THE SUN-——THE much-awaited composition of the Senate standing committees was yesterday, unveiled by Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki. There were surprises and disappointments.
The Senate President, who had been battling forces within and outside the chamber to keep his seat, assigned some of the Grade A or otherwise juicy committees to his diehard opponents like his main rival, Senator Ahmed Lawan, who chairs the Senate Committee on Defence.
Similarly, Senator George Akume, who also ran for the Senate presidency, is in charge of Army. Dino Melaye, one of his foot soldiers who hitherto acted as the spokesman of the chamber, now chairs the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Committee.
The current arrangement indicates an additional committees to the former 57 which the Seventh Senate had. A further breakdown of the figure shows that the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) got 41 committee chairmen, while the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) secured 24.
With the 55 positions filled, the Senate is silent on the remaining two committees.
Members of the Senate Unity Forum (SUF), a group of lawmakers, who had supported Lawan’s Senate presidency project, got committees on Defence, Police Affairs, National Planning, Housing and Women Affairs. Senator Barnabas Gemade is the Chairman, Housing Committee.
Also, Senator Abu Ibrahim, a strong member of the SUF, is the Chairman, Police Affairs, while Senator Oluremi Tinubu will take charge of Women Affairs. Other members of the SUF, who got chairmanships are Senator Gbenga Ashafa (Land Transport) and Kabiru Marafa (National Identity Card).
The headship of other committees include Senators Ahmed Sani (Marine Transport); Mohammed Ohiare (Public Procurement)); Ali Wakili (Poverty Alleviation), James Manager (Power); Ben Murray-Bruce (Privatisation); Ajayi Borrofice (Science and Technology); Abdullahi Adamu (Agriculture); Godfrey Utazi (Anti-corruption and Financial Crimes); Danjuma Goje (Appropriation); Hope Uzodinma (Aviation).
Others are Isiaka Adeleke (Capital Market); Matthew Urhoghide (Culture and Tourism); Adamu Aliero (Customs and Excise), Joshua Lidani ( Drugs and Narcotics); Lanre Tejuoso (Health); Abdulfatai Buhari (ICT $Cybercrime); Abubakar Kyari (Independent National Electoral Commission); Enyinnaya Abaribe (Information and National Orientation)
Also announced are Aliyu Wamakko (Basic and Secondary Education); John Enoh (Finance); Monsurat Sunmonu (Foreign Affairs); Shaaba Lafiagi (National Security and Intelligence); Duro Faseyi (Air Force); Rafiu Ibrahim (Banking, Insurance and other Financial Institutions).
Others are Gilbert Nnaji (Communications); Sani Danladi (Co-operation and Integration in Africa and NEPAD); Rose Oko (Diaspora and Civil Societies); Uche Ekwunife (Downstream Petroleum); and Bukar Abba Ibrahim (Ecology and Climate Change).
Included are Suleiman Nazif (Employment, Labour and Productivity); Olaka Nwogu (Environment); Emmanuel Paulker (Establishment and Public Service); Salihu Egye (Federal Character and Inter-governmental Affairs); and Bassey Albert (Gas)
Also on the list are George Sekibo (Interior); Usman Nafada (Inter-parliamentary Affairs); Sam Egwu (Industry); David Umaru (Judiciary, Human Rights and Legal Matters); Shehu Sani (Local and Foreign Debts); Aliyu Abdullahi (Media and Public Affairs); Rabiu Kwankwaso (National Planning and Economic Affairs).
Recall that the Senate had earlier set up four special committees, Rules and Business (Babajide Omoworare); Senate Services, (Ibrahim Gobir), Ethics, Privileges and Public Petitions (Samuel Anyanwu) and Public Accounts (Andy Ubah).
In his earlier remarks before the announcement, Saraki warned the chairmen and their members to ensure that they hold regular meetings to evolve ways of strengthening their oversight functions, stressing that the Eight Senate must do things differently to achieve positive results.