*Replaced by the House
MUSA BABA AHMED, JONAS EZIEKE, Abuja
Not impressed by the calibre of committee given to him to chair, the immediate past Deputy Minority Whip of the House of Representatives, Hon. Garba Mohammed Datti yesterday, announced his rejection of chairmanship of the House Committee on Solid Minerals, offered him last week by Speaker Yakubu Dogara.
Hon. Datti, a former Principal Officer in the 7th House under Tambuwal alleged negligence on the part of the House leadership saying that he was not consulted before being named as a committee chairman.
Returning to the 8th House as a member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Hon Datti had during Tuesday plenary session presided over by the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Yussuf Lasun raised a point of order bothering on matters of privilege and personal explanations, after which he said he was withdrawing from the chairmanship of the committee, but was noted by Lasun.
The lawmaker who staged a walkout just after the incident however explained that his action was not based on any grievances, as he pledged his loyalty and support for the current leadership of the House, but rather on his “principled disposition” as a democrat.
The House leadership according to the chairman, committee on Media and Public Affairs, Abdulrasak Sa’ad Namdas subsequently replaced Hon. Garba Datti with another APC lawmaker from Kaduna, Hon. Samaila Suleiman, a first-timer representing Kaduna North Federal Constituency.
Namdas confirmed the replacement of Hon. Datti without actually disclosing who took the decision to replace the want-out lawmaker as Speaker, Yakubu Dogara is yet to return from his pilgrimage to Israel.
Speaker Dogara had on Thursday last week named over 90 standing and special committees for the House, coming after weeks of apprehension, saying that the action was based on the need to comply with the revised standing orders of the lower chamber of the National Assembly as well as the federal character.
Speaking outside the chamber, Hon. Datti said: “I feel as a former principal officer, I should have been consulted before my name was announced. I just heard of it on the floor. And I have my own principles. I have decided on my own to withdraw as the chairman of that committee”, he stated.
Responding to further prompting on other possible issues leading to his action, Datti who represents Sabon Gari Federal Constituency of Kaduna state further explained that his withdrawal as was a personal decision and not as a result of any external influence or considerations.
Also on why he did not decline the appointment immediately after his name was announced last Thursday, Datti said: “I have to find out what happened first before I took my decision. And it is only today (yesterday) that the approval has been given. For that reason, I decided to withdraw”.
Continuing, he said: “I should have been consulted. If the president wants to appoint his ministers, I think before the announcement he has to consult them.”
He however expressed confidence in the Dogara-led House, adding that the Speaker was democratically elected by the 360 members of the parliament.
“I don’t have any qualms with the leadership as presently constituted, because the election was democratically done here. The election was done. I am not against anybody but I am against the decision of coming to announce my name without consulting me. That is my reason,” he submitted.