In from Timothy Enietan-Matthews . . .
The simmering crisis in the House of Representatives came to the fore again on Monday, as Majority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila and his loyalists in the House boycotted the inauguration of the 96 special and standing committees performed by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Gbajabiamila, who had accused the Speaker of undermining the offices of the principal officers in the process of constituting the committees, stayed away from the ceremony alongside his loyalists in the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC.
It will be recalled that APC lawmakers in the House had complained that the composition of the committees favoured the opposition of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and that it was capable of frustrating the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Speaking at the inauguration, the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, said both chambers of the National Assembly were committed to legislations that would better Nigeria and support the change agenda of President Buhari.
The Speaker also defended the number of the committees against severe criticms from Nigerians who felt it was oversized.
“Some commentators have decried the large number of Committees as being unwieldy and non-cost effective.
“This criticism, even though, apparently well intentioned, misses the point. Experience gained from the operation of Committees since 1999, shows that some ministries’ functions and mandates are very wide indeed and cannot be effectively supervised and overseen by a single Committee.
“For instance, the House split the Committee on Education into two, namely: Basic Education and Services and Tertiary Education and Services. The old Committee on Education had a mandate to oversight the budget and policy issues of the following institutions: “Unity Schools, 22 No. Federal Colleges of Education, 36 No. Federal Universities and 24 No. Federal Polytechnics.”
“There is no way a single Committee can adequately oversight all these agencies with House members also attending to other issues in Plenary Sessions, like lawmaking and other representational responsibilities,” he said
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