Disunity Among House Representatives Erupts Over Allocation of Lucrative Committees

…By Dorcas Funmi for TDPel Media. Members of the House of Representatives who supported the election of Honorable Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker and Honorable Benjamin Kalu as Deputy Speaker are reportedly facing disunity within the Joint Task of the 10th Assembly.

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The division stems from disagreements over the allocation of membership in coveted committees and leadership positions, leading to tensions within the group.

Fragmentation in the Joint Task

According to a report by Leadership Newspaper, the once-cohesive Joint Task is experiencing a breakdown in unity due to intense competition for membership in lucrative committees and leadership posts.

The desire for influence and control over these committees has caused rifts among lawmakers from various political parties.

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Formation and Composition of the Joint Task

The Joint Task of the 10th Assembly was established on April 12 by a group of lawmakers from different political parties, including the APC, PDP, Labour Party, New Nigeria Peoples Party, Social Democratic Party, All Progressives Grand Alliance, and Young Progressive Party.

Initially consisting of 283 newly elected members, the coalition aimed to work collectively in the House.

APC National Working Committee’s Support for Abbas and Kalu

Approximately one month after the formation of the Joint Task, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s nominations of Tajudeen Abbas as Speaker and Benjamin Kalu as Deputy Speaker received the endorsement of the APC National Working Committee (NWC).

The NWC’s decision was based on consultations and meetings held with President-elect Tinubu and other party leaders regarding the zoning arrangement for National Assembly leadership positions.

Significance of “Juicy Committees”

The House of Representatives is growing increasingly divided over the allocation of membership in what are considered “juicy committees.”

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These committees oversee Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government, possess substantial budgets, and hold influence within Nigerian legislative circles.

Examples of these committees include Appropriations, Finance, Defence, Police Affairs, and Health.

Allocation of Committees and Leadership Positions

Speaker Abbas, upon assuming his role, assigned himself and Deputy Speaker Kalu as the chairman and deputy chairman, respectively, of special committees.

Each state’s caucus and the FCT had to select a delegate to sit on the committee responsible for creating standing committees and choosing their leaders.

Struggles for Committee Membership and Leadership

The allocation of committee positions has caused disagreements within the Joint Task.

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Junior and senior members from both the ruling party and the opposition are demanding equal say in determining the speaker and equal allocation of committee leadership and membership.

Some new lawmakers from minority parties feel they have been excluded and are advocating for their fair share of committee positions.

Challenges Faced by the Joint Task

Discontent among members of the Joint Task is intensifying, as returning lawmakers are not being patient enough to allow their newly elected colleagues to oversee significant committees.

Opposition party members, including those from smaller parties, are vying for leadership posts in committees traditionally accessible only to the ruling APC.

The allocation of committee positions has become a subject of arbitrary decision-making by members of the ruling and ranking parties.

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Intra-Party Dynamics and Prominent Figures

Several figures within the Joint Task are maneuvering to secure positions of influence.

Usman Bello Kumo and Kingsley Ogundu Chinda, co-chairmen of the Joint Task, have made their own moves, and Muktar Aliyu Betara considered running for House Leader to free up a seat for James Faleke.

Tensions and Call for Fair Allocation

The struggle for committee membership and chairmanship is causing significant tensions within the Joint Task.

Lawmakers from minority parties argue that

they deserve a fair share, given their contribution to the emergence of the principal officers.

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However, some members of the ruling party are accused of not being sensitive to their concerns, despite the commitment made before supporting the Abbas/Kalu ticket.

Conclusion:

The House of Representatives is witnessing disunity within the Joint Task of the 10th Assembly due to disputes over the allocation of lucrative committees and leadership positions.

The desire for control and influence over these committees has led to tensions among lawmakers from different political parties.

The challenge lies in balancing the demands of both returning and newly elected members while ensuring fairness and equitable representation in committee assignments.

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