10th Assembly: Tajudeen Abbas emerges Speaker, Benjamin Kalu deputy

THE lawmaker representing Zaria Federal constituency, Tajudeen Abbas, has emerged Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Benjamin Kalu, representing Bende Federal constituency, Abia State, was also elected Deputy Speaker unopposed.

Abbas, the preferred candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was declared Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 13 after flooring his opponents.

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Abbas polled 353 votes to defeat fellow contenders, Ahmed Wase and Sani Jaji, who polled three votes each.

The election followed voting by the 359 members-elect of the 10th session of the House of Representatives on Tuesday, June 13.

The immediate past Majority Leader of the 9th Assembly, Alhassan Ado-Doguwa, made the first nomination.

The ICIR had reported that 11 lawmakers were showing interest for the seat of the Speaker.

The contestants were the immediate Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Idris Wase; the immediate past Majority Leader, Ado Doguwa; Muktar Betara, Yusuf Gagdi, Sada Soli, Miriam Onuoha, Ben Kalu, Tajudeen Abbas, Abdulraheem Olawuyi, Abubakar Makki, and Aminu Jaji.

However, Betara, Kalu, Olawuyi, Makki, Gagdi and Doguwa stepped down, leaving only five candidates in the race.

Adoption of open ballot election for the 1st time

The election was a no-secret ballot system, for the first time.

The change allowed every member to take turn and vote for his/her preferred candidate in the open.

The new amendment to Order Two reads, “Every member voting shall name clearly and in the Open the candidate of his choice.”

The constitution, in section 54(3), gives lawmakers the power to develop a standing rule that guides their activities. The two chambers have their respective standing rules that guide their activities. The constitution amendment was assented to by former president, Muhammadu Buhari, in sections 54, 96 and 311 of the 1999 Constitution.

Section 54 was specifically amended to provide the quorum for the first sitting of the Assembly.

“(1A) For the purpose of the inaugural and first sitting of the Senate or the House of Representatives, the quorum shall be at least two-thirds of all the members-elect of either the Senate or the House of Representatives,” the section states.

This implies that the new law enables the President to know who voted for and against every member.

President Bola Tinubu had, however, promised to work together well with anyone that emerged despite his preference.

Another significant amendment to the standing rule is a section that empowers the Deputy Clerk of the National Assembly to preside over the election of the House of Representatives.

The previous law empowered only the Clerk of the National Assembly to preside over elections in the two chambers.

This amendment is to empower the Deputy Clerk in the absence of the Clerk.

The standing Rule of the House of Representatives provides that the election of presiding officers of the House, according to Order 2 rule 3(f(III)), shall be an open balloting system.

“(II) voting shall be conducted by the Clerk to the National Assembly or Deputy Clerk to the National Assembly using the list of the Members-elect of the House, with the proposers and Seconders as Tellers;

(III) every member voting shall name clearly and in the Open the candidate of his choice.

The constitution amendment as well laid emphasis on the need for the presence of two/thirds of the members-elect.

Amendment to Section 54(1) has changed the quorum of the first sitting of the two chambers. It means that two-thirds of the lawmakers must be seated.

With the amendment, the inauguration process will not start until 240 members are seated, unlike the one-third used in the past.

House of Representatives Speakers since 1999

9th Assembly

Femi Gbajabiamila, the APC preferred candidate, was elected Speaker of the House of Representatives.

Gbajabiamila, who defeated the endorsed candidate of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Umar Bago, polled 281 votes from a total of 358 votes, while Bago scored 76 votes, with one invalid vote.

Gbajabiamila, who President Tinubu recently elected as his Chief of Staff, was the APC congress Majority Leader and the House Leader of the 8th House of Representatives. He represented the Surulere Federal Constituency of Lagos State.

8th Assembly

Yakubu Dogara, from Bauchi State, emerged Speaker of the 8th House of Representatives.

    Dogara (APC), who defeated Gbajabiamila, polled 182 votes against Gbajabiamila’s 174 votes.

    7th Assembly

    Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the former Deputy Chief Whip of the House of Representatives, became the Speaker of the 8th Assembly.

    Aminu polled a total of 252 votes to defeat the anointed candidate of the PDP, Mulikat Adeola-Akande, from Oyo State, who got 90 votes.

    Other past speakers of the House of Representatives were Oladimeji Bankole, Patricia Olubunmi Etteh, Aminu Bello Masari, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, and Ibrahim Salisu Buhari.


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