With barely two months to the proclamation of the 10th National Assembly, many contenders have emerged for the presiding positions in both chambers of the apex paqarliament.
In the senate, at least seven lawmakers have indicated intention to contest for the position of Senate President, while in the House of Representatives ten names of possible speakership candidates are in the public domain. Although most of the contenders are their supporters are still waiting on the ruling party, the All Progressives Congress (APC) to release its zoning formula, lobbying and horse trading have continued unabated among the lawmakers.
The fact is that with the multitude of lawmakers coming out to contest, when the Assembly is inaugurated in the second week of June, there will be only one senate president and speaker of the House of Representatives respectively. However, one man who is the cynosure of all eyes and has become the rallying point for members-elect and key political stakeholders is Hon. Tajudeen Abass, who represents Zaria FEederal constituency of Kaduna state in the North West geopolitical zone.
And to borrow from the legendary Nelson Mandela, “To be a great leader, one must never give up, try to bring people together and be selfless. Leadership is about working with and for others to achieve a common goal that benefits everyone”. This is exactly what Hon. Tajudeen Abass exemplifies. In his three terms in the House of Representatives, Abass has exuded uncommon excellence in the pursuit of the primary responsibility of a legislator, which is lawmaking. Popularly referred to as ‘Mr. Bills’ by most analysts, the Iyan Zazzau has shown that he is not a run off the mill lawmaker but one who is prepared, knows the road, follows it and lives it.
Coming with a clear cut vision, the lawmaker has carved a niche for himself and firmly etched his feet on the sands of history and has explicitly demonstrated capacity, competence and unwavering commitment to meeting the aspirations of his constituents and Nigerians at large. In the 8th Assembly, Abass emerged as the third highest sponsor with 43 bills and 13 motions. Presently, he is the highest bill sponsor in the 9th Assembly with 78 bills and seven motions to his credit. Of these bills, Mr. President has assented to 20 of them, which is unprecedented in the history of Nigeria’s parliament.
It is on the crest of this achievement, that Hon. Abass who is humble, gregarious, adept, cerebral and possesses excellent human relations, has stepped out onto the field to contest for the position of speaker of the 10th House of Representatives. Born 57 years ago, Abass is well educated and holds a Ph.D in Business Management from Usman Dan Fodio University, Sokoto. He began his primary education at LEA Primary School, Lemu in Zaria in 1970 and got his First School Leaving Certificate in 1976. He was at Government Secondary School, Makarfi between 1976 and 1978 but was later transferred to Katsina Teachers College in 1978 and passed out in 1981 with the Teachers Grade II Certificate. He later obtained a diploma in Accounting at the Ahmadu Bello University in 1984. He would later return to ABU in 1985 and graduated in 1988 with a B.Sc. in Business Administration and capped it up with a Masters of Business Administration in 1993 at the same university. Being a man who once he starts a project does not leave it uncompleted, he rounded off his academic achievements with a doctorate degree in 2010 at the UDU Sokoto.
Abass began his public service career on a humble note as a primary school teacher in 1981 and left thereafter to join Kaduna Cooperative Bank Ltd as a clerical officer where he worked for one year between 1984 and 1985 before joining the services of Trust Acceptance Limited as an Investment Officer. He also left after a year and joined Kaduna State Polytechnic (Now Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria) Bursary Department as Accountant II. He transferred his services to academics as Lecturer II in 1989 with the Finance and Accounting and was in fact the founding Head of Department and taught until 1993, when he became the Area Marketing Manager with Nigeria Tobacco Distributors Company (British-American Tobacco). Between 1998 and 2001, he served as the General Manager of the Jos Tobacco Distribution Company.
Desirous to pursue knowledge, Abass returned to the Nuhu Bamalli Polytechnic, Zaria as a Senior Lecturer in the Banking and Finance Department in 2001 until 2005. When Kaduna State University was established, he joined the services of the university as a Lecturer I in the Department of Accounting, Kaduna State University, Kaduna, where he was also the founding Head of Department until 2010.
Abass cut his political teeth in 2011 when he was elected to the House of Representatives to represent Zaria Federal Constituency on the platform of the Buhari’s Congress for Progressive Change (CPC). Apart from being deputy chairman, committee on legislative compliance between 2011 and 2015, he also served on different standing and ad hoc committees of the House. Due to his excellent outing, he was reelected in 2015 and was made Chairman, House Committee on Solid Minerals by Speaker Yakubu Dogara. He was reelected for the second time in 2019 and Speaker Femi Gbajabiamila named him Chairman, House Committee on Land Transport.
The Honourable Lawmaker has been the Caucus Leader, Kaduna State, House of Representatives since 2019 and chaired the Sub Committee on Constitutional Review Conference for North Central GeoPolitical in 2021. He also served as the Treasurer, Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (African Chapter), Governing Council member Nigeria Institute of Legislative and Democratic Studies 2019 to Date, (NILDS) representing North West Geo Political Zone.
Now, enjoying the strong backing of his hardworking and performing governor, Mallam Nasiru El-Rufai, who is said to be demanding for speakership as compensation for his unflinching support for Tinubu, Abass promises to give a strong fight in the run for the office should the party zone it to the North West. He is a loyal party man and would certainly not rock the boat if the party decides to zone it to another geopolitical area. But if it is ceded to the North West, Abass will stand tall among all the contestants from the zone because he towers far above them in terms of experience, accomplishments and preparedness.
Most importantly, Abass is very popular among his colleagues in the House because everyone knows his antecedents and his reach. Consequently, many of the lawmakers-elect are rooting for his candidature and if the party gives the North West the nod, he will be the candidate to beat. He is certainly not a ‘cut and join’ politician but he is a thorough bred professional with the right attitude, experience and leadership skills to govern at the highest level. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport (CILTS), Fellow, Chartered Institute of Marketers, Fellow, Chartered Institute of Administrators, Fellow Chartered Institute of Treasury Management, Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Cost & Management Accountants of Nigeria, Associate Member, Chartered Institute of Management. An avid writer, he has published 13 papers in International Journals and attended more than forty National and International Seminars and Conferences.
Dr Bature Samson wrote from Kano
Akpabio debunks impeachment rumour, says Senate is stable, harmonious
The Senate President Godswill Akpabio has debunked the rumour that some senators were plotting to impeach him.
Reating to the insinuation through his special adviser (Media and Publicity) Eseme Eyiboh in a statement, he said the Senate is stable and harmonious as it cannot be distracted by the innuendo of the merchants of political tar brush.
Eyiboh describe the rumour as a syndicated media attack from outside the precincts of the National Assembly
Reacting to what he described as syndicated reports in some weekend newspapers about plots to distabilise the Senate and its leadership, Eyiboh said the reports were complete imaginations and sometimes laced with malice to achieve what senators are yet to comprehend.
According to him the Senate has since gone past the experience of the keenly contested leadership election
Eyiboh said the plot to drag in Senators who initially did not support the emergence of the present leadership into a conspiracy that does not exist was uncharitable to the senators and a needless umbrage.
“Senators are presently concluding their holidays in their constituencies and other places they have chosen to spend their time after the rigours of the inauguration and ministerial screening and other constructive engagements,” Eyiboh said.
“All senators are also refreshing themselves ahead of the resumption, therefore, any suggestions that they are presently engaged in other subversive plots against the institution is rather uncharitable. “It is mostly uncharitable for those senators who initially did not support the emergence of the leadership but who have all unanimously endorsed the Senator Akpabio-led leadership. Continuing to link these senators with needless conspiracy with barely disguised innuendo is rather unkind.
“We call on the media not to give in to the conspiratorial tales, and not to give damage to the reputations that they have built over time,” Eyiboh concluded.
Senate says, rumour of impeachment of Akpabio is a ruse
The Senate on Saturday described as a ruse the rumour making the rounds in some media that some Senators were planning to impeach the President of the Senate, Godswill Akpabio.
A press statement by the Chairman, Senate Committee on Media and Publicity, Yemi Adaramodu said, “our attention has just been drawn to a syndicated satanic verses in a section of the media, of purported and illusory plots of leadership change in the Senate.
Top politicians strongly opposed to the Senate President, Godswill Akpabio, were alleged to have planned to remove him when the Senate resumes later this month.
The forces were reported to be upset that the former Akwa Ibom State Governor is playing the role of a lap dog for President Tinubu rather than serving the overall interest of lawmakers and Nigerians
They alleged that Akpabio’s closeness to the president has made him not pay full attention to his colleagues and work hard enough to meet the expectations of Nigerians despite the challenges in the country.
But Adaramodu said,
“The Nigerian Senate is one united and fraternal family. This imaginative composition is in the realm of the fake and fallacious story of 100m per legislator. It’s apt to note that the 10th Senate, under the leadership of Senator Godswill Akpabio, has carried out its legislative and constitutional duties diligently.
“Within a span of less than 60 Legislative days, the Senate has passed life enhancing bills and motions. It has screened and confirmed service chiefs and ministers, among others, apart from very essential oversight functions.
“We urge the fifth columnists, who operate undoubtedly outside the Senate, desperate to cause disharmony through media stunts and thus clipping the wings of Nigeria’s democracy, to take caution.
“The Senate should be allowed fresh air to settle down for its national assignments so that the Nigerian project can move forward. The media, too, should be discerning not to be used as hand tools to these retailers of fake and bad news,” the statement added.
Benue North-East Senatorial contest: Senator Suswam returns as Tribunal Sacks APC’s Udende
Senator Gabriel Suswam of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has been returned as the senator-elect for Benue North-East as the National Assembly Election Petitions Tribunal sacked Senator Emmanuel Udende of the All Progressives Congress (APC)
The Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) had declared Udende as the winner of the Benue North-East senatorial election held on February 25.
Suswam, a member of the 9th senate, had lost his bid to return to the upper chamber of the National Assembly.
But he had proceeded to the court, arguing that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast in the 25th February, 2023 for the Benue North East Senatorial District election.
Chairman of the three-man panel, Justice Ory Zik-Ikeorha and another member, ruled in the favour of Suswam and PDP.
The duo, in their judgment, averred that Suswam and PDP fulfilled the requirement of the law in proving their case of irregularities such as mutilation, non-signing of documents, non-inclusion of lawful votes, among others.
But, in a minority judgement, Justice Umar Mohammed, opposed the decision of the two other members of the panel, saying that the petitioner failed to proved his case.
Mohammed held that Suswam who called 19 witnesses most of who were irrelevant as the irregularities complained about were at the polling units and instead he called ward agents instead of polling unit agents.
Suswam and PDP’s petition was predicated on the ground that Udende did not score majority of the lawful votes cast during the election.
Justice Mohammed held that the evidence by Suswam was grossly insufficient to sustain his petition.
He therefore, dismissed the petition and awarded the cost of N100,000 in favour of each of the respondents against the petitioner.
Meanwhile, Innocent Daagba, on behalf of the APC, said, “we are not satisfied with the decision and will advice my client to appeal.”
The PDP, through Bemgba Iortyom, the State Publicity Secretary has applaude the judgment and congratulated the Senator.
The immediate past Governor of the State, Dr. Samuel Ortom, has also sent his congratulatory to Senator Suswam over his victory at the tribunal.
Ortom said the victory of Senator Suswam has further proven the capacity of the judiciary to uphold justice and serve as the bastion of democracy.
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