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Bill to establish Federal Polytechnic in Delta tears lawmakers apart

A bill for the establishment of Federal Polytechnic, Orogun in Delta state has pitched the Deputy Senate President, Ovie Omo-Agege, and Hon. Ossai Nicholas Ossai against each other.

The furore started in the House of Representatives on Thursday when Ossai Nicholas Ossai (PDP, Delta) tried to block a bill sponsored by Omo-Agege and transmitted for concurrence at the Green Chamber.

The bill titled “Federal Polytechnic, Orogun, Delta state, (Establishment) Bill, 2020 (HB.642) (Senate)” was earlier stepped down by the House when it was presented for first reading two week ago.

Earlier, the House relied on a claim by Ossai that his bill seeking to establish Federal Polytechnic Kwale, in his constituency and passed by the House, was also stepped down by the Senate.

At the plenary on Thursday, the House Leader, Ado Doguwa, also moved the motion on the same Senate bill, which was brought before the House for second reading, but Ossai stood up to oppose the bill.

The Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase, who presided over the plenary, ruled Ossai out of order, just as the bill was passed for second reading.

The House Leader reminded Ossai that, according to the House rule, a member cannot oppose a bill on the floor of the House.

He, however, said the member may scrutinise the general principal, merit and demerit of the bill.

After the plenary, Ossai addressed a press conference alleging that it was a gang-up against him.

In his argument, Ossai alleged that the bill being sponsored by Omo-Agege was a ‘replica’ of the one he had earlier sponsored to establish Federal Polytechnic Kwale, Delta State, on July 25, 2019 but which was unanimously passed into law on November 14, 2019 by the House.

He said, after due legislative considerations, the bill was accordingly sent to Senate for concurrence.

“This Senate bill for an ‘Act to establish the Federal Polytechnic, Orogun, Delta state is of the same subject matter and similar in nature, form, shape, content and also shares proximate location with that of Federal Polytechnic Kwale, Delta state, which was already passed by this House.

“In the spirit of Order 12, Rule 14, on ‘Bills of the same subject’, I urged the House to stepdown this bill,” Ossai said.

He also noted that Delta Central, where the sponsor of the ‘replica bill’ represents, is currently hosting six well-known and established federal and state institutions.

He said there was no single federal institution or other federal presence in Kwale but a Federal Prison Yard in the town where the ninth House of Representatives passed the institution to be sited.

He accused the Deputy Senate President of not respecting federal character in citing federal institutions in the senatorial district.

Speaking at a separate press conference, Francis Oghenejiro Waive, (APC, Delta) accused Hon. Ossai of bringing local politics to the National Assembly.

“How can one man step down a bill? It cannot happen, not even the Speaker can shut down a bill. Ossai knew that we had come together to resolve that the three bills should go through to Mr. President. So, why is Hon. Ossai afraid that his bill will not be signed by Mr. President,” he said.

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