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Dogara moves to prevent mass resignation

•House Leader to Speaker: you’re undermining principal offices

HOUSE of Representatives Speaker Yakubu Dogara yesterday moved to avert the impending mass resignation of committee chairmen and their deputies.

The looming tsunami, if unchecked, could derail the fragile but the much-needed unity in the lower chamber of the National Assembly.

Dogara, who just returned from a trip to Israel, met with all the committee chairmen and deputies in Room 0.28 where he appealed to them to hold on to their committees in the interest of peace and the development of the nation.

Some principal officers and All Progressives Congress (APC) members in the House have cried foul over the allegedly skewed Committee leadership selection and accused Dogara of high-handedness, saying opinions of others in different camps no longer matter in key decision making.

Before Dogara’s arrival from Israel, two members of the House, Mohammed Datti Garba and Sunday Adepoju had resigned their committee positions.

The letters of other who allegedly resigned were yet to be read on the floor of the House.

The Nation also learnt that at yesterday’s meeting, Dogara urged committee chairmen and deputies to work harmoniously so that the House can have positive achievement to give during the mid-year report.

He also urged members of the committees to shun scandals of money requests from institutions and personalities which tainted the Sixth and the Seventh Houses.

Though members of the leadership were at the meeting, the Leader of the House, Femi Gajabiamila was absent. He was said to be at the APC National Secretariat to keep an appointment that was not disclosed.

However, a letter addressed to the Speaker by House Leader, lent credence to allegations that Dogara was not in a hurry to carry along those opposed to his leadership of the House within the APC, in key decision making.

The letter, dated October 20 reads: “You would recall that I have on several occasions in the last four weeks, met with you both at home and in your office to get an understanding and appreciation of what was going on with the composition and appointment of chairmen and deputy chairmen of House Committees.

“I did this because of the incessant rumour that same had been composed. On each occasion, you assured me that nothing had been done. From all indications however, it appears that an announcement of chairmen and deputy chairmen is imminent and such may be done this week.

“I acknowledge your right and prerogative to determine the leadership of the House committees and I intend to work with you after such determination has been made.

“I intend and have stated on many occasions privately and publicly to work with you for the progress of the House.

“However, I am constrained at this point to ask that due consideration is given to the provisions of our House Rules. Order 7 Rule 10, paragraph (a) of the House rules which states that ‘the Speaker shall in consultation with principal officers, appoint the chairmen and deputy chairmen from among the members on the committees.’

“On the role of the Majority/House Leader: Order 7 Rule 27 (2) says that the Leader of the House shall ‘liase with Committee Chairmen and other functionaries of the House

“In the light of the foregoing provisions of our House rules and in line with parliamentary tradition the world over, undermining the office of the Leader or any other principal officer will not strengthen the legislature or our democracy.

“The situation where any principal officer whether from the majority or minority party only knows of the appointment referred above upon announcement on the floor will not augur well for the progress of this House.

“I have taken the liberty to write you on this matter for record purposes and in the hope that every principal office in this House would be given its due as enshrined in our House Rules.”

The planned mass resignation, The Nation learnt, may not be unconnected to the content and tone of the House Leader’s memo.

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