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