Thursday, July 21, 2016 9:31 pm
In a move believed to be aimed at appeasing the opposition he has been confronting since he took over the leadership of the upper chamber of the National Assembly over a year ago, Senator Bukola Saraki on Thursday reshuffled the leadership of 17 out of the 66 Standing Committees of the Senate.
In the reshuffle announced by the Saraki at the plenary, the Spokesman of the Senate Unity Forum, the major plank of opposition to the Senate President, Sen. Kabir Marafa, was announced as the chairman of the Senate Committee on Petroleum (Downstream).
The Unity Forum, a group of All Progressive Congress, APC lawmakers had opposed the emergence of Saraki as the Senate President.
The group supported Ahmed Lawan who was also APC’s favourite candidate for the position.
The group was behind a petition to the Police alleging forgery in the 2015 Standing Orders with which the election of Saraki and Ike Ekweremadu, his deputy was elected.
The Police is currently trying Saraki and Ekweremadu based on the petition.
The Senate had reportedly threatened the Senators, some of who have been slated as witnesses in the forgery trial with suspension if they did not withdraw the petition.
But Thursday’s move by Saraki may indicate that the Senate President and his supporters who have been urging him to wield the big stick against the opposing lawmakers are seeking a more peaceful path out of the crisis.
Other planks of opposition to the Senate President were also rewarded with leadership of ‘juicy, committees.
For instance, Sen. Oluremi Tinubu, who was Chairman Committee on Women Affairs took over the headship of the Senate Committee on Environment from Sen. Olaka Nwogu,who is awaiting the rerun of his election.
Saraki also announced the removal of Sen. Babajide Omoworare as Chairman of Committee on Rules and Business and made Chairman of Senate Committee on Legislative Compliance, a committee that was before now, not in existence.
Sen. Hope Uzodinma was removed as Chairman Committee on Aviation and made Chairman Committee on Customs, while Sen. Aliero Adamu, who was Chairman Committee on Import Duties took over from Sen Uzodinma.
Furthermore, Sen. Barau Jibrin was removed as head of Petroleum Downstream and made Head of Tertiary Institutions, while Sen. Binta Garba, who was head of Tertiary Institutions was made Head of Women Affairs.
Equally, Sen. Joshua Dariye, who was Head of Solid Minerals was made Head of Public Procurement, while Sen. James Manager, who was Head of Power is now Head of Solid Minerals.
Also, Sen. Enyinannya Abaribe, who was Head of Information is now Head of Power and Sen. Adokwe Suleiman was made Head of Information and Orientation.
In the same vein, Sen. Baba Kaka-Garbai was made Head of Rules and Business, while Sen. Tijjani Kaura was made Head of Federal Character and Sen. Suleiman Hunkuyi was made Head of National Identity.
Furthermore, Sen. Ahmed Ogembe was made Vice Chairman Marine Transport, Sen. Ovie Omo Agege was made Vice Chairman and Sen. Philip Aduda, is made Vice Chairman Petroleum Downstream.
The Senate thereafter adjourned sitting till Sept. 13.
In his remarks, Saraki enjoined lawmakers to use the period of the recess to complete outstanding reports.
“`As we are going on break, I want to appeal to senators that the committees with outstanding reports on bills, motions or investigations should please ensure that they are ready by beginning of the next session,’’ he said. (NAN)