New Speaker, Abbas scores 353 votes to defeat Jaji, Wase
Akpabio, Abbas’ election good devt -Tinubu
I fought and will continue to fight for democracy – Wase
We contested in true spirit of democracy – Jaji
By Ikechukwu Okaforadi, Musa Adamu & Christiana Ekpa
Senators Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom North West) and Barau Jubril (Kano North), who are the preferred candidates of President Bola Tinubu, amidst tension, emerged as 10th Senate President and Deputy, having defeated former governor of Zamfara State, Abdul-Azeez Yari, with sixty three votes against forty six.
As early as 8am yesterday, all the senators were already seated, while security operatives overran the premises of the National Assembly, in preparation for the exercise. Gaining entrance into the parliament was not just hectic but also frightening.
On the floor of the Senate, the National Assembly Clark, Sani Magaji Tambawal, who read the letter from the President convening the 10th National Assembly, called for nomination of contestants.
At this juncture, Ali Ndume (APC, Borno South) moved a motion nominating Akpabio, while Solomon Olamilekan (APC Ogun West) seconded the motion.
However, when the Clark called for further nominations, Elisha Abbo (APC Adamawa North) moved a motion nominating Abdul-Azeez Yari (APC, Zamfara South), but before that motion could be seconded, Senator Tahir Mongunu (APC, Borno North) opposed the motion on the ground that in line with senate standing order, Yari, being a first time senator, is not qualified to contest for Senate President.
Note that before the election day, there were rumors that the security operatives would arrest Yari or prevent him from entering the chambers, as a way to stop him from participating in the election.
It was also in the public knowledge that the President and some APC governors mounted pressure on Yari to suspend his ambition and step down, of which he remained adamant.
With this charged and volatile circumstance in the chamber, the opposition against his nomination by Mongunu shattered the expectation of a peaceful contest, though they later reconciled, as the Clark allowed Yari’s nomination to stand.
No gain saying the fact that tension rose and nerves flared up barely to the commencement of the exercise, even as supporters of Akpabio, including Olamilekan, Mongunu, Ndume, Dave Umahi, among others, continued to vehemently oppose the nomination of Sen. Yari by Elisha Abbo.
This opposition against Yari threw the chamber into chaos for a while, before the National Assembly Clark, Sani Magaji Tambawal, managed to restore otherliness. As nomination became closed, the stage was set for a straight contest between Yari and Akpabio.
Apparently assuming the rallying point of the opposition lawmakers-elect and aggrieved APC senators who were not comfortable with the zoning formula of the party, Yari eventually caved in to the superior numbers of Akpabio supporters, after about two hours secret balloting.
Immediately after he was announced winner by the returning officer, some APC governors who had stormed the Senate to witness the election, including: Yahaya Bello of Kogi, Hope Uzodinma of Imo, Abdullahi Sue of Nasarawa, Dapo Abiodum of Ogun, Babajide San-Nwolu of Lagos, among others, as well as the new Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and former Governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, and APC National chairman, Abdullahi Adamu, exchange pleasantries with him.
Recall that before yesterday, President Tinubu and the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC) had signified interest in the candidature of Akpabio and Barau as their preferred candidates for both Senate President and Deputy.
However, this choice of the President and APC was not accepted by some northern senators and Northern political stakeholders, including Northern Elders Forum (NEF), who felt marginalised and aggrieved, hence they united behind Yari and Sani Musa to emerge Senate President and Deputy.
Incidentally, senator Jibril emerged unopposed as his main challenger, Sani Musa shelved his ambition at the last minute, while Yari went on with the contest.
Barau Jibril was nominated by former Governor of Ebonyi State, Dave Umahi, while Kwara Central senator, Salihu Mustapher seconded the motion.
Meanwhile, in his acceptance speech after his victory, Akpabio thanked his colleagues for the confidence reposed in his capacity to lead the 10th Senate, even as he promised to be one among the 109 Senators.
He said his tenure will focus on gender inclusion, sustaining economic and Social welfare and development of the country, especially the January-December budge calendar legacy of the 9th National Assembly.
While urging his colleagues to feel free to approach him on any issue, he expressed confidence that it is a new dawn for the country, having on board as President, a leader who was able to raise the revenue of Lagos State to an enviable heights it is today.
Meanwhile, Speaker of the 10th House of Representatives, Hon. Tajudeen Abbas, who polled 353 votes to be come the 10th Speaker of the National Assembly has declared that his victory for speakership was not just for himself, for all his colleagues, a united House to serve Nigerians, assuring that he will be just and fair to all.
Abbas who disclosed this while giving his first Speech as the 10th Speaker of the House said “This victory is not just about me; it is about all of us coming together as a united House to serve the Nigerian people diligently. It is about honouring the trust that has been placed on us and working tirelessly to deliver on our promises of good governance and effective representation”, he said in his inaugural speech on Tuesday..
He also assured that the House, under his leadership will strive to surpass the achievements recorded by the preceding assembly.
“It is worthy to note that speakership campaign witnessed in the past few months was democracy at play. But today, all of that has come to pass, and it is time to forge ahead and work together for our people for our common good.
“I do not take this mandate bestowed on me as the Nigerian Speaker for granted. I want to assure you today that I shall be just and fair to every one of you irrespective of our perceived differences. I shall operate a House that you all will be proud of. I shall be guided by the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the House Rules. Our doors will be open for members of APC, PDP, Labour Party, NNPP, APGA, SDP, ADC and YPP as we strongly believe nation building is a Joint Task.
“Honourable Colleagues, under my watch, the 10th House shall sustain and even surpass the gains of the 9th House. That is my prayer. We shall carry out the TASK before us JOINTLY. We shall introduce reforms and innovations for the benefit of Nigerians. In a few weeks, we shall be reeling out the legislative agenda that will shape the 10th House of Representatives”, he stated.
Speaking further, the Speaker said “My dear colleagues, those of us that were privileged to serve in the just concluded 9th House of Representatives will attest to the fact that appreciable successes had been recorded under my predecessor, Rt. Hon. Femi Hakeem Gbajabiamila, CFR, who from tomorrow, will assume office as the Chief of Staff to the President/Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, Federal Republic of Nigeria.
“I will like to congratulate him for finishing his tenure as Speaker successfully and for his new national assignment. The former Speaker remains a great Nigerian whose service to fatherland in the past 20 years as a legislator is unmatched. I commend him for his sacrifices for Nigeria and his support for the new 10th House of Representatives”.
“We shall work closely and inter-dependently with the Executive and Judiciary to give Nigerians the good governance they deserve. We stand at a crucial juncture in our nation’s history, where challenges abound, but so do opportunities. We will champion legislations that will uplift the lives of our fellow citizens, promote social justice, and drive sustainable development.
“We will focus on strengthening our security apparatus, collaborating with relevant stakeholders to combat insurgency, terrorism, and all forms of criminalities. We aim to help create a safe and secure environment that fosters economic growth and social stability.
“Through legislations, the 10th House will promote entrepreneurship and support small and medium-scale enterprises. We shall diversify our economy and provide sustainable employment opportunities for our youth. We are aware of the challenges in our education, healthcare, and infrastructure sectors amongst other.
“We will work in harmony with the executive arm, while upholding principles of checks and balances. Our collaboration will be anchored on the principles of transparency, accountability, and respect for the rule of law.
“Honourable Colleagues, may I remind all of us that we hold our respective offices in trust for the Nigerian people. We MUST, therefore, justify the confidence reposed in us by our constituents to represent their interests and work committedly for our dear nation.
“Working closely with my deputy, Rt. Hon. Benjamin Kalu, we shall provide purposeful leadership in the 10th House of Representatives.
“My dear colleagues, I invite you all to be on board for the next four years as we embark on this Nigerian Project to RENEW the HOPE of our people”, he said.