Reps clash over principal officers appointment

The House of Representatives is facing a crisis as representatives are on a collision course over the appointment of chamber leaders.

It was learnt on Tuesday that the speaker, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, was in a dilemma over how to share the offices.

Credible sources in the chamber revealed that while the ruling All Progressives Congress has nominated candidates, the Speaker who wishes to meet his campaign promise, especially to former candidates who stepped down for him, has other candidates.

Nkeiruka Onyejeocha (Abia State, South-East) was approved by the APC National Working Committee on Saturday as Deputy Majority Leader and Peter Akpatason (Edo State, South-South) as Chief Whip. Other vacant principal offices include the Majority Leader zoned to Kano State (North-West) and the North-East zoned Deputy Chief Whip.

Gbajabiamila said that Mr Abdulrazak Namdas (Adamawa, North-East) was nominated as Chief Whip at the plenary on Tuesday.
“Honourable Namdas, please take the seat at the front, you have been nominated as acting Chief Whip. Take the position as you wait for your confirmation,” he said.

However, the Speaker held mum in other principal offices, although on Tuesday the Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, appointed the officers in the upper chamber.

A member of the House Ad Hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr Bamidele Salam, addressing journalists after the day’s session said that the Speaker was still consulting on the appointments and would announce the officers by the end of the week.

“A few reporters approached the House of Representatives ‘ Media and Public Affairs Committee to ask why the other principal positions of the House were not announced in today’s plenary and I said that they were not announced because there is a need for wider and further consultations between the Speaker and the Deputy Speaker to ensure that anything that will be announced is in line with the provisions of our rules.

“And I said before the week ends, there will be an announcement from all of the House’s other principal officers ; the Majority Leader, Deputy Majority Leader, Chief Whip, Deputy Chief Whip, Minority Whip, Deputy Minority Whip. The consultations will be over before the week runs out and they will be announced, “he said.

Another former aspirant, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, revealed that the announcement was postponed as interests had clashed over the appointments.

“We’re having problems,” the lawmaker said. The reason the man (speaker) did not announce (the officers) is because there is an issue regarding the House Leader. It’s been zoned to Kano and some of them don’t want Garba Ado-Doguwa in the state ; some want Aminu Suleiman. The APC National Chairman (Adams Oshiomhole) prefers Suleiman, but Ado-Doguwa is preferred by Kano Governor (Abdullahi Ganduje) and other stakeholders. So, we are having a stalemate.

“A issue is even the Deputy Leader. Onyejeocha was initially appointed Deputy Leader, and now they took Akpatason as Deputy Leader instead of Deputy Chief Whip. Now they want to offer her Deputy Chief Whip. In the previous proposition, Akpatason was appointed Deputy Chief Whip. Now they’ve provided the Chief Whip role to Mohammed Monguno (Borno, North-East). Akpatason is the candidate of the (APC) chairman.”

When asked if Onyejeocha would agree to drop Deputy Whip Leader, the source said, “No, the woman is not going to agree. The woman is higher (in rank). She’s not going to agree.”

Onyejeocha couldn’t be reached to make her feelings known as regards the new arrangement.

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