By Andy Chukwu
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, has named chairpersons for the house standing committees, which had been increased from 96 to 109.
The names of the chairmen of 102 standing committees, and their deputies, released came amid some surprises as the Speaker substituted some “landlord” chairmen of key committees with new names, even fresh, unranked lawmakers.
Also, the names of Abdulmumin Jubrin, the coordinator of Gbajabiamila for speakership campaign and Yakubu Dogara, the immediate speakers are conspicuously missing from the list.
The decision to increase the committees was contained in a report submitted by an ad-hoc committee mandated to review the house standing order:
In the composition of the new committee, the Speaker’s key men clinched juicy committees such as Appropriation which is chaired by Mukhtar Betara; Finance, James Faleke; Public Accounts, Oluwole Oke; Defence, Babajimi Benson and Army, Abdulrazak Namdas.
The committees on Petroleum sector, and those of security went to new hands.
Musa Sarkin-Adar (APC, Sokoto) clinched the Chairman, House committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream). However, chairmen of Petroleum Resources (Downstream) and Gas Resources went to South-South lawmakers, with Nicholas Mutu emerging chairman Gas Resources.
For the first time, Chairman of House Committee on Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), which had been perpetually occupied by Nicholas Mutu (PDP, Delta) went to first time lawmaker, Olubunmi Tunji-Ojo (APC, Ondo).
Other first timers, namely Onofiok Luke, immediate past Speaker of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, is to oversee Federal Judiciary, just as Benjamin Kalu (APC, Abia), takes charge of Media and Public Affairs Committee (House spokesman).
The Chairman of the influential House Committee on Appropriation, which many thought would go to Jibrin, went to Mukhtar Baitara (APC, Borno).
Not only did Jibrin, who was reportedly tipped for a ministerial appointment not get a key committee, his name was totally absent from the list read out, fueling speculations. Consequently, the Speaker adjourned proceedings till September 17.