign organisation led by Mr Abdulmumin Jibrin had promised the PDP 60 committee leadership appointments.

Gbajabiamila, however, urged lawmakers who did not get any appointment to take it in good faith.

According to the list, Wale Raji (APC-Lagos) was named chairman, House Services; Abdulrazak Namdas, Committee on Army; Aliyu Betara (APC-Borno) as chairman Committee on Appropriations; while James Faleke (APC-Lagos) was named chairman, House Committee on Finance.

The speaker was said to have appealed to those who could not get standing committees to take it in good faith. The list showed that Wale Raji (APC-Lagos) is chairman, House Services; Hon Abdulrazak Namdas heads the committee on Army; Aliyu Betara (APC-Borno) heads the House committee on appropriations; Abiodun Faleke (APC-Lagos), committee on finance and Pascal Obi, committee on health institutions. Also, Luke Onofiok chairs the committee on federal judiciary; Akin Adeyemi, committee on communications; Jimi Benson as chairman, committee on Defence; Wole Oke (PDP-Osun), committee on public accounts while Abdullahi Bago (APC-Niger) who contested against Gbajabiamila is given the committee on African integration and cooperation. Hon Jerry Alagbaso was appointed as chairman, committee on public petitions; Nasir Daura, committee on interior; Aisha Dukku, committee on electoral matters; Yusuf Buba, committee on foreign affairs; Tunji Ojo, committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC); Tajudeen Abbas, committee on land transport; and Johnson Ogbuma, committee on environment. Hon Lynda Ikpeazu was given the committee on maritime administration and education; Mohammed Jega, committee on internally displaced persons; Jonathan Gaza, committee on legislative budget and research. Also, Hon Yusuf Kila is chairman, committee on customs; Hadija Bukar Ibrahim, committee on north east development commission; Munir Baba, committee on agricultural production and Adamu Faggae heads the committee on constituency outreach. Nicholas Mutu is chairman, committee on gas; Victor Nwokolo, committee on banking and currency; Bello Kumo, committee on police; Garba Datti, committee on ports and harbours; Ibrahim Babagida, committee on capital markets. Abubakar Ado heads the committee on information; Mustapha Dawaki is chairman committee on housing; Yemi Adaramodu, committee on youth development; Olumide Osoba, committee on sports; Abdullahi Salami, committee on poverty alleviation; Kabir Idris is chairman House committee on civil society; Femi Fakeye, committee on commerce; Ifeanyi Momah, committee on FCT judiciary; Abubakar Kabir, committee on works; Benjamin Kalu, committee on Media and Public Affairs; Nwokocha Darlington, committee on insurance.

POLITICS

Tinubu Tasks APC Stakeholders in North-Central on Unity

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President Bola Tinubu has urged the stakeholders and members of  All Progressives Congress (APC) in the North-Central Zone to remain united in order to take the party to the next level of development.

Tinubu made the call on Saturday at  the Zonal stakeholders meeting of the party in Lafia.

Tinubu, who was the Chairman of the meeting, was represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation ( SGF), Sen.

George Akume.

The president said:” I want to appeal to all of you to maintain unity. We need to maintain unity of purpose, unity of brothers and sisters for the progress of our party and the country at large “

He also commended Governors of the zone for initiating projects that have direct bearing on the lives of the people.

Tinubu solicited continued support and prayers from the stakeholders, APC members and other Nigerians to enable him succeed.

The president assured of his administration’s commitment to continue to provide infrastructure and other good policies that would improve the lives of Nigerians.

On his part, Dr Abdullahi Ganduje, the APC National Chairman, said the party has introduced a lot of reforms,  including e- registration for party members.

” We have introduced e-registration for party members as e-registration will give us accurate numbers of our party members,” he said.

Ganduje appreciated Gov. Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa and the North Central APC leaders for inviting him to the meeting.

He also called on the stakeholders and other members of the party to embrace unity for the overall development of the party and Nigeria at large.

The APC national chairman urged  Nigerians to support Tinubu’s administration to succeed.

Also Speaking, Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara , who is the North-Central APC Coordinator, said the meeting was to discuss issues that would move the party forward.

” It is also to thank our party stakeholders for the success of our party and to interact with ourselves for the overall development of our party,” he said.

The governor urged stakeholders and other members of the party to build a formidable North-Central zone, urging,

” Let’s all make North-Central formidable.”

On their parts,  the Nasarawa governor, Gov.  Usman Ododo of Kogi and Gov. Hyacinth Alia of Benue, also called for  unity among APC members.

Sule said: ” Dear members of APC, let’s have the party in our hearts for the progress of the party and for the overall development of the country.

 Also, Sen. Abdullahi Adamu, Rep. Idris Wase, Hajiya Imaan Sulaiman Ibrahim, Minister of Police Affairs ( State), Hajiya  Hajarat Danyaro, member representing Nasarawa Central at the State House of Assembly, among other stakeholders ,  urged for focus and unity.

They appealed to party members to remain focused and united for the progress of the party.

They appealed that all hands must be on the deck to take the party to the next level of development.(NAN)

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POLITICS

Niger Assembly Halts Ongoing Construction of IBB University Teaching Hospital Over Substandard Quality

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From  Dan Amasingha, Minna. 

Niger State House of Assembly joint committees on works, health and Nutrition have directed the immediate suspension of the ongoing construction of IBB University Teaching Hospital Minna due to lack of compliance with the contract specifications.

Chairman of the House Committees Arch.

Suleiman Abubakar Gomna and his counterpart, Pharm.
Umar Nasir gave the order during an oversight visit to the project site in Minna.

The Lawmakers described the project as below standard and a deliberate plan by the contractors to shortchange the state government. 

Abubakar Gomna expressed sadness over the substandard nature of the ongoing project noting that, Poor quality work has repercussions that extend to safety and communication in addition to wasted time, resources and materials.

The lawmaker explained that lack of adequate quality control procedures and improve construction project efficiency can have a ripple effect of high expectation.

“There is  urgent  need for material testing towards  ensuring  quality and standard.”      

Chairman house standing committee on health and Nutrition, Pharmacist Umar Nasir said durability, strength, and quality of materials play a pivotal role in the safety and longevity of structures in construction and can significantly impact the overall performance of a construction project.

The Head Project Management of Think Lab Group Limited, Mohammed Lawal Aliyu disclosed that the project consist of three phases which includes; renovation of old structures and building new one.

He said infrastructure such as road, electrification and water as well as supply of medical equipment is also embedded in the contract.

Daily Asset gathered that the contractor, Think Lab Group is  handing the project have already access an advance payment of N9 billion from the state government .

The House committee are insisting that, to  ensure that sharp practices was not recorded, the company must abide by the directives from the lawmakers in order to have an edifice that will stand the test of time

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POLITICS

Reps Query Abandonment of Skills Acquisition Centre Project in Akwa Ibom

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By Ubong Ukpong, Abuja

The House of Representatives Committee on Niger Delta Ministry has queried the contractors for abandoning the skills acquisition center project at Iwuo Achang, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State.

Chairman of the Committee, Rep.

Eugene Dibiagwu, issued the query at an investigative hearing on the abandoned Skills Acquisition Center.

He said that the lack of commitment by the contractors had made them part of the problem Nigeria is facing over abandoned projects.

He added that it was ridiculous that the project was yet to be completed after being paid 85 percent of the contract sum.

“As a contractor that has been paid up to 85 percent, you were supposed to have completed that project; you know the reason why you have not; we will not allow the project to die that way.

“We understand the situation we found ourselves in in the country economically regarding the cost of materials.

“We will engage the ministry of Niger Delta so that they will know whether to consider further valuation for your request for additional money.”

He expressed shock that part of the fence built by the contractors had broken, saying the committee would unravel whether the fence the contractor built that fell was their fault or of a natural cause.

He, however, charged the contractor to do everything possible to complete the project, adding that the committee would not join issues with the contractor until the project was completed.

The committee said that if the skill acquisition center must work with all the necessary facilities to make it functional, it would require an additional N2 billion from the N4.2 billion earlier quoted for the project.

“We are looking at an additional 2 billion naira, which will bring the total project to 6.2 billion naira, having committed 4 2 billion naira initially.

“And even if we commit 6.2 billion naira, the center will not still work considering what is left to be done. That center cannot train one person even with 6.2 billion naira.

The committee added that this is because the center would accommodate training workshops, train personnel to man the center, and also equip the training center to work.

It would be recalled that the House, on Nov. 23, 2023, deliberated on a motion titled “Need to Complete the Construction of the Skill Acquisition Center at Iwuo Achang, Ibeno Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State”.

The House had urged the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to ensure completion of the project within the 2024 fiscal year and mandated the Committee on Niger Delta Ministry to ensure compliance.

However, the Chairman stated that the contract for the center was awarded on March 15, 2010 by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to three companies.

He stated that the project had reached about 85 percent completion 12 years ago but was abandoned due to an unexpected increase in the price of goods.

This, he said, left the property vandalised and in deplorable condition.

The contractors who appeared before the committee include Stegis International Agency Nigeria Ltd., a civil construction building, and Enarosol Nigeria Ltd., a landscaping and perimeter fencing company.

Others include Y. S. Associates, Electrical and Mechanical Works.

The contractor who tried albeit unsuccessful to defend their actions, were requested to appear with copies of the contract agreement, interim performance certificates, and any other relevant documents relating to the project.

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