The Senate President, Bukola Saraki, on Thursday, changed the leaderships of some Senate committees, offering top positions to his staunchest opponents.
Mr. Saraki will also host the All Progressives Congress Senate caucus at his Lake Chad, Maitama residence Thursday night, PREMIUM TIMES understands.
It is the first time Mr. Saraki will be hosting his APC colleagues.
The moves, apparently part of efforts to heal a senate polarized by Mr. Saraki’s election, came hours after he denied he was returning to the Peoples Democratic Party.
Under the new plan, Kabiru Marafa, the Senate leadership’s most outspoken and harshest critic, will head the committee on petroleum downstream. He will be assisted by Phillip Aduda, who is the deputy minority leader.
Mr. Marafa is the former chairman of the committee on national population, who refused to convene the committee’s 2016 budget defence session on the claim that committees were illegally composed.
Suleiman Hukunyi, the secretary of the Unity Forum, a pressure group the campaigned against Mr. Saraki’s election, was appointed chairman committee on national identity.
Mr. Hukunyi signed the Unity Forum’s petition accusing Mr. Saraki of forging the senate rules, a charge the senate president and three others are currently facing in court.
Messrs. Marafa and Hukunyi, with 12 other others, including bureaucrats, current and former Senators, have been lined up as witnesses in the forgery case.
Another top anti-Saraki Senator, Oluremi Tinubu, clinched the headship of committee on environment, previously led by Mr. Saraki in the 7th Assembly.
Mrs. Tinubu left her former position as chairperson of committee on women affairs, for Binta Garba.
Mr. Saraki moved Babajide Omoworare from the committee on business and rules, regarded as “life wire” of the legislature, to the committee on legislative compliance.
Announcing the positions, Mr. Saraki said the decision followed recommendations made to the Senate leadership during the senate’s executive sessions.
Mr. Saraki’s spokesperson, Yusuph Olaniyonu, told PREMIUM TIMES the move was to “strengthen the working of the Senate”.
Mr. Marafa could not be reached for comments.
Here is the full list of the new appointments
Customs – Hope Uzodinma
Aviation – Adamu Aliero
Environment – Oluremi Tinubu
Petroleum Downstream – Kabiru Marafa
Tertiary Education – Barau Jibril
Women Affairs – Binta Garba
Public Procurement – Joshua Dariye
Solid Minerals – James Manager
Power – Eyinnaya Abaribe
Information and National Orientation – Suleiman Adokwe
National Identity – Suleiman Hukunyi
Legislative Compliance – Babajide Omoworare
Rules and Business – Baba Garba
Federal Character – Tijani Kaura
Marine Transport – Ahmed Ogembe
Land Transport – Ovie Omo-Agege
Petroleum downstream – Phillip Aduda
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