Speaker Abbas Tajudeen hails complaints commission’s efforts in resolving disputes

Speaker Abbas Tajudeen hails complaints commission’s efforts in resolving disputes

Speaker Abbas Tajudeen hails complaints commission’s efforts in resolving disputes

The Speaker of the House of Representatives Rt. Hon. Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D, is, no doubt, a man of destiny. Since his emergence as the Number 4 Citizen of Nigeria on June 13, 2023, he has taken some steps that indicate he means business and is ready to turn things around in the Green Chamber of the National Assembly for the betterment of Nigeria and Nigerians.

As someone who has been in the House since 2011; being a serious-minded lawmaker, who focuses more attention on the business of lawmaking by sponsoring a record number of bills in both the 8th and the 9th House, Speaker Abbas hit the ground running immediately after he assumed office.

Just two days into office, precisely on June 15, 2023, Speaker Abbas announced the setting up of some key ad hoc committees that would assist the House in the initial take-off, pending the constitution of the Standing Committees.

The ad hoc committees announced back then were that of Members’ Welfare, Internal Security, Media and Public Affairs, Selection Committee, Legislative Agenda, Rules and Business as well as Ethics and Privileges.

The Speaker heads the Selection Committee, while Hon. (Prof) Julius Ihonvbere (APC, Edo), who later emerged as the House Leader, was announced as the Chairman of the Committee on Legislative Agenda.

All the seven committees commenced their assignments immediately. While the ad hoc Committee on Welfare headed by Hon. Wale Raji (APC, Lagos), busied itself with the allocation of offices to members, among others, the Committee on Legislative Agenda engaged stakeholders both within and outside the House to come up with a sound agenda for the 10th House. The committee identified six key areas, namely: economic empowerment and diversification, infrastructure development, education, and human capital development, healthcare for all, transparent governance, accountability, and security and safety of persons and properties.

Also, the ad hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs chaired by Hon. Khadija Bukar Abba (APC, Yobe), engaged the media and the public where it constantly kept Nigerians abreast of the happenings in the House.

The ad hoc Committee on Internal Security, chaired by Hon. Mohammed Danjuma (NNPP, Kano), also ensured the security within the House, while the ad hoc Committee on Rules and Business, headed by Hon. Igariwey Iduma Enwo (PDP, Ebonyi) ensured the smooth running of activities on the floor of the House by arranging all matters to be discussed during plenary on the Order Paper. The ad hoc Committee on Ethics and Privileges, chaired by Hon. Tunji Olawuyi (APC, Kwara) also conducted its activities seamlessly.

But with the Speaker’s announcement of the Standing Committees of the House on Thursday, July 27, all the ad hoc committees ceased to exist, except for the Selection Committee and the Committee on Legislative Agenda.

As of July 27, the 10th House was exactly 44 days old. Within such a short period, the House, under Speaker Abbas, has recorded some modest achievements.

Within 44 days, the House passed several motions, with far-reaching resolutions arrived at. Moreover, the House passed a bill on the provision of palliatives to cushion the impact of the fuel subsidy removal. Over 400 bills were introduced on the floor of the House, out of which Speaker Abbas sponsored over 10. In the just concluded 9th Assembly, he sponsored the highest number of bills – 74 – out of which 21 were signed into law.

Away from bills, the 10th House under Speaker Abbas has so far constituted numerous ad hoc committees to carry out various investigations that would bring about good governance and address socio-economic issues affecting Nigerians. One of such committees is that on gas flaring, which was inaugurated on Monday, July 24. There was also an ad hoc committee to investigate personnel recruitment and employment racketeering in some government agencies. Many other ad hoc panels were constituted by the House within just 44 days since the inauguration. The 10th House was also able to screen and confirm, with dispatch, the Service Chiefs appointed by President Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Concerned by the then planned strike by the Nigeria Association of Resident Doctors (NARD), Speaker Abbas called a meeting with the leadership of the resident doctors on Monday, July 24, 2023, where he pleaded for two weeks of grace period for the House to resolve the matter. The Speaker also constituted an ad hoc committee headed by Prof. Ihonvbere to address the matter. He also met with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu and briefed him on the matter. He pleaded with the president to intervene.

However, one bold decision that the Speaker Abbas-led leadership took was that on the Standing Committees of the House. The selection process was, no doubt, a Herculean task, but Speaker Abbas, alongside other members of the Selection Committee, was able to weather the storm.

Notable among the Standing Committees is the Committee on Constitution Review which is traditionally chaired by the Deputy Speaker of the House, and in this 10th Assembly, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu. There is also the Committee on Appropriation, headed by Hon. Abubakar Kabir Bichi (APC, Kano).

Expectations were high because, as the saying goes, to whom much is given, much is required. Speaker Abbas was given much because his emergence was unprecedented. He polled a total of 353 votes out of the 359 votes cast on the day of inauguration, the highest in the history of the House.

Knowing the burden on his shoulders, Speaker Abbas Tajudeen confronted the bull by the horn. He was dispassionate and unbiased. Like he said, the selection process was guided by the capacities, experiences, knowledge, competencies, skills and legislative interests of members to have “round pegs in round holes.”

It came to many as a surprise that the Speaker was able to accommodate as many lawmakers as possible, including those that vehemently opposed his aspiration. For example, the former Deputy Speaker, Rt. Hon. Ahmed Idris Wase, and Hon. Aminu Sani Jaji, who were on the ballot on June 13 alongside the Speaker, were made the chairmen of the Committee on Federal Character and Committee on Ecological Fund respectively.

Again, the former chairman of the Committee on Appropriations, Hon. Muktar Aliyu Betara, who was in the contest for speakership before he stepped down for Abbas at the 11th hour, got the chairmanship of the Committee on the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), while Yusuf Gagdi, another aspirant that stepped down late in the day, retained his Committee on Navy, which he chaired in the 9th House.

There were other members who opposed his aspiration at the beginning, but they also got the chairmanship of committees. Speaker Abbas’ style is that of a leader who wants to see a united house where everyone is carried along irrespective of their leanings. That much was evident in his handling of the onerous task of constituting the committees’ leadership.

In terms of spread, Speaker Abbas Tajudeen was applauded for doing an impressive job. The chairmen and deputy chairmen were spread across the board – the North and South, and between the ruling APC and the opposition political parties.

The Standing Committees were essentially “for members to begin to respond to the yearnings of our Constituents through the discharge of our Constitutional obligations,” as the Speaker noted in his address during the announcement and inauguration of the panels.

The Speaker did not mince words when he said, “The inauguration of standing committees today, not only marks the completion of the initial phase of settling down but also underscores our dedication to efficient governance.”

Indeed, it was a difficult task. Speaker Abbas confessed to this in his speech, when he said, “we had to cope with the onerous task of assigning members to the different committees based on the criteria listed earlier.”

In a house of 360 members, truly, “not everybody will be satisfied in terms of choice of committees.” For emphasis, “it is practically impossible to make every member a Committee Chairman or Vice Chairman.” But the Speaker reminded his colleagues, “that there are limitless opportunities within the House, and I assure you that we will provide these opportunities for every member desirous of service to so do.”

In the end, “While the outcome may not be perfect, favourable and satisfactory to all, I have no doubt that the Selection Committee has done what could be considered to be in the best interest of the House and the nation.”

Speaker Abbas assured his colleagues that “There are no grade ‘A’ nor the so-called ‘juicy committees’ as some erroneously often think. Every committee of the House enjoys equal status, powers and privileges as mere working groups to discharge the mandate given to us by our constituents.

“Let me state unequivocally that all members of Committees have equal status and must be carried along as such. Committee Chairmen are only administrative heads who must ensure the involvement of every member in the activities of Committees. The principle of team work should guide our engagements in these committees.”

With the announcement and inauguration of the Standing Committees, it is safe to say that the 10th House has taken off properly, and Nigerians can sit, relax and await the goodies that the lawmakers have to offer for the good governance of the country with Speaker Abbas Tajudeen, Ph.D as the pilot.

Krishi is the Special Adviser on Media and Publicity to the Speaker, House of Representatives.

Post a Comment

Idan kuna da tambaya akan abinda Baku game ba ko kuma kuma Neman littafin da babu a nan kawai ku ajiye tambayarku a ta comment ko wani shawara da Zaku bamu.

Previous Post Next Post

Sponsored Link

Sponsored Post