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Dogara, What You're Doing Is Totally Wrong - APC's Hon Datti

House of Reps ranking member, Garba Datti Muhammed from Kaduna State rejected his appointment as chairman of the committee on Solid Minerals Development. He is the former Deputy Minority Leader in the 7th House. In this chat with The Nation's Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, he further elaborates on his reasons for rejecting the committee.

The issue of Committees had become an albatross, so much that you rejected your chairmanship of the Solid Minerals Committee. What were your reasons?
Well, I have already stated my reasons. Being a former principal officer and a senior member of the House, I thought as a democrat, in democracy, consultation is very necessary. So, I think I should have been contacted at least. To work as a committee chairman is to assist Mr. Speaker in running the House. And I think such critical thing, before being appointed, at least you'll be consulted. Like in the executive arm, the President cannot just announce you without consulting the people that will serve with him. That's one reason.

The other one, I'm a bit worried with the composition, about how the committees were shared. This is a government of change and we have been in the opposition for the last 16 years and the National Assembly has been controlled by the majority party, the PDP. Even in the last House in the 7th Assembly, we supported Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to emerge as Speaker, but at the end of the day, all the critical committees he shared it to his own party members - the PDP, people that did not even vote for him. But we were not worried because we knew they were the majority party and it's the practice all over the world...

You cannot as a party give all the sensitive committees to your opponent. It you can recall, just yesterday the National Publicity Secretary to PDP, Olise Metuh came out to say that all the members of the PDP should brace up and oppose this government.

So, if you're giving them such committees, what is the implication? For instance, there is agitation that the committee on PIB should be represented. If this PIB committee is represented, all the three Petroleum Committee were given to PDP members. So what do you think will be the outcome of that type of committee? So these are some of our fears and it portends a lot of danger to this our democracy.

How does it portend a danger to democracy?
In democracy, you are elected as a party and each party has its own manifestos. And to achieve that, there must be a synergy between the members of the majority party and the ruling party at the same time. So, if you have given such sensitive committees to the opposition and they're opposed to your policies, how do you achieve it?

You can now see what is happening in the United States Congress today Obama has been battling with the US House of Representatives because they control the majority. All his efforts about his health care programmes the Obamacare, aside that, lots of serious problems in the House because the majority of the Congressmen are members of the Republican Party. So, that partisanship, you can't take it out. Even in the Nigerian Senate, you saw what happened just yesterday (Wednesday). The PDP Caucus held a meeting to, take position on the nominations of Mr. president particularly that of Amaechi. So, you can see the danger of Mr. Speaker giving these kinds of committees to the opposition.

A member from your state, Sumaila Suleiman was given the committee that you dropped and he accepted it. Is it that you don't all share the same ideology of philosophy?
I don't know. Everybody has his own principle. I have my own and I don't know of his own he may have his own principle. We don't have to be the same. But all I know is that I've resigned that position as a chairman. Because my primary responsibility here is to represent my constituency and I am doing it exactly without being a committee chairman. It's not everybody that will be a committee chairman or deputy. More than half of the members will not be committee chairmen or deputies and they will still exist and they will still perform. I don't think it will affect my representation as a member.

Don't you think Nigerians will see your position on this matter and probably of other members that may toe the same line as a fight for pecuniary gains, rather than representation?
I don't know, other may go and fight for positions, but me, I did not ask anyone to give me any of these committees. I feel if I'm qualified I will be given and I have the right to accept it or reject it.

With the way things are going, with the polarization is this House going to achieve even as much as the last House did?
Well, I cannot say, I cannot predict what will happen. But all I know, I will continue to work for the interest of my own party that gave me the platform to contest. I will work to achieve that change that we have all been yearning for, so that Nigeria will be a better place for everybody.

What about the claims of the House that they did the selection in line with due process, fairness, justice as well as Federal character?
Anybody can say that. If that's how they see their justice and fairness, fine, good luck

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Dogara, What You're Doing Is Totally Wrong - APC's Hon Datti

House of Reps ranking member, Garba Datti Muhammed from Kaduna State rejected his appointment as chairman of the committee on Solid Minerals Development. He is the former Deputy Minority Leader in the 7th House. In this chat with The Nation's Victor Oluwasegun and Dele Anofi, he further elaborates on his reasons for rejecting the committee.

The issue of Committees had become an albatross, so much that you rejected your chairmanship of the Solid Minerals Committee. What were your reasons?
Well, I have already stated my reasons. Being a former principal officer and a senior member of the House, I thought as a democrat, in democracy, consultation is very necessary. So, I think I should have been contacted at least. To work as a committee chairman is to assist Mr. Speaker in running the House. And I think such critical thing, before being appointed, at least you'll be consulted. Like in the executive arm, the President cannot just announce you without consulting the people that will serve with him. That's one reason.

The other one, I'm a bit worried with the composition, about how the committees were shared. This is a government of change and we have been in the opposition for the last 16 years and the National Assembly has been controlled by the majority party, the PDP. Even in the last House in the 7th Assembly, we supported Aminu Waziri Tambuwal to emerge as Speaker, but at the end of the day, all the critical committees he shared it to his own party members - the PDP, people that did not even vote for him. But we were not worried because we knew they were the majority party and it's the practice all over the world...

You cannot as a party give all the sensitive committees to your opponent. It you can recall, just yesterday the National Publicity Secretary to PDP, Olise Metuh came out to say that all the members of the PDP should brace up and oppose this government.

So, if you're giving them such committees, what is the implication? For instance, there is agitation that the committee on PIB should be represented. If this PIB committee is represented, all the three Petroleum Committee were given to PDP members. So what do you think will be the outcome of that type of committee? So these are some of our fears and it portends a lot of danger to this our democracy.

How does it portend a danger to democracy?
In democracy, you are elected as a party and each party has its own manifestos. And to achieve that, there must be a synergy between the members of the majority party and the ruling party at the same time. So, if you have given such sensitive committees to the opposition and they're opposed to your policies, how do you achieve it?

You can now see what is happening in the United States Congress today Obama has been battling with the US House of Representatives because they control the majority. All his efforts about his health care programmes the Obamacare, aside that, lots of serious problems in the House because the majority of the Congressmen are members of the Republican Party. So, that partisanship, you can't take it out. Even in the Nigerian Senate, you saw what happened just yesterday (Wednesday). The PDP Caucus held a meeting to, take position on the nominations of Mr. president particularly that of Amaechi. So, you can see the danger of Mr. Speaker giving these kinds of committees to the opposition.

A member from your state, Sumaila Suleiman was given the committee that you dropped and he accepted it. Is it that you don't all share the same ideology of philosophy?
I don't know. Everybody has his own principle. I have my own and I don't know of his own he may have his own principle. We don't have to be the same. But all I know is that I've resigned that position as a chairman. Because my primary responsibility here is to represent my constituency and I am doing it exactly without being a committee chairman. It's not everybody that will be a committee chairman or deputy. More than half of the members will not be committee chairmen or deputies and they will still exist and they will still perform. I don't think it will affect my representation as a member.

Don't you think Nigerians will see your position on this matter and probably of other members that may toe the same line as a fight for pecuniary gains, rather than representation?
I don't know, other may go and fight for positions, but me, I did not ask anyone to give me any of these committees. I feel if I'm qualified I will be given and I have the right to accept it or reject it.

With the way things are going, with the polarization is this House going to achieve even as much as the last House did?
Well, I cannot say, I cannot predict what will happen. But all I know, I will continue to work for the interest of my own party that gave me the platform to contest. I will work to achieve that change that we have all been yearning for, so that Nigeria will be a better place for everybody.

What about the claims of the House that they did the selection in line with due process, fairness, justice as well as Federal character?
Anybody can say that. If that's how they see their justice and fairness, fine, good luck
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