Standing Committees of the 10th Senate, were inaugurated Tuesday nearly four months after take off. TAIYE ODEWALE reports
Prelude to the Committees’ inauguration
Like other Senates before it and in line with parliamentary procedures, weeks after the inauguration of the 10th Senate on Tuesday, June 13, 2023, with emergence of Senator Godswill Akpabio as President and Barau Jibrin as Deputy President, some special committees were hurriedly constituted for operational purposes.
The Special Committees constituted, were those of Senate Services, saddled with the responsibility of allocation and furnishing of offices for Senators, selection committee, saddled with the responsibility of assigning standing committees for serving senators as Chairman, Vice Chairman or member.
Other special committees constituted in June, were Rules and Business, saddled with the responsibility of preparing Order Papers for legislative businesses during plenary sessions, Public Accounts Committee, saddled with the responsibility of receiving and considering Audit reports from the office of Auditor – General of the Federation, Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions Committee, saddled with responsibility of looking into petitions submitted to the Senate by any aggrieved Nigerian on perceived injustice against the petitioner etc.
In July, the 10th Senate, like other ones before it, appointed its principal officers for full operations at plenary sessions which however does not cover oversight functions carried out on agencies of government through its standing committees.
Importance of the Standing Committees
For purpose of oversight functions as earlier stated and as provided for, by relevant provisions of the 1999 Constitution, the Senate like the House of Representatives, required specified number of standing committees for direct interface with agencies of government across the various sectors on how monies appropriated are utilised or spent.
During the 4th and 5th National Assembly, the Standing Committees, 45 in the Senate, were increased to 57 during the sixth and seventh National Assembly and 65 during the 9th National Assembly.
For the purposes of increasing number of the standing committees from 65 to whatever number, the 10th Senate on Saturday, August 5, 2023, amended its rules to give room for that.
The amendment made the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio, increased the number of the committees.from 65 to 74 in the announcement made on Monday, August 7, 2023.
74 Standing Committees announced in August
The 74 Standing Committees earlier announced on the 7th of August, 2023 by the President of the Senate were: Appropriations, chaired by Senator Solomon Adeola (APC Ogun West), Finance, chaired by Senator Sani Musa (APC Niger East), Power, chaired by Senator Enyinnaya Abaribe (APGA Abia South), Aviation, chaired by Senator Abdulfatah Buhari (APC Oyo North), Banking, Insurance and other Financial Matters, chaired by Senator Tokunbo Abiru (APC Lagos East) and Housing and Urban Development, chaired by Senator Aminu Waziri Tambuwal (PDP Sokoto South).
Others are Senators Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah (Anambra South) States and Local Government Affairs, Akwashiki Godiya (SDP Nasarawa North) Airforce , Aliyu Wadada (SDP Nasarawa West) Public Accounts, Osita Izunaso (APC Imo West) Capital Market, Cyril Fasuyi (APC Ondo Central) Establishment and Public Services and Udende Emmanuel, Anti Corruption and Financial Crimes, Seriake Dickson (PDP Bayelsa West), Ecology and Climate Change, Adams Oshiomhole (APC Edo North) Interior and Jide Ipisagba (APC Ondo North) Petroleum Downstream.
Also announced as Chairmen of standing committees among the first constituted 74 were Senators Ahmad Lawan (APC Yobe North) Defence , Kaka Shehu Lawan (APC Borno Central) Special Duties, Idiat Oluranti (APC Lagos West) Sustainable Development Goals , Patrick Ndubueze (Works), Usaini Babangida (FERMA),
Abdulaziz Yar’adua ( APC Katsina Central) Army, Isa Jibrin (APC Kogi East) Customs and Excise, Sahabi Ya’u (APC Zamfara North) Cooperation and Integration NEPAD, Ishaku Elisha (APC Adamawa North) Culture and Tourism, Victor Umeh (LP Anambra Central) Diaspora and NGO, Dankwambo Ibrahim (PDP Gombe North) Drugs and Narcotics and Senator Lawan Adamu Usman (Education Basic and Secondary).
Others are Senators Diket Plang (APC Plateau Central) Employment and Productivity, Akintunde Yunus (APC Oyo Central) Environment, Imasuen Neda (LP Edo South) Ethics and Public Petitions, Ibrahim Bomai (APC Yobe South) FCT, Allwell Iheanacho (PDP Rivers) Federal Character and Governmental Affairs, Sani Bello (APC Niger North) Foreign Affairs, Jarigbe Agom Jarigbe (PDP Cross River North) Gas, Banigo Ipalibo (PDP Rivers state) Health and Senator Eteng Williams (APC Cross River South) Petroleum Upstream.
Also listed as chairmen of the earlier announced 74 standing committees are Senators Abdulaziz Yari (APC Zamfara West) Water Resources, Sadik Umar (Trade and Investment), Osita Ngu (Solid Minerals), Dandutse Muntari (Tertiary Education and TETFUND), Benson Agadaga (Oil and Gas Host Communities), Abdulhamid Maikori (Police Affairs), Aliyu Wammako (Local and Foreign Debts), Afolabi Salisu (ICT and Cyber Crime), Alli Sharafadeen (INEC), Francis Fadahunsi (Industries), Adamu Aliero (Land Transportation), Ohere Sadiku (Local Content), Abdul Ningi (National Identity and Population Commission) and Yahaya Abdullahi (National Planning and Economic Affairs).
Others are Senators Umar Shehu (APC Bauchi South) National Security and Intelligence), Gbenga Daniel (APC Ogun East) Navy, Mpigi Barinada (PDP Rivers State) Niger Delta, Monday Ogberu (LP Edo Central) Public Procurement, Titus Zam (APC Northwest) Rules and Business, Eze Emeka (Information and National Orientation), Mohammed Tahir Monguno (Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters), Yemi Adaramodu (APC Ekiti South), Youth and Sports and Senator Sunday Karimi (APC Kogi West) Senate Services).
Others are Senators Ireti Kingibe (LP FCT) Women Affairs, Aminu Iya Abbas (PDP Adamawa Central) Science and Technology, David Jimkuta (APC Taraba South) Social Welfare and Poverty Alleviation, Danjuma Goje (APC Gombe Central) Inter Parliamentary Affairs, Orji Uzor Kalu (APC Abia North) Privatisation, Ibrahim Lamido (Primary Health Care Development and Disease Control), Yemi Adaramodu (Media and Public Affairs), Musa Madobi (Legislative Compliance), Mustapha Saliu (APC Kwara Central), Agriculture and Rural Development, Aliyu Bilbis (PDP Zamfara Central), Communication, Sani Wasiu Eshinlokun (APC Lagos Central) Marine Transport, Asuquo Ekpenyong (NDDC), Francis Ezenwa (LP Imo East) NASENI and the Deputy President of the Senate, Barau Jibrin (APC Kano North) Constitution Amendment).
Additional 9 committees
In what looked like dousing tension in the Senate among aggrieved Senators over composition of the earlier announced 74 Standing Committees, the Senate last week announced composition of additional Nine standing committees, which made total number of its committees, to be 83 now.
The additional Nine Committees as stated in a motion moved to that effect by the Senate Leader, Opeyemi Bamidele (APC Ekiti Central), are Committee on Atomic and Nuclear Energy, which would oversee the Nigeria Nuclear Energy Regulatory Commission, Nigeria Atomic Energy Commission and their annual budget estimates.
It also bifurcated the Committee on Federal Capital Territory (FCT) into two different standing committees namely the Committee on FCT and Committee on FCT Area Councils.
It similarly divided the Committee on Sports into two standing committees to now reflect the Committee on Sports Development as well as Committee on Youth and Community Engagements.
Similar division was also made of its committee on Solid Minerals, Steel Development and Metallurgy splited into the Committee on Solid Mineral Development and the Committee on Mines and Steel Development etc.
Expected Chairmen and Vice Chairmen of the additional nine committees .
As inauguration of the entire 83 standing committees, is to be done today as announced by the President of the Senate last week, names of chairmen and Vice Chairmen for the committees, would also be announced.
In calming frayed nerves of Senators perceived to have been sidelined in August , when the first 74 standing committees were announced, feelers from leadership of the Senate indicate that Senators like Summaila Kawu (NNPP Kano South), Abba Moro (PDP Benue South) etc, may be considered for chairmanship position of any of the newly created nine additional committees.