Fresh Tension in House of Representatives: 150 First-time Members Oppose House Leadership


Fresh Tension in House of Representatives: 150 First-time Members Oppose House Leadership

House of Reps

A significant conflict is brewing in the House of Representatives as over 150 first-time members express their dissatisfaction with the House leadership, citing alleged marginalization and exclusion from legislative activities.


These aggrieved federal lawmakers have formed a pressure group called the “Novelty Group” to pursue their objectives and address their concerns.


The group had planned to hold its inaugural meeting in Abuja, but it was postponed due to the death of Hon Olaide Adewale Akinremi, a House member representing Ibadan North Federal Constituency of Oyo State from the All Progressives Congress (APC). The new date for the meeting will be announced after the mourning period for the deceased lawmaker.


An influential APC House member from one of the South/South states is coordinating the group’s activities. According to sources, the membership of the Novelty Group is growing, with first-time members making up about 75 percent of the 360-member House. The group includes members from eight political parties and all six geopolitical zones.


Members of the Novelty Group are particularly frustrated with what they perceive as the House’s subservience to the Presidency, quickly passing executive bills without thorough legislative scrutiny. They accuse Speaker Tajudeen Abbas of failing to assert the House’s independence and prioritizing the interests of the executive branch over those of the legislators.


The group is reportedly considering the impeachment of Speaker Abbas, Deputy Speaker Benjamin Kalu, House Leader Julius Ihonvbere, and Minority Leader Kingsley Chinda. They criticize Kalu for his perceived authoritarianism and Ihonvbere and Chinda for not defending their interests, allegedly due to personal gains. Committee chairmen are also under fire for excluding their deputies and other members from committee activities and oversight functions.


The Novelty Group has vowed to reform the House committees and address the behavior of certain first-time and ranking members who, according to them, have sidelined their colleagues. They are determined to show that not all lawmakers are indifferent to the public’s concerns and that many are suffering due to the current leadership’s actions.


A member of the group expressed dissatisfaction with the rapid approval of executive bills and the extension of the 2023 Appropriation Act to December 2024 without proper legislative process. They are resolved to take more decisive actions to address these issues.


The House spokesman, Hon. Akin Rotimi Jr., stated he was unaware of the formation of the Novelty Group but noted that such groups are a normal part of parliamentary processes, allowing members to collaborate on legislative issues. He emphasized the House leadership’s commitment to inclusive and transparent governance, ensuring all members are adequately represented and heard.


This ongoing tension highlights the challenges within the House of Representatives as it navigates internal conflicts and strives to maintain effective legislative operations.


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