*As Opposition Cries Foul Over Oil-Related Committees
ABUJA – Barring any last change of arrangements, the House of Representatives Speaker, Femi Gbajabiamila will announce the list of committee chairmen, Daily Independent can report.
This is as members of the minority parties are complaining that key petroleum committees hitherto chaired by South-South lawmakers are being frittered away and given to members from non-oil producing States or region.
The list according to findings by this newspaper was initially billed for release in September when the House would have resumed back from its two months annual vacation.
But sources within the House told our reporter that the Speaker was convinced into releasing the list now so that whatever contention arising from it could be handled and resolved before the House resumes.
However, Daily Independent gathered that opposition lawmakers are feeling hard-done-by following information that key petroleum committees of the House may have been ceded to northerners to head.
A source who’s privy to happenings within the Selection Committee of the House stated that the Speaker was made to hand both Petroleum (Upstream) and Petroleum (Downstream) to head.
These committees according to the source have been traditionally chaired by lawmakers from the oil producing Niger Delta region with a few exceptions when a lawmaker from Oyo state chaired the committee on petroleum (Downstream).
“Have you heard whats happening with the issue of committee list?”, he asked, saying that “the Speaker has decided to give all the petroleum committees to members from non-oil producing States or region”.
Asked if the list as alleged has been finally okayed by the Speaker, the source said “the speaker has given in to pressure and blackmail that he was going to hand over key committees to the opposition”.
And as a loyal party man that he is, he wouldn’t want to be seen to be working against his party, but I’m sure that left to the Speaker, the right thing would be done to ensure that lawmakers from oil producing States are considered for those committees”, the source added.
It could be recalled that in the last three assemblies, the South South had a fair share of the major oil related committees.
In the Aminu Tambuwal led House, Dakuku Peterside of Rivers State headed committee on Petroleum Resources, (Downstream), Muraino Ajibola of Oyo state headed committee on Petroleum Resources, (Upstream) while Hon. Ewah Henshaw from Akwa Ibom was in charge of Gas Resources.
Under Yakubu Dogara, Victor Nwokolo of Delta State headed committee in Petroleum Resources, Upstream, Joseph Akinlaja of Ondo State headed committee on Petroleum Resources, Downstream and this trend had remained.
Attempts by our correspondent to get reaction from the House minority leader, Godwin Ndudi Elumelu was unsuccessful as visits to his office revealed that he was at a meeting at the PDP national Secretariat.
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