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Reps Besiege Tambuwal's Homes To Lobby For Committe Appointment

Many members of the House of Representatives now besiege the residences of the Governor of Sokoto State, Mr. Aminu Tambuwal, to lobby for appointment as House committee chairmen, The PUNCH learnt on Monday.

Findings showed that the governor’s official residence in Sokoto town and another house in Abuja were frequently visited by the members, who believed he could still influence things at the House in their favour.

Tambuwal is the immediate-past Speaker of the House.

He was widely believed to have canvassed the candidacy of the incumbent Speaker, Mr. Yakubu Dogara, behind the scenes in the run-up to the June 9 election of presiding officers.

Dogara had won the speakership by defeating the current House Majority Leader, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila, by eight votes.

Dogara, said to be a strong ally of Tambuwal, headed one of the most powerful committees, Committee on House Services, during the 7th Assembly under the former speaker’s administration.

Investigations showed that the lawmakers’ visits to Tambuwal’s house intensified soon after the House resolved its 49-day leadership tussle two weeks ago and turned attention to the composition of House standing committees.

Last week, Dogara had set up the Selection Committee, a body headed by him and which has the primary duty of naming standing committee chairmen and members.

Dogara is scheduled to inaugurate the Selection Committee on Tuesday (today).

A National Assembly official disclosed that among the lobbyists were some former committee members, who served under Tambuwal and still banked on his support to get new placements.

There were also said to be those members who felt they contributed more to Dogara’s electoral victory and needed Tambuwal to add some voice to their ambition by speaking to his successor on their behalf.

“They have been trooping to the governor’s houses, both in Sokoto and Abuja. It is about the committee issue, mainly. It is a delicate situation which requires some tact to handle.

“There are days that up to 15 members will visit,” the official said.

It was gathered that the former Speaker, in his “usual clever and accommodating approach,” allegedly attended to the members but made no commitments.

There are about 94 committees in the House, but not all of them are considered as worthwhile by the lawmakers, who see some committees as ‘juicy.’

Investigations revealed that the most sought committees remained Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream); Committee on Petroleum Resources (Downstream); Committee on Appropriation; Committee on Finance; Committee on Communications; Committee on Power; Committee on Works; Committee on Customs; Committee on NDDC; Committee on Electoral Matters; Committee on Gas; Committee on Aviation; Committee on Banking/Currency; Committee on House Services; Committee on Water Resources; Committee on Agriculture; Committee on Education; and Committee on Defence.

When contacted for comments, Tambuwal’s Special Adviser on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Imam Imam, told The PUNCH that as a former Speaker, his boss was at liberty to interact freely with lawmakers. But he dismissed insinuations that it was all about committee appointments.

“It is wrong to conclude that a meeting with His Excellency is about committees,” Imam said.

But, the Chairman, House Ad hoc Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Mr. Sani Zoro, told The PUNCH that there was no need for lawmakers to lobby or scramble for committees as Dogara’s selection committee would use a transparent process to pick the chairmen and members.

According to Zoro, merit, ability to deliver, experience, and balance across all divides, will be used to determine the membership of the committees.

He explained that this was the reason the selection committee had among its members, state, party and zonal caucus members.

Zoro claimed that much of the membership of the committees would have been determined by the caucuses, using the aforementioned criteria, before the completed forms would be returned to the selection committee.

“Again, lobbying or scrambling, if it exists, will be against the change mantra of the All Progressives Congress-led administration.

“If that happens, it means we are giving the impression that there will be business as usual.

“Dogara will not encourage that type of development, hence the criteria for selecting the committees are as indicated above,” he added
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