…Lawan now Senate president, Gbajabiamila, House Speaker
…Omo-Agege, deputy Senate president; Wase, deputy House speaker
…Buhari, PDP, others congratulate NASS new leadership
Henry Omunu, Tunde Opalana & Mathew Dadiya, Abuja
Presiding officers of the 9th National Assembly emerged on Tuesday, following the election of the anointed candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as Senator Ahmad Lawan emerged as Senate President, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege as deputy Senate President, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila as speaker of the House of Representatives and Rep. Idris Wase as deputy speaker.
The new Senate president, deputy Senate president and House speaker defeated their opponents in a keenly contested election while the deputy House speaker was elected unopposed.
In the Senate presidency election, Sen. Lawan scored 79 votes out of the 107 votes to defeat his sole rival, Sen. Ali Ndume, who polled 28 votes in a well coordinated and rancor-free election.
Voting for the office of the Senate President ended at 11.55am, but at 12.06 pm when Sen. Lawan seemed to have crossed the winning mark, there was a standing ovation by senators to herald his victory, even as the two contenders shook hands as a sign of no victor, no vanquished.
However, the immediate past Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu from Enugu West Senatorial District was dumped by his party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) as he woefully failed to retain his position.
Ekweremadu, who scored 37 votes, was defeated by the All Progressives Congress (APC) anointed candidate, Sen. Ovie Omo- Agege from Delta Central, who polled 68 votes.
If all PDP Senators-elect had voted for him, Ekweremadu would have gotten more than 44 votes going by the number of elected senators on the PDP platform.
In the House of Representatives, Rep. Femi Gbajabiamila had an easy sail as he won his election in a landslide. He bested his opponent, Rep. Umaru Bago from Niger State with over 200 votes, polling an astronomical 281 votes to Bago’s 76 votes.
President Muhammadu Buhari, and his party, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as well as the National Chairman of the party, Adams Oshiomhole, were victorious as Senator Ahmad Lawan and Senator Omo- Agege, were elected Senate President and Deputy Senate President, respectively to lead the 9th Senate.
Sen. Lawan in accepting to run for the office said the election is an opportunity for senators to remain united and focused as representatives of Nigerians to perform mandatory and statutory constitutional responsibilities of lawmaking.
He said under his leadership, partisanship will not prevent the parliament from making legislative interventions to make Nigeria better, promising to work with all without letting political differences affect legislative duties.
Speaker Gbajabiamila in his acceptance speech said it is time for the House to move on, adding that there is more that unites House members than what divides them.
According to him, there’s much work to be done, declaring that “we must remain one nation in freedom and unity.” He pledged to carry out reforms in the House and that it will not be business as usual.
“We’ll be shaking the table just a little. The House must be reformed before the nation is reformed,” he said.
As his first major assignment after the swearing-in of other lawmakers, the speaker has appointed the former Speaker of Zamfara State House of Assembly, Sanusi Rikiji, as his chief of staff.
Speaking after the election, Sen. Ali Ndume pledged to work with the newly elected Senate President, Ahmad Lawan and his deputy, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege.
The Borno South Senator said that he will work with Lawan in the interest of the country.
He described Lawan as a well experienced lawmaker, who is four years ahead of him.
He explained that he happily went into the election for the position of Senate President in line with democratic norms.
Ndume expressed optimism that the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not see his action as a rebellion but as an act to deepen democracy in the country.
He asserted that his action made the election of Senate President credible.
Ndume said: “Ahmed Lawan is my brother who is well experienced having been here four years ahead of me.
“I will give him all the necessary supports. I insisted on contesting against him in order to deepen democracy.
“I hope the party would agree with me that what I did was in the interest of democracy and I do know that power belongs to God. It’s God’s will that my colleague becomes the President.
“I will do all I can with others for him to succeed because his success is our success.”
Ndume was the main challenger to Lawan in election that Senator Ahmed Lawan won 79 votes.
For Ndume, election time is over.
He said: “This is the time to settle down to face legislative functions.”
Also, former Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ike Ekweremadu, congratulated the newly elected presiding officers of the Ninth Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan and Senator Ovie Omo-Agege on their elections.
This was also as he appreciated his colleagues, constituents, and Nigerians for their support, noting that he had made his point.
Ekweremadu, who took to his social media handles after the inauguration of the Ninth Senate, said: “I congratulate the President of the Senate, Senator Ahmed Lawan and my successor as Deputy President of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege on their elections.
“I specially appreciate my colleagues, who supported me as I vied for the office again to preserve the hallowedness and honour of the Senate and uphold equity as a priceless ingredient for building a Nigeria of our dreams.
“I have made my point and my colleagues have made their choice. It is now for us all to join hands across all divides to work for the success of the Ninth Senate and National Assembly as well as the peace and prosperity of our nation.
“I am deeply indebted in gratitude to the good people of Enugu West and well-meaning Nigerians, whose support and prayers have seen me this far. They can rest, assured that I will continue to give them quality representation”.
Meanwhile, President Muhammadu Buhari has congratulated the newly elected presiding officers of the ninth National Assembly, charging the winners to use their exalted positions for the higher interest of the country, her people, and for the growth of democracy.
Buhari described the emergence of the new leaders of the legislative branch of government as “a new dawn, different from duplicity and perfidy of the immediate past.”
The President, in his congratulatory message on Tuesday, said that the executive “does not desire a rubber stamp Legislature.”
He said: “While separation of powers is essential, collaboration among all Arms of Government should be the name of the game. Opposition need not be virulent.”
The President also saluted all the national legislators and their political parties for their display of patriotism and non-partisanship before and during the election.
He commended the transparent and fair nature of the voting process, adjudging it as a plus for the democracy in the country.
President Buhari noted that stepping into the Next Level, the legislature has a big role to play for the goals of the administration to be achieved.
He stressed that their emergence was for the ultimate good of the nation.
He urged contestants who lost out to be gallant in defeat, and join hands with the victors who should exhibit magnanimity and eschew vindictiveness.
President Buhari further noted that “At the end of the day, we, the people, who elected our representatives at the national level, are the winners.”
Also, the National Working Committee (NWC) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has congratulated the 9th National Assembly for its successful inauguration.
The party acknowledged the newly elected Senate President, Deputy Senate President; as well as the newly elected Speaker and Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, respectively on their new positions.
In a statement on Tuesday by its spokesperson, Kola Ologbondiyan, the PDP also commended all those that made the contest robust for helping to deepen the nation’s democratic practice.
The party said it will always stand on the side of decency and utmost respect for the institution of the National Assembly and the values we hold as a people.
“Our party therefore charges the federal lawmakers, as representatives of the people, to place the welfare, wishes and aspirations of Nigerians above every other consideration by ensuring a strong and independent legislature that upholds the tenets of democracy and the dictates of our constitution.
“The 9th National Assembly therefore must work hard to save our nation from the prevailing despondency caused by the misrule of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, by effectively applying its statutory legislative instruments to guarantee good governance and fiscal prudence, curb corruption, check the excesses of the executive and protect the rights of Nigerians from incessant violations.
“Our party therefore charges the legislature to work only in the interest of our nation and resist the manipulations and pressure that might come from quarters that seek to undermine our democratic order.
“On our part, the PDP, as a party, will remain truly committed to the welfare of Nigerians. We shall continue to keep our focus on the quest for good governance, national cohesion and economic wellbeing of the people, even as we pursue our collective aspiration for the successful retrieval of our stolen Presidential mandate at the tribunal,” said the party
Profile of Principal Officers:
Senate President: Ahmad Lawan
The new Senate president has 20 years institutional experience in the parliament. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1999 where he served two terms till 2007 during which he at different times chaired the House Committees on Education and Agriculture.
Lawan, who was elected for the fourth time as senator, was elected to the Senate in 2007 to represent Yobe North senatorial district.
In 2008, he was a member of the National Assembly’s Joint Committee on Constitution Review. In 2009, he was chairman of the Senate committee on Public Accounts.
Lawan ran for re-election in Yobe North Senatorial District on the ANPP platform in the 9 April 2011 election.
He won with 92,799 votes, trailed by Hassan Kafayos Hussaini of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) with 76,960 votes. On January 10, 2016, he was appointed leader of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) as Senate Majority Leader.
Ahmed Ibrahim Lawan was born in 1959. He received a bachelor’s degree in Geography from the University of Maiduguri, a master’s degree in Remote Sensing from Ahmadu Bello University and a doctorate degree in Remote Sensing/Geographic Information Science, from Cranfield University, United Kingdom.
Deputy Senate President: Ovie Omo-Agege
Omo-Agege’s political career started when he contested for a representative position at the Delta State House of Representative on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), a contest which he lost.
In 2003, he was appointed as an executive assistant to the then Delta State governor, James Ibori, and later assumed the position of a Commissioner for Special Duties by the same governor.
He contested for the Senate in 2015 under the platform of Labour Party (LP), a party which he later left for the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday, March 7, 2017.
The new Deputy Senate President attended St George Grammar school, Obinomba Obiaruku in Delta State. After graduating from the University of Benin in 1985, he was called to the Nigerian bar a year after in 1986.
Omo-Agege did his one year compulsory National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) with the Directorate of Criminal Investigation and Intelligence, Nigeria Police Force (NPF) in Kwara State.
He began his law practice in Lagos in 1987 at PAT OKUPA & Co. Three years after in 1990, he moved to the US where he worked in the capacity of a foreign associate at Charles O Agege’s law office in Los Angeles, California.
House Speaker: Femi Gbajabiamila
Femi delved into partisan politics and offered himself up for service on the platform of the then Alliance for Democracy (AD) and was elected member of the House of Representatives from Surulere Federal Constituency 1, and clinched his party’s nomination for the seat.
His party leaders recognised his true commitment to party ideals and worked with him to emerge victorious at the general elections.
His first term in the House demonstrated his true passion for issues concerning his constituents and Nigeria as a whole; he worked passionately to address matters of great concern to him and quickly earned a reputation as a true and brilliant legislator.
Upon his re-election into the House of Representatives in 2015, Gbajabiamila presented himself to his colleagues as an aspirant for the Speakership seat in the House.
He narrowly lost the election to the immediate past Speaker Yakubu Dogara in an election which Femi Gbajabiamila himself described as an act of God.
Due to his wide acceptance within the party and his members, he was overwhelmingly elected Leader of the 8th House of Representatives on July 28, 2015.
Olufemi Hakeem Gbajabiamila was born on the 25th of June 1962. He attended Mainland Preparatory School and proceeded to Igbobi College, Yaba, Lagos in 1973 for his secondary education and graduated around 1978.
After completion of his secondary education in Nigeria, he enrolled at the King Williams College, Isle of Man, United Kingdom for his ‘A Levels’ where he graduated at the top of his class around 1980.
Upon his return to Nigeria, the young Olufemi was accepted into the University of Lagos, Nigeria for a three-year LLB (Bachelor of Law) degree programme.
He graduated with honors in 1983 and proceeded to the Nigerian Law School and thereafter started his career with the prestigious law firm of Bentley, Edu and Co, a Lagos based law firm but established his own law firm, Femi Gbaja and Co. on Broad Street, Lagos where he was principal partner.
Deputy House Speaker: Idris Wase
Hon. Idris Wase was elected into the lower chamber of the National Assembly in 2007 and is currently serving his third term as a member of House of Representatives, Wase Federal Constituency of Plateau State.
A committed member of All Progressives Congress and a passionate public servant, Wase has spent his life in the Green-Chamber advocating for real solutions that are capable of expanding opportunity for all Nigerians.
Hon. Idris Wase has demonstrated to his constituents that good governance and quality representation is possible hence the positive impact to the masses, giving priority to Education, Health, Good Road and water as his legislative interest.
Also accredited to him are the following; Sponsorship of Students Scholarships, Infrastructural Development which includes: Solar Street lights, Hand pump and Motorized Bores-holes, Renovation of Primary Healthcare Centres, Building of Skills Acquisition Centres, lobbying for the Construction of Roads and Renovation of Secondary and Primary Schools, etc.
As the Chairman House Committee on Federal Character, he focused on many issues across the federal government, such as fixing the broken Federal Character Commission, strengthening National development, Holding Public Servants accountable through a bill he sponsored to repeal the Miscellaneous Offences,
promoting job-creation by directly involving himself in making sure that the people he represents are given a chance in employment opportunities, and Infrastructural Development.
Prior to serving as member of the House of Representatives, Hon. Idris Wase worked with Bauchi State Ministry of Environment from 1988 – 2002, from there he proceeded to College of Education Gindiri as a Non-Academic Staff between 1996 -2005 where he held several positions.
Hon. Idris Wase was born on the 1st June, 1964 in Bashar District of Wase Local Government Area, Plateau State to the family of Mallam Idris. Growing up as a child, engaging in local farming activities was inevitable as that was the common practice in the early days.
He enrolled into LSB Primary School Bashar where he obtained His First School Leaving Certificate (FSLC) in 1978.
He then proceeded to Government Secondary school Mbar and he was later transferred to Government Secondary school Dengi the present day Kanam Local Government Area.
In his quest for knowledge and pursuit for education, Hon. Ahmed Idris gained admission into Plateau state Polytechnic to study Civil Engineering in 1983, where he obtained a National Diploma in Civil Engineering in 1986.
As a foremost writer Henry Ford will say ‘’He who stop learning is old whether at the age of twenty or eighty’’ Hon. Maje applied for a Higher National Diploma programme with the Kaduna State Polytechnic and bagged the Certificate in Civil Engineering in 1995.