The selection of the chairmen and deputies of the 96 House of Representatives Standing Committees followed due process and was in line with the principles of the constitutionally-backed federal character, the House spokesman Abdulrazak Sa’ad Namdas declared yesterday.
The newly-appointed chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs justifying Speaker Yakubu Dogara’s appointment said aside 10 House principal officers, the remaining 350 House members got “at least two Grade A Committees”.
Pre-election agreements entered by Dogara with the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) caucus and some All Progressives Congress (APC) members before the closely contested June 9 speakership election shaped the composition of the 96 Standing Committees unveiled on Thursday October 22, 2015.
Dogara gave the majority APC 48 chairmanship slots and the main opposition, 45 seats causing tension among members of the 360-member legislature.
However, speaking to journalists at the National Assembly, Namdas said: “The truth is that we (House) have 360 members, two presiding officers and 10 other principal officers. 10 are already out so we are left with 350 lawmakers.
“In sharing these committees, due process was actually followed. We statistically ensured that every member has at least two Grade A committees or what is general referred to as juicy committees.
“Part of the reason why we are doing this is to ensure that the leadership of the House runs an all inclusive administration with all Nigerians having a sense of belonging. We are having a pan- Nigeria situation. We want to ensure that all sections of the country and all the parties are also carried along.
But documents emanating from Dogara’s office sighted by LEADERSHIP at the weekend had listed names of 21 members of the House from the Gbajabiamila camp formerly called the Loyalists Group, who got appointed as chairmen of committees with another 29 appointed deputy chairmen of committees.
Also, a letter of invitation sent to all Principal Officers of the House dated October 21, 2015 and signed by the Chief of Staff to the Speaker, Hon. Jerry Manwe, inviting them to a meeting in order to “consult on appointment of committee chairmen” on Thursday, October 22, 2015.