Publicly, members of the House of Representatives say that all is well in the lower house, but the signs show that things are far from okay. Supporters of Femi Gbajabiamila, the majority leader who contested for the speakership against Speaker Yakubu Dogara feel sidelined as the speaker gave the chairmanship positions of the key committees to his allies. In fact, contrary to the rules of the House, Dogara has been accused of not consulting with principal officers like Gbajabiamila before making the appointments.
The tension came to the fore when one of the newly appointed chairmen, Hon. Garba Muhammad Datti, rejected his appointment as chairman of the committee on solid minerals. Datti who is a Kaduna lawmaker walked out of the House chamber during plenary on Tuesday when the committee chairmen were announced. Now he has formally declined his position, citing the fact that he was not consulted before the appointment was made.
“I feel as a former principal officer I should have been consulted before my name was announced. I just heard of it on the floor. And I have my own principles. I have decided on my own to withdraw as the Chairman of that committee,” he said.
Datti, who was Deputy Minority Leader in the seventh assembly, added that the decision was personal and not taken based on any external influence. He also expressed confidence in the leadership abilities of Speaker Yakubu Dogara, and reiterating his loyalty to the APC.
Hon. Samaila Suleiman (APC Kaduna) has been appointed to replace Datti.