BAYELSA: HOW LAWMAKERS RESOLVED BREWING SQUABBLE
BY SAMUEL OYADONGHA
TWENTY hours after proceedings on the floor of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly were disrupted over the composition of the House Standing Committees, the legislators may have resolved their differences as the Speaker Hon Nestor Binabo last Wednesday denied any knowledge of bickering among members.
The Speaker, who was visibly angry over media reports of an internal wrangling among members, described the protest by a member of the House against the earlier list of committees as a right allowed in democracy and should not be misconstrued as sign of division among members.
Proceedings on the floor of the House were Tuesday disrupted as principal officers were divided over the composition of the House standing committees.
The development prompted the Speaker to cancel the list of the constituted committees and called for a fresh list.
Binabo had already announced the Chairmen of the House committees on Rules and Business, House Services, Public Petition and Public Accounts as stipulated under Order 80 of the House when the leader of the House, Amalanyo Yousuo, representing Brass III, objected to the composition.
He accused the selection committee headed by the Speaker of not consulting other members before drawing up the membership of the committee.
The Speaker, Nestor Binabo, who was midway into the announcement of the list of Standing Committees chairmen and members, was interrupted by the House Leader with protest of exclusion from the decisions that led to the final list of the committee.
Yousuo's objection was supported by Walama Igrubia representing Ogbia constituency III.
In his protest, Yuosuo said as a prominent member of the selection committee, the list of committees before the House was not a decision of the majority.
'Many of us noted as members of the selection committee were not aware of the composition. I dissociate myself from the composition of the committee,' he said.
This, however, drew the ire of the Deputy Speaker of the House and the Vice Chairman of the selection committee, Fini Angaye (Kolokuma-Opokuma II), who argued that all members of the selection committee met and were aware of the composition of the House Standing Committees.
He said apart from personal interest, the issue raised by the Leader of the House was wrong.
In his submission, the member representing Ogbia constituency III,Walama Igrubia, said though there was a meeting among members of the selection committee, the agreement to meet later to deliberate on membership was never held.
'The committee met to nominate the chairmen of committees but we did not meet to select members. I stand on the truth and the list with the Speaker was never the outcome of the deliberations of the selection committee,' he said.
Speaker Binabo, who had earlier announced the Chairmen of the House Committees on Rules and Business, House Services, Public Petition and Public Accounts dumped the list following Yousuo's protest and asked the selection committee to meet again and come up with a list agreeable to all members.
'The list of members of the Standing Committee has been done by a few and I asked that a new selection be done and submitted to the House,' he said.
However, the contentious issue was resolved Wednesday at the resumed sitting of the House to the relief of all the parties.
But before the Speaker read out the new list, he drew the attention of the members to media reports alleging rumpus in the House. He said though the objections raised against the list of earlier committees had been resolved and a new list composed, the House was one and had agreed to work as one to protect the corporate interest of the state.
Binabo said the reported division was not right and that a protest by a member over an issue does not amount to division.
His words: 'The House was not divided. If a member put up an observation, it does not mean we are divided. The Bayelsa House is a whole and have agreed to work together for the benefit of those we represent. We are one and we remain one. While we are here to protect the corporate interest of the people, any member has the right to protest. As much as we are building a new society, we need the media to work with us.'
The Speaker later read out the list of chairmanship and members of the committees with most old members retaining the chairmanship of their old committees and new members heading others including the House Committee on Information and Culture and Ethics and Privileges headed by Peter Akpe (Sagbama I).
Also to head the Human Rights Committee is the Labour Party candidate and member representing Kolokuma/Opokuma I constituency, Tonye Isenah, and the elected member of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA) representing Ekeremor II,Victor Perezi is to head the House Committee on Labour and Productivity.
The only female member of the House and member representing Ekeremor I, Mrs. Agatha Goma is to head the Committee on Gender and Social Development and Health. Commonwealth medalist and member representing Southern Ijaw III constituency, Baraladei Igali heads the Committee on Sports. The House later adjourned to resume next month.