The House of Representatives yesterday passed a vote of no confidence in the Minister of Solid Minerals Development, Kayode Fayemi after the minister failed to attend a debate on steel development in Nigeria at their chambers in Abuja on Thursday.
The decision followed a motion sponsored by the Leader of the House, Femi Gbajabiamila.
The failure of the ministers to attend the debate sparked an outrage on the part of members of the Lower Chamber who resolved to set up an investigative committee to probe the Ajaokuta Steel Complex.
The Minister, reacting to the decision of the lawmakers, in a statement released by his media aide, Olayinka Oyebode, said the lawmakers were duly informed of his absence at their meeting and that the vote of no confidence in him was rather unnecessary and draconian.
The statement read,
The attention of the minister of mines and steel development, Dr Kayode Fayemi, and the minister of state for mines and steel development, Hon Abubakar Bawa Bwari, has been drawn to the ‘vote of no confidence’ reportedly passed on them by members of the house of representatives following their inability to attend the house’s sectoral debate on iron and steel sector on Thursday, March 1, 2018. While the offices of the two ministers have been inundated with countless media enquiries regarding their absence shortly after the pronouncement, it is important to state unequivocally that the inability of the two ministers to attend the debate was duly communicated to the leadership of the house in two separate letters. One then wonders why the house members took such a draconian stance against the two ministers who have very cordial relationships with the national assembly.
It is rather unfair for the house members to categorise the ministers absence as “boycott”, when they were adequately notified. The minister said the house of reps members “lack tolerance and moderation” which are “essential ingredients in public service engagement. After all, the Ministers are always willing to engage the honourable House and its leadership at all times. It is on record that Minister Fayemi was the first minister to address the sectoral debate in 2016 and the Ajaokuta Steel Complex was extensively addressed on that occasion. Subsequently, the house committees on privatisation and public petitions held special sessions on Ajaokuta and the Minister of State, Hon Bawa Bwari addressed the members on those two occasions. Given this past record, today’s action is most unwarranted and unfortunate.”