Hope rises for peaceful House



. Gbajabiamila emerges Reps Majority Leader
. Dogara apologises to Nigerians
. Lawmakers ask FG to publicise Jonathan ‘s handover note

HOPES are high that the crisis rocking the House of Representatives has finally been resolved following the decision of the Speaker, Yakubu Dogara to accede to the request of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and work with Femi Gbajabiamila as the lower legislative chamber’s Majority Leader.

The truce was reached following meetings between President Muhammadu Buhari, APC leaders and House of Representatives members on Monday.

Also yesterday, the House passed a motion urging Buhari to publicise the handover note of his predecessor, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan whose tenure expired on May 29, this year.

Adopting the motion sponsored by Mr. Uzoma Nkem-Abonta (Ukwa East/West, PDP, Abia), the lawmakers particularly urged the executive arm to publicise the handover note, with the exception of information restricted by law, and the accompanying documents of Jonathan led administration in the official gazette of the federation.

Apart from Gbajabiamila’s position, Dogara also announced the emergence of Buba Jibrin (APC-Kogi) as the Deputy Majority Leader, Alhassan Ado Doguwa (APC-Kano) and Pally Iriase (APC-Edo) as Chief Whip and Deputy Chief Whip respectively.

The opposition Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) also named Leo Ogor Okuweh (Delta, South South) as Minority Leader, Yakubu Umar Barde, Minority Whip (Kaduna, North West), Binta Bello, Deputy Minority Whip (Gombe, North East) and Chukwuka Onyema as Deputy Minority Leader (Anambra, South East).

Dogara apologises to Nigerians
Meanwhile, the Speaker has tendered unreserved apologies to Nigerians for the unfortunate incidents on the floor of the chamber on June 9, 2015.

In an address he read to welcome members from recess, Dogara urged his colleagues to activate their respective mandates by kick-starting the real business of the people and nation.

“My dear colleagues, the Eighth Assembly has a very crucial role in the political history of our dear country. We are saddled with the responsibility and special privilege to midwife the first government of complete democratic transition in which an opposition party has assumed the realm of government, the first in our political experience.

“I make bold to state that if the public expectation on previous legislatures was one hundred percent, then the expectation on this Eight Assembly must be anything but not less than two hundred percent ! Therefore we can neither afford to abuse the confidence reposed in us nor can we dare to expose ourselves to the cruel judgment of history.

“Our great party, the All Progressives Congress along with Mr. President and other party leaders exhibited uncommon democratic tradition by abstaining from direct interference in the process and given the manner we conducted the election in this Chambers on 9th June, I am persuaded that they do not regret reposing such confidence in us. In this regard we owe them, ourselves, and indeed all Nigerians a duty to prove that we can conclude this process rancour free and without denting our party’s democratic credentials. This we can do and I am confident that we shall.”

Lawmakers ask Buhari to publicise Jonathan‘s handover note

Nkem –Abonta, while moving the motion, canvassed support of his colleagues on the basis that there was the need for Nigerians to be informed on the content of the handover note in the interest of transparency and accountability.

Expressing concern that only officials in the presidency have access to the handover note at the moment, he maintained that there was the need for National Assembly members, most of whom are new to the legislative business to have access to authentic information to ascertain the actual state of the nation to be able to perform legislative functions effectively.

He added: “We must encourage and empower ordinary Nigerians to actively monitor the activities of government. We should be desirous of the need to maintain the integrity of the handover note for reference purposes and to enable interested individuals or group of persons to verify the authenticity or otherwise of the contents of the documents.”

Also in support of the motion was Okuweh who agreed there was need for Nigerians to have access to information on the state of affairs of the nation notwithstanding the provisions of sections 88 and 89 of the constitution that empower the legislative arm to gain access to any information it deems fit from the executive arm.

Yusuf Ayo Tajudeen (Ijumu/Kebbi-Buni, PDP), who also spoke in support of the initiative, noted the need to move away from “the realm of hearsay to concrete information “ in line with the change agenda of Buhari led administration.

Gbajabiamila (Surulere1, APC, Lagos), also okayed the proposition on the premise that it would engender transparency and accountability.

House sets up committee to screen Service Chiefs
Also yesterday, Dogara, announced the setting up of a 16-man committee headed by Garba Datti (APC-Kaduna) to screen the Service Chiefs recently appointed by Buhari and report back to the House.

This followed the President ‘s correspondence to the Speaker, officially conveying the appointment of the new Service Chiefs and seeking their confirmation by the parliament just as he had informed the Senate President.

Other members of the committee are; Temi Fakeye , Segun Odebunmi, James Faleke, Philip Shuabu, Sam Ikon, Blessing Isigbe, Goni Bukar, Danjuma Shidi, Aishatu Dukku, Francis Onyewuchi, Nkiruka Onyejiocha, Ahmed Idris, Tijani Hallogen Yusuf, Funke Adedoyin, and Nasiru Alli Ahmed.

Lagos based human rights activist, Festus Keyamo, who had earlier sued the National Assembly over their inability to screen Service Chiefs , said the act was in order.

He said: “The request of the President that the House should confirm the Service Chiefs is in line with Section 18 of the Armed Forces Act.”

Meanwhile, National Chairman of the APC , Chief John Oyegun has expressed his happiness over the resolution of the leadership crises in the House of Representatives.

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