10th NASS: Reps unveil 134 Standing C'mte Chairmen, deputies - NEWS FRONTIER DAILY


Thursday, July 27, 2023

10th NASS: Reps unveil 134 Standing C'mte Chairmen, deputies

House of Representatives, Thursday unveiled 134 Standing Committees for its oversight functions and other legislative activities for the 10th national assembly.

Speaker of the House, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas who announced the committees also named the Chairmen and their deputies.

Some of the Chairmen and their portfolios included Hon. Benjamin Kalu, the deputy speaker (Abia)-Constitution Review Committee; Hon. Abubakar Bichi (Kano)-Appropriations; Hon. Muhammed Elrufai (Kaduna)-Banking Regulations; Hon. Bamidele Salam (Osun)- Public Account; Hon. Ikenga Ikeagwuonu Ugochinyere (Imo)- Petroleum Resources (Downstream) Hon. Henry Okojie (Edo)- Petroleum Midstream; Hon. Victor Ogene (Anambra)- Renewable Energy; Hon. Amos Dunia- House services; Hon. Ibori Swenu (Delta) NDDC; Hon. Babajimi Benson (Lagos)-Defence; Hon. Hassan Fulata (Jigawa)-University Education and Hon. James Falake (Lagos)- Finance; Akin Alabi (Oyo) Media; Ginger Onwusibe (Abia)-Financial Crimes.

Others were Muktar Aliyu Betara (Borno)- FCT; Hon. Boma Goodhead (Rivers) Local Content; Hon. Wole Oke ( Osun) Judiciary; Hon. Ahmed Wase ( Plateau)- Federal Character; Hon. Abdulmumuni  Jibrin (Kano)- Foreign Affairs; Hon Akin Alabi (Oyo)-Works; Hon. Leke Abejide (Kogi)-Custome and Excise; Hon. Yusuf Gagdi-(Plateau)-Navy; Hon. Ado dogwa (Kano)-Petroleum Up -Stream and Hon. Peter Akpatason (Edo)- Aviation.

No juicy committees 

In his remarks, Abbas said there were no grade 'A'  or juicy committees.

He added that the status of every chairman was equal, warning that they must carry all the members of the committee along.

He said: "My dear Colleagues, you would recall that the leadership of the House has consistently assured members of its resolve to be fair to all, irrespective of political leanings and affiliations. 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.

"The committee system, aptly described as little legislatures by Woodrow Wilson, plays a crucial role in legislative bodies worldwide. Indeed, it serves as the fulcrum of the Legislature due to its central role in performing the bulk of legislative responsibilities and tasks. This system involves dividing the Legislature into smaller component units or working groups, which aims to enhance efficiency, improve productivity, facilitate legislative oversight of other branches of government, promote citizens’ participation in legislation, and enable detailed scrutiny of legislative instruments such as Bills and Motions.

"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.

"Committee Chairmen must ensure that there are functional secretariats for their respective committees. This is very crucial as the House is redefining legislative work at the Committees. All Committees are now required to submit regular reports of their activities to the leadership of the House on a quarterly basis. Investigative hearings, public hearings and reports from oversight functions have to be submitted to the House in plenary for further legislative action. Accordingly, the Committees should draw up their workplans and submit same to the Leadership of the House."

Be diligent, transparent, appointees told

Giving the appointees charge, Abbas asked them to be diligent and transparent in the discharge of their duties.

He said: "Honourable Colleagues, our responsibilities as lawmakers require diligence, probity, transparency, dedication and commitment to national interest. I therefore, charge you to be guided by these principles even as we embark on the oversight of other arms of government. We must see the powers of oversight given to us by the Constitution as a means to promote good governance through compliance to the laws of the land.

"While urging the legislative Committees to discharge their oversight functions dispassionately, may I solicit the cooperation of the Executive arm in this regard. Separation of powers does not mean separation of government. We are one and the same government with the sole purpose of providing services to the good people of this nation. We remain committed to a harmonious working relationship with the Executive in order to deliver on the mandate of the people. However, we will not fail to bring full legislative powers to bear on recalcitrant MDAs.

"Dear Colleagues, the ‘Open NASS’ project to which this House is committed, requires that in conducting committees' assignments, we should involve the citizens at all levels, including regular public hearings, oversight functions, investigative hearings as well as open other channels of engaging with the people at whose command, we are here.

Friendship Committees

Abbas also set up what he referred to as friendship committees to promote external engagements and interactions.

"In keeping with our desire to build and improve the capacity of members and staff, we have established Parliamentary Friendship Committees to promote engagement, interaction, exchange programmes and peer reviews with parliaments and parliamentary associations across the globe. This will enhance knowledge sharing and improve parliamentary practices and procedures.

"Owing to the high turnover in the Legislature witnessed in the last general elections and the coming on-board of these new committees, there is an urgent need to build the capacity of Chairmen of Committees and their Deputies to prepare them for the onerous task ahead. It is in this wise that I call on the National Institute for Legislative and Democratic Studies (NILDS) to immediately design a capacity building programme that will equip the leadership of our committees with the requisite knowledge and skill on committee management, oversight function, investigative hearing, public hearings and useful knowledge in this regard", he said.

Monitoring and Evaluation mechanism

Abbas also set up monitoring and evaluation framework to review the performances of the chairmen.

"Let me inform you that the House has developed a Monitoring and Evaluation framework for the performance assessment and review of committees. Accordingly, Committees will be regularly evaluated using the benchmark set out in the evaluation framework. Committees which fail to meet 70% in the evaluation will be reconstituted. In essence, there shall be no room for redundant or non-performing committees. In the light of this therefore, a Committee on Monitoring and Evaluation is one of the Committees being inaugurated today. This Committee is comprised of all the Principal Officers of the House and will be Chaired by my humble self", he said.

Selection was based on capacity, experience

Abbas however said that the selection committee which he chaired relied on capacity, experience amongst other considerations to arrive at nominations.

"The Selection Committee relied on the capacities, experiences, knowledge, competencies, skills and legislative interests of members in assigning colleagues to different committees. This, we did, to ensure that we have round pegs in round holes. Indeed, we had to cope with the onerous task of assigning members to the different committees on the basis of the criteria listed earlier. 

"Nonetheless, I am not unmindful of the fact that in spite of the painstaking efforts of the Selection Committee in setting up these committees, not everybody will be satisfied in terms of choice of committees. I particularly carry a very heavy burden to appreciate members for their unanimous endorsement of my aspiration to lead this House. However, it is practically impossible to make every member a Committee Chairman or Vice Chairman. But, let me remind you 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. 

"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 nation. It is, therefore, proper and fitting, at this juncture, to express my gratitude to members of the Selection Committee for their sacrifices and commitment in the constitution of the committees we are inaugurating today", he said.

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