‘302 Reps won’t return to House in June’

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About 302 out the 360 members of the House of Representatives will not return to their seats when   the 8th session of the National Assembly will be inaugurated on June 6, investigation by this paper has shown.

Leading the pack are the Speaker,   Aminu Tambuwal; the Deputy Speaker,  Emeka Ihedioha; the House Majority Leader, Mulikat Akande-Adeola; the Chief Whip,   Ishaka Bawa; the Minority Whip,   Sampson Osagie; and the Deputy Minority Leader,   Abdulrahman Suleiman-Kawu.

Other prominent non-returning lawmakers are a former Chairman, Adhoc Committee on Fuel Subsidy Probe,   Farouk Lawan; and the Chairman, House Committee on Petroleum Resources (Upstream),   Ajibola. Muraina.

Lawan, also a former chairman, House Committee on Information and House Committee on Education, was first elected to the House in 1999.

While Tambuwal, Ihedioha and other principal officers vied for either governorship or senatorial positions, the majority of the lawmakers lost their re-election bid during the March 28 National Assembly election, leaving just about 58, who scaled through the hurdles.

The PUNCH had reported earlier in December 2014 that over 155 lawmakers failed across political parties to secure return tickets at their party primaries. More losses were recorded at the main election on March 28.

In 2011, about 99 lawmakers returned from the 2007 set.

The PUNCH findings on Sunday showed that the Peoples Democratic Party recorded the heaviest losses, as more results of the elections became available on Sunday.

The PDP   had less than 160 members before the March 28 election from its original majority strength of 208 in June 2011, owing to mass defection to the All Progressives Congress.

Investigations indicated that the performance of the PDP at the poll still left it with a membership figure under 150.

A National Assembly official told The PUNCH on Sunday that with many members of the PDP exiting the House, the APC had a clear majority.

He said, “The APC is in the majority clearly; it doesn’t call for debate, judging from the outcome of the elections.

“We are talking of above 200 members now and the preoccupation is how the party will constitute the next House by picking its leaders.”

The PUNCH learnt that states with the highest number of members also failed most to return their old members.

For instance, all but six out of the 24 lawmakers from Lagos State did not make it to the next Assembly.

The successful six are the current Minority Leader, Femi Gbajabiamila; Abayomi Ayeola; James Faleke; Jide Akintoye; Yakub Balogun and Dauda Kako-Are.

Similarly, not up to 10 of Kano’s 24 members survived the keenly-contested elections.

Kaduna State has 16 members, but not up to 10 are returning. Same for Benue State whose six, out of 11 legislators failed to win the election.

The returning lawmakers in Benue are Herman Hembe (APC); John Dyegh (APC); Ezekiel Adaji (PDP); Sampson Okwu (PDP)   and. Emmanuel Udende (PDP).

All six new comers are from the APC, giving the party eight lawmakers in the House out of the 11 representing Benue State.

Akwa Ibom returned only two out of 10 while Bayelsa returned only one member out of six.

Abia State returned three of its eight lawmakers.

Reacting to the high turnover of members, the Chairman, House Committee on Electoral Matters, Jerry Manwe, described it as a “disaster.”

Manwe, a member of the Social Democratic Party, said the House would be “almost entirely new in June.”

Though, Manwe admitted that such was the “beauty of democracy,” he expressed reservations that the new environment would slow down legislative proceedings.

He said, “We are going to have a situation where so many people will have to learn everything from the scratch.

“Some will not even know why they are here; there will be a lot of challenges ahead, but this is democracy.

The Chairman, House Committee on Justice,   Ahmad Ali, also observed that the National Assembly would have the “uphill task” of training a new House as from June.

Ali said, “I don’t see the scenario in front of the House as easy; they will have to spend more money to train all these people afresh.

“It is a huge budget because you are throwing experience away for new hands, who can hardly do anything on their own without adequate training on legislative processes.”
Culled from The PUNCH

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