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Top contenders in the race for speaker in the 10th NASS

Order 2, Rule 2, paragraph 3a of the Standing Order of the House of Representatives provides the procedure for election of a speaker during the inauguration of every Assembly.

It states that “a member-elect, addressing the Clerk, shall propose another member-elect with legislative experience as member of the National Assembly to be Speaker and shall move that such member-elect do take the chair as Speaker of the House of Representatives”.

Relying on this provision, several members of the House have begun jostling for the highest office in the Green Chamber.

They include those who have spent one term of four years and have just won re-election; to those who have spent five or more years.

Current Deputy Speaker, Ahmed Idris Wase (Plateau, North-Central), Chairman, House Committee on Appropriation, Aliyu Mukthar Betara (Borno, Northeast), Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport, Tajudeen Abbas (Kaduna, Northwest), Chairman of the House Committee on Water Resources, Sada Soli Jibia (Katsina, Northwest), Yusuf Adamu Gagdi (Plateau, North-Central), Abdulraheem Olawuyi (Kwara, North-Central), Benjamin Okezie Kalu (Abia, Southeast), Chairman of the House Committee on Disability Matters, Mariam Odinaka Onuoha (Imo, Southeast).

Others in the race are Abubakar Makki Yalleman and Sani Jaji

While some have taken steps to realise their dreams, others are still consulting and have yet to reveal their plans.

For example, while waiting for the APC leadership to release the zoning formula, the Deputy Speaker has been on the road meeting with state governors.

Wase and Betara have spent the most time in the House, of those who have expressed interest in the position, with the former being the only one who has previously held one or more leadership positions. Before becoming Deputy Speaker, he served as Deputy House Leader in the 8th Assembly.

However, the candidates that met with Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila to defuse tensions are clinging to what they see as their comparative advantage.

Ahmed Idris Wase

Wase is the current Deputy Speaker of the House representing Wase federal constituency of Plateau state.

  • Pledged to use his wealth of experience having served as Deputy Speaker and on many occasions presided over plenary.
  • Said being a fifth timer, as well as heading many committees of the House, the experience would come handy if elected.
  • Assured to use his knowledge of the workings of the legislature.
Muktar Aliyu Betara

Current Chairman House Committee on appropriation. (Represents Biu/ Kwaya Busari/Bayo and Shani Federal Constituency of Borno State.

  • Pledged to use his experience in handling of the affairs of the House Committee on Appropriation
  • As a fifth termer, also believed that his knowledge of the legislature would come in handy.
Yusuf Adamu Gagdi

Current Chairman house committee on navy.(Representing Pankshin/Kanam/Kanke Federal Constituency of Plateau.

  • Says as one of the lawmakers with highest number of bills, out of which twelf have been passed while six were passed into law, he believes he can sustain the tempo as a speaker.
  • He also believes that on the principle of equity, justice and fairness, the leadership of APC should zone the position of Speaker to the North-Central zone.
Tajudeen Abbas

Current House Committee on Land Transport. (Represents Zaria Federal Constituency of Kaduna State

  • Believes that as the lawmaker with the highest number of bills in the chamber (74 bills), he is the right person for the job.
  • Promised to ensure Parliamentary independence if elected.
  • Also assured to prioritize laws bothering on education, economy, economic growth, job creation, poverty reduction, insecurity and healthcare and environmental sustainability.
Benjamin Kalu

Current Chairman, House Committee on Media and Public Affairs. Represents Bende Federal Constituency of Abia State

  • Pledged to bring government closer to the people.
  • Work to serve the people by the way of legislation in many areas, including but not limited to education, health, power, infrastructure among others.
Abdulraheem Olawuyi

Olawuyi is the member, representing Ekiti, Isin, Irepodun and Oke-ero Federal Constituency of Kwara State.

He is the current chairman, House Committee on Emergency and Disaster Preparedness. 

The 10th Assembly will be his third time in the House. 

  • Pledged to use his requisite vision, skills, competence and knowledge to bring out the desired change in Nigeria. 
  • Said if elected, he will pass people-oriented bills, promote policies that will benefit most citizens and unify the country. 
Sada Soli Jibia

Current Chairman House Committee on Water Resources. Sada Soli Jibia is representing Kaita/Jibia Federal Constituency of Katsina State.

  • Assures to ensure power balancing amongst all geo-political zones.
  • Pledged to use his credentials of competence, experience, and years of impactful legislative leadership.
Aminu Sani Jaji

Aminu Sani Jaji represents Kaura Namoda/Birnin Magaji Federal Constituency of Zamfara State.

  • Promised to use his experience as a former chairman of the House Committee on National Security, Intelligence and Public Safety, as well as his sponsorship of many bills and motions to move the legislature forward if elected.
Mariam Odinaka Onuoha

The only female member in the race Representing Isiala Mbano/Okigwe/Onuimo Federal Constituency of Imo State.

Mariam Odinaka Onuoha is the Chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Disabilities and Special Needs 

Believes the Southeast should be allowed to occupy the position after 40 years.

  • Promised to promote urgent action to bridge the gender gap in politics.
  • To bring competence driven with integrity, vision, mission and true display of diversity as well as inclusivity and leadership centred on equality and the capacity to deliver the needed dividends of democracy.

Writing by Ibrahim Shehu; Editing by Annabel Nwachukwu and Saadatu Albashir