The House of Representatives may be heading for another crisis when it resumes from its recess on September 29.
This is because the Ad Hoc Committee on Standing Orders raised by the Speaker , Yakubu Dogara, is set to reduce the powers of the Deputy Speaker, Yussuff Lasun.
The machinery for achieving this purpose is near perfection, The Nation learnt, as the committee has set the ball rolling in its report, which was laid before the House before it went on recess.
In one of its recommendations, the committee proposed that the Speaker should preside over the Committee of Whole, which is responsible for consideration of reports on bills and investigative hearing as provided by the Standing Orders of the Seventh Assembly.
According to the committee, Order 25 which provides that “the Deputy Speaker shall be the Chairman of Committee of the Whole House, save when the House goes into the Committee of Supply or Ways and Means,” should be amended.
Order 25 (i) which deals with the duties of the Deputy Speaker, states: “In the absence of the Speaker, the Deputy Speaker shall perform all the duties and functions of the Speaker.”
25 (II) further states: “The Deputy Speaker then shall be the Chairman of the Committee of the Whole House, save when the House goes into the Committee of Supply or Ways and Means.”
The move to whittle down the powers of the Deputy Speaker is being seen by some as part of a larger plan to reduce the influence of the Deputy Speaker in the Eighth House.
According to a source, the underlying reason might not be unconnected with the belief that Lasun’s benefit in the Eighth House far outstrips his contributions to the Dogara project.
However, sources said some elements in the erstwhile Dogara camp might be the ones pushing for the move to push Lasun into irrelevance.
Lasun appeared to hit the limelight with his emergence as the Deputy Speaker with a perception that he was little known in the Seventh House due to his being inactive.
However, against all odds and the negative perception, Lasun’s handling of legislative matters on the floor of the Green chamber has left no one in doubt about his grasp of his legislative duties. In the just over 50 days of sittings, Lasun presided over a Committee of the Whole House as well as presiding over plenary in the absence of the Speaker to the admiration of his colleagues and observers.
Dogara must have realised the qualities of his deputy as he delegated several assignments for Lasun to handle.
It was learnt the report presented to the House before its six-week recess promises to be contentious and will not be taken lightly by Lasun and his supporters