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SENATE: Tension as Lawan set to reorganize committees

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Aggrieved senators, predominantly members of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC),  are calling for a rejig of the headship of the Standing Committees.

Principal officers of the upper legislative chamber are not exempted from the list of those aggrieved. Although no one has openly protested, we have gathered that series of meetings have been held.

A principal officer who spoke to Nassnews in confidence, admitted that the names rolled out by Lawan were slightly different from what the 10 principal officers agreed on. The 10 principal officers make up the Selection Committee.

Lawan is the chairman while Deputy President, Ovie Omo-Agege, Senate Leader, Yahaya Abdallahi, Senate Minority Leader, Enyinnaya Abaribe; Senate Chief Whip, Orji Uzor Kalu; and other principal officers are members of the committee.

Breakdown of the sharing of the headship of the committees showed that the ruling APC got 49 chairmanship slots.

The PDP got 20 chairmanship slots only. Out of 23 acclaimed juicy committees, APC got 16, votes while PDP got seven.

On geopolitical zone basis, North West got 16. North East got 11. North Central got 10 while South West, South East and South South got  13, nine and 10 respectively.

Overall, southern states got 32 slots and northern states 37 chairmanship positions.

An aggrieved senator from the South West, said the committees they were appointed to head are not commensurate with the sacrifices they made in the emergence of Lawan as president of the Senate.

Although no senator has openly come out to voice his or her misgivings, some have, however, told our correspondent that if the fallout is not properly managed and corrections effected, it could lead to bad blood in the upper legislative chamber.

He said as a ranking senator, he ought to have been given a more ‘juicy committee’. He said certain committees specially reserved for ranking senators were offered to fresh lawmakers with no legislative experience.

For instance, two new senators were appointed to head one of the most sought-after committees – Senate Services. Sani Musa was appointed chairman, while Lawal Hassan emerged as vice chairman.

Two other first timers were appointed to head Interior committee. They are Kashim Shettima and Diri Douye. A ranking lawmaker who lobbied for the position, said he was betrayed at the last minute.

Mohammed Bulkachuwa and  Ignatius Longjohn who are first timers were appointed to head Foreign Affairs committee.

To douse the tension, Lawan may concede and rejig the headship of some of the committees under contention.

Already, he has met with a South West senator, who headed a vital department of his campaign organisation. Despite the appeal, the aggrieved lawmaker is still threatening to reject the appointment if corrections are not effected before the September 24 resumption date.

Ola Awoniyi, Lawan’s spokesman, said that the issues raised will be better addressed by the Senate spokesperson Adedayo Adeyeye. He declined further comments.

But Adeyeye could not be reached for comments. However, in a recent chat with newsmen in Abuja, he cautioned lawmakers to hold their peace.

He urged them to see the appointment as a national assignment that will promote the interest of the country.

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