Last week’s unveiling of standing committees for the House of Representatives seems to have elicited anger and tension in both the governing All Progressives Congress (APC) and the lower chamber.
The Speaker Tajudeen Abbas has jetted out of the country amid growing pressure.
Most ranking members and loyalists of Hon Murktar Betara and Idris Wase were either relegated to what a source in the party described as inconsequential committees or were outrightly shut out in the selection process allegedly coordinated and imposed on the Speaker from the presidential villa.
While Betara, a frontline speakership aspirant, had stepped aside 48 hours to the inauguration of the House, Wase ran against Abbas and lost, scoring a paltry three votes.
But a source at the National Working Committee (NWC) of the governing APC confided in our correspondent that several complaints from lawmakers who are prominent leaders of the party had been received since the committees were announced by the Speaker.
He however said no one was ready to convey such to the president, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, because of what he called “the need to avoid trouble”.
The party source said they have received several complaints and heard numerous comments since last Thursday when the Speaker announced the standing committees.
He added that the party Picshitz is likely to remain silent to avoid a clash with the new power bloc which is bent on calling the shots.
The source who did not want his name innprint said, “But we are worried that there appears to be a gathering storm because if care is not taken and our lawmakers are not placated and they move against the House Picshitz, we might find it difficult to contain and stop at any point. It might snowball into other things and linger for too long, and cause bigger troubles for us.
“How can the speaker give juicy committees, majority of them, to South West, especially Lagos. We know of course someone from the villa is responsible and trying to control the House, but the man ought to have been man enough to stand his ground at some points. How can we allow this to happen in our party and we all keep quiet? He took Works, Defence, Finance and even Agriculture to South West.
“Does it not show insensitivity that he gave a vital committee like Petroleum Upstream to the opposition? Are we trying to weaken our party for the opposition? Honestly, we are worried and disturbed. As we speak, about 84 lawmakers are neither chairmen, deputies nor in what they call friendship groups.
“It is even worse that some persons who were with either Betara or Wase but later voted for Abbas are victimised by the same forces. As at this moment, we are aware that disappointed lawmakers are now mounting pressure on the Appropriation Committee chairman to include them because they appear helpless.
“But the convention of the House is that each state shall have a representative in the Appropriation Committee and such cannot head or be deputy of any committee. Some smart ones who foresaw what was coming their way opted to be Appropriation Committee members but now, there is pressure to expand the committee. All these will have aftermath effects that will shake the House”.