10th NASS:Performance and experience should speak for candidates By Abba Dukawa

The 10th National Assembly is expected to be inaugurated in June. Ahead of the event, federal lawmakers itching to emerge as Presiding Officers in both chambers of Parliament are leaving nothing to chance, even as the party national secretariat is yet to unveil the zoning of the offices..

It is on record that so far, no fewer than eight senators have indicated an interest in the top leadership positions of the 10th NASS, with some of the big contenders for Senate presidency being Senators Jibrin Barau (Kano North), Sani Musa (Niger East), Ali Ndume (Borno South) Orji Kalu (Abia North), and GodswillAkpabio (Akwa-Ibom North West).Others include Senators OsitaIzunaso (Imo West), Patrick Ndubueze (Imo North), Abdul’AzizYari (Zamfara West), and Ahmad Lawan (Yobe North), Governor Dave Umahi (Ebonyi South), Adams Oshiomole (Edo North) amongst others.It has been said that there is no laid down constitutional formulae on how the top leadership positions in the National Assembly should be composed. But Section 50 (1) (a) of the 1999 Constitution (as amended) states that “a President and a Deputy President of the Senate shall be elected by the members of that House from among themselves,”
However, there is a need for the party to quickly do the needful to avoid the mistake made in the 8th National Assembly, where the APC senators went against the party’s choice and directives.
It will be recalled that in 2015 PDP’s senators adopted APC’s Senator Bukola Saraki for the position of Senate President and Hon. Yakubu Dogara for the position of the Speaker of the House of Representatives when President Buhari issued the 8th National Assembly proclamations.
In the same vein, the party urged its senators and members-elect in the National Assembly to act accordingly. Therefore, all that had happened has now become history.
There is a need for both leadership of the APC and the President-elect to come up with it formula for sharing positions.
Since the return of civilian administration in the country North West geopolitical has never produced a senate president. Even though the zone has produced four speakers of the House of Representatives; Ibrahim Salisu Buhari, Ghali Umar Na Abba both from Kano State, Aminu Bello Masari from Katsina State, and Aminu Waziri Tambuwal from Sokoto State.
On the other hand, the Southeast geopolitical zone has produced many senate presidents. The north-central geopolitical zone came second in terms of leading the hallowed red chamber and the current senate president, Ahmed Lawan is from the Northeast.
Why APC should consider Northwest, the ruling governing party leadership needs to settle for a Senate president from the North-West and Kano in particular, to create a strong base for the party in the region in the face of other opposition parties wanting to take control. The Northwest zone is still a deciding factor for the party to succeed in future elections. Since 2015, North West has remained an APC stronghold even with the emergence of strong presidential contenders from the Northern region such as Senator Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso who made the battle more challenging than usual against all odds, the Northwest stood by Asiwaju and provided him with the votes necessary to secure victory.
In the upcoming 10th Assembly the party and the Senators elect should consider North West to produce Sa enate president for the effectiveness and good legislative framework of the Senate.
Among the other contenders from the north-west, Senator Barau Jibril seems to have an edge over the others, especially in terms of legislative experience and capacity, having been in the house since 2015 and having served in the most number of senate committees, including as Chairman of Senate Committee on Tertiary Institutions and TETFUND in the 8th Senate and the 9th national Assembly chair Senate Committee on Appropriations as the Chair.
However, if reaching a consensus to support Senator Jibril who seems to be the front runner from the northwest proves difficult, the party might consider instituting a poll among members to ascertain their preferences, or as an option of last resort, allow for an open contest between them.
Senator Barau I Jibril is the most ranking and experienced among those contesting the position with him. It is clear in the Senate Standing Rule that the election for the Office of the Senate President shall be by the most experienced and ranking among those seeking to occupy the office from the North West.
He has been consistent with issues that affect the members of his senatorial districts and the country’s citizens at large. Since he was first elected into the Nigeria Senate in 2015, he has initiated and executed uncountable interventions and projects in both his constituency and other parts of Kano State, which have directly impacted the lives of the common people positively.
Senator Barau also presents many motions, that influenced the senate in a four-point prayer to revive the ailing and collapsed industries in Nigeria. In the motion, Jibrin Barau, leading the other 61 senators, infused the senate to mandate its Committee on Industries, Privatisation, and National Planning to undertake an immediate inventory of all closed-down industries. It also asked the committee to investigate why the industries collapsed and proffer solutions for their revitalization.
He thereafter propelled the Senate to call on the executive arm of government to create enabling policies that would encourage unemployed youths to set up cottage industries. It further called on the Federal Government to devise means of persuading wealthy Nigerians to establish factories rather than continuous dependence on the importation of foreign goods. While presenting the motion, said the positive change being advocated by the present administration could only be achieved through relevant policies that would revive industries.
Senator Barau’s ability to coordinate and canvass for the support of the vast majority of his colleagues toward achieving common positive goals can not be overemphasized.
A humble, confident, and loyal fellow, Senator Jibril has also proven to be a dutiful and strong pillar to reckon with in the northwest and Kano State by extension through formidable grass root mobilization. His legislative experience, over the years, had shaped him into a highly cherished and charismatic personality of high repute among elders, religious leaders across faiths, traditional rulers, party stakeholders, youth, and the general populace of his blessed region.
His recent display of astute nationalism in a rigorous nationwide consultation to declare his patriotic and selfless intention to steer the affairs of the red chamber in the forthcoming 10th assembly is, no doubt, a giant political stride unprecedented. His direct link with the grassroots, of not only his immediate constituency, can barely be rivaled with any known legislator within and outside the north-western region.
From the foregoing constructive and logical perspective, it is worthy of note by the APC, both at the center and within the north-West caucus, to strengthen this patriotic movement with every iota of swiftness, seriousness, and sincerity.
A parliamentarian is usually assessed by the number of motions, bills, and other interventions that impact positively on the lives of citizens. Motions and bills are the lubricants of democracy and democratic governance.
In this regard Senator Barau has many motions, and bills, including the Sexual Harassment in Tertiary Educational Institutions Prohibition Bill, 2016, Federal Polytechnic Kabo (Est. etc.) Bill, 2019, Microbiology Council of Nigeria (Est. etc.) Bill, 2019, North West Development Commission (Est. etc.) Bill, 2019, Project Continuity Bill, 2019. Other bills and motions presented before the hallow red chamber by Senator Barau are the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies (Establishment) Bill, 2021, the Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies (Establishment) Bill, 2020, the Labour Transportation Bill, 2020, the Federal University of Agriculture Dambata Kano State (Est. etc.) Bill, 2019, Education (Minimum Standards) Act (Amendment) Bill, 2019 and National Commission for Teachers Education Bill, 2020.
He has successfully executed projects that have a direct bearing on the well-being of his district. Including the construction of the multi-billion naira Kabuga- Dayi Road, the establishment of Kabo Federal Polytechnic, the construction of access roads in all the 13 local governments of Kano North, the construction of five (5) General Hospitals in Kano North, securing employment for a total of 1,459 youths in both state and federal levels as well as empowering thousands of women and youths in different trades and the Senator Representing Kano North Senatorial District, Senator Barau Jubrin, donated 18 patrol motor vehicles to Kano state police Command. He also promised additional two patrol motor vehicles and the installation of Solar Power at the police Zonal headquarters located in his Senatorial District.
It is time for the Senators to elect Senator Barau I Jibril as the senate president. Because the Senate president’s office should be held by a qualified lawmaker. Not just any lawmakers but a person with sound academic background, a role model, a public servant, and a legislator par excellence. Performance and experience should speak for candidates, religious or ethnicity.
*Dukawa writes in from Kano

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