Akpabio, Abbas Move To Pacify Aggrieved Lawmakers, Rejig Committees

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As the Senate gears up to resume today after its annual recess, reports indicate that Senate President Godswill Akpabio and Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Tajudeen Abba are planning to rejig the standing committees of the National Assembly.

Bellnews reports that some aggrieved lawmakers are plotting to impeach Akpabio over his handling of the Senate Leadership selection and committee membership.

A National Assembly source told Leadership on Monday that Akpabio and Abbas were inundated with an avalanche of protests by their aggrieved colleagues during the holiday.

The duo reportedly assured lawmakers that they would review the exercise upon resumption of plenary today.

Akpabio and Abbas had adopted two options to accommodate the divergent interests of their colleagues, who were palpably disenchanted by the July 27 exercise when the chairmen and vice-chairmen of the various committees were allotted to the lawmakers.

Reliable sources close to the two presiding officers told our correspondent that they had agreed to swap the leadership of the committees as well as create new committees to accommodate the interests of the lawmakers, who were unpleasant before the National Assembly was shut down in July and August.

The decision to rejig the committees of the National Assembly was reaffirmed by Akpabio and Abbas at the retreat held at Ikot-Ekpene, Akwa Ibom State, on Thursday.

The composition of the committees and allocation of chairmen and vice-chairmen to the senators and representatives had generated protests and anger, with some aggrieved members threatening to unseat the presiding officers when the National Assembly resumes plenary.

An investigation by the publication revealed that the tension generated by the sharing of the committees in the Senate propelled the rumour of the plan to impeach the Senate president during the recess.

For instance, Bellnews further learned the three senators from Delta State vehemently protested that no chairmanship slot was allocated to any of them from the state.

The three senators, Senators Ned Nwoko (Delta North), Ede Dafinone (Delta Central), and Joel Onowakpo (Delta South), wrote a strongly-worded petition to Akpabio that they were all denied the benefit of heading any of the committees.

It was also learned that Speaker Abbas had been under fire during the holiday, especially by members of his support group, the Joint Task Group, which midwife his aspiration ahead of his election in June.

Members of the group headed by Hon. Usman Bello-Kumo (APC, Gombe) as chairman and Hon. Kingsley Chinda (PDP, Rivers) as co-chairmen felt cheated and slighted by Abbas in the allocation of the leadership of the committees.

Bello-Kumo and Chinda, who later became the minority leader of the House, asked Abbas to take serious steps to address the palpable marginalization of members of the group upon the resumption of the House.

One of the sources said, “The leadership of the various committees in the National Assembly is going to be rejigged to address perceived marginalisation and exclusion by some states and legislators.”

One other source disclosed that the latest development had triggered fresh jostling by the lawmakers for recognition to head either new committees or be given juicy committees in the planned swap of the leadership of the committees announced in July.

“The aggrieved lawmakers are hopeful and expectant that the presiding officers will ensure justice and fairness when the National Assembly reconvenes today so that everyone would be happy and move forward in the interest of the nation,” the source added.

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