NOW ONPOINT

All Eyes On The Senate As Saraki Set To Name Committee Chairmen.

The Nigerian Senate will be the cynosure of all eyes today as Senate president, Bukola Saraki is set to name the chairmen and vice-chairmen of committees in the upper chamber.

Senate President, Bukola Saraki.

Vanguard reports that tension has gripped senators especially as regards those who will be appointed to head juicy committees.

A source was quoted as saying ranking senators across party lines have vowed to resist any move to give them committees that are seen not to be influential.

It was gathered that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) senators met at the residence of former Senate president, Senator David Mark, over the issue last night.

According to Daily Trust, Saraki seems to have incurred the wrath of the PDP senators with t he confirmation of the former governor of Rivers state, Rotimi Amaechi, as a ministeron Thursday, October 27.

But the publication says Saraki is set to appease the aggrieved PDP senators with juicy committees in order to regain their support.

On its part, the Nigerian Pilot reports that the just concluded ministerial screening left Saraki in a political quandary.

The publication reports that the strength and base of Saraki, at the red chamber was the PDP senators but his base is reportedly shaking, because of the Amaechi’s saga.

Reports however says barring any last-minute change, the Senate president will unveil the list of chairmen tomorrow, November 4.

Asked in a text message if the Saraki’s appointments were ready to be announced, a principal officer replied:“No, we may finish the final touches tonight (yesterday).

According to another source, Saraki has increased the standing committees by eight, thereby moving it from 57 to 64 in order to carry so many senators along.
It will be recalled that the Speaker of the House of Representatives also recently increased the number of its standing committees from 89 to 95.

Meanwhile, the amended Senate Standing Rules 2015 prescribes equal committee chairmanship positions for each of the six geo-political zones of the country.

The provision as contained in Section 3(iv) of the 2015 Senate Standing Orders, does not exist in 2011 edition used during the Seventh Senate.

The implication of this amendment is that the zones controlled by the PDP will chair almost the same number of committees with those controlled by the ruling APC.

The section reads:“The appointment of senators as chairmen and members of committees shall be carried out in such a manner as to reflect the six geo-political zones of the country and there shall be no predominance of senators from a few geo-political zones.”

In a related development, some All Progressives Congress (APC) members of the House of Representatives have reportedly asked the speaker, Yakubu Dogara, to retrieve the oil and gas sector committee from the PDP.

The members, who are aggrieved over the decision of Dogara to give the PDP committees regarded as ”juicy”, expressed disgust at the speaker’s action.

It will be recalled that Dogara named the chairmen and deputy chairmen of 96 standing committees of the House on Thursday, October 22.

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