Constitution review, PIB, others top agenda as Reps resume

KEY issues, including the task of completing the constitution review process, the Petroleum Industries Bill (PIB), consideration of committee reports and strengthening of the oversight functions of the legislature will form the crux of business in the House of Representatives when the parliament resumes on Tuesday from its annual recess. 

Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs, Zakari Mohammed, who gave the indication during a press conference in Abuja on Friday, said the Chamber will also look at other contending issues arising from the protracted Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike as the House hit the ground running in addressing the other myriad of challenges requiring legislative attention.

 

But the House spokesman who refused to be categorical, said the House may also “consider on merit,” the issue of bickering among some members of the House of the Representatives over the alleged plot to impeach President Goodluck Jonathan, as well as the crisis rocking the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). 

Deputy Minority Leader, Suleiman Abdulrahman Kawu, last week dismissed alleged plans by the lawmakers to initiate impeachment move against Jonathan when parliament resumes, adding that, “impeachment of the president is not on our agenda as a parliament and as such it is a figment of anybody’s imagination to suggest anything like that.”

He also alleged that there was a subterranean plot by some elements to use the unfolding crisis in the PDP to cause division among the lawmakers. 

But the Chairman, House Committee on Finance, Abdulmumin Jibrin, condemned Kawu for the statement credited to him, stating that the Deputy Minority Leader had no mandate to speak for the House.

Jibrin argued in a statement that impeachment is a vital tool of constitutional democracy, just as he indicated that members already have a number of issues that would shape proceedings in the House when the National Assembly resumes this week.

Fielding questions on the matter at the weekend, the House spokesman argued that, “the issue of impeachment would be looked at according to its merit. I am not ruling out the possibility of it or otherwise, but it is the floor that will determine what happens. If issues come out from the floor we will address them according to their own merit.

“We are a product of the issues that are generated on the floor, and we will address them accordingly. As it is now all of us are dancing in the marketplace and there is no hiding place for anybody. The issues are there and all of us are following them. The floor generates issues that are impeachable and issues that are not impeachable, and my colleagues will determine what happens on their merit,” he stressed.

By Terhemba Daka, September 16, 2013